(400 BC / India)

Bibhishan's Warning - Poem by Valmiki

Twenty warriors armed and girded in the Council Hall arose,
Thirsting for a war of vengeance, hurling challenge on the foes,

But Bibhishan deep in wisdom-Ravan's youngest brother he,-
Spake the word of solemn warning, for his eye could farthest see:

'Pardon, king and honoured elder, if Bibhishan lifts his voice
'Gainst the wishes of the warriors and the monarch's fatal choice,

Firm in faith and strong in forces Rama comes with conqu'ring might,
Vain against a righteous warrior would unrighteous Ravan fight!

Think him not a common Vanar who transpassed the ocean wave,
Wrecked thy city tower and temple and a sign and warning gave,

Think him not a common hermit who Ayodhya ruled of yore,
Crossing India's streams and mountains, thunders now on Lanka's shore!

What dark deed of crime or folly hath the righteous Rama done,
That you stole his faithful consort unprotected and alone,

What offence or nameless insult hath the saintly Sita given,
She who chained in Lanka's prison pleads in piteous tear to Heaven?

Take my counsel, king and elder, Sita to her lord restore,
Wipe this deed of wrong and outrage, Rama's righteous grace implore,

Take my counsel, Raksha monarch, vain against him is thy might,
Doubly arméd is the hero,-he who battles for the right!

Render Sita to her Rama ere with vengeance swift and dire,
He despoils our peopled Lanka with his bow and brand and fire,

Render wife unto her husband ere in battle's dread array,
Rama swoops upon thy empire like a falcon on its prey,

Render to the lord his consort ere with blood of Rakshas slain,
Rama soaks the land of Lanka to the margin of the main!

Listen to my friendly counsel,-though it be I stand alone,-
Faithful friend but fiery foeman is this Dasa-ratha's son,

Listen to my voice of warning,-Rama's shafts are true and keen,
Flaming like the with'ring sunbeams on the summer's parchéd green,

Listen to my soft entreaty,-righteousness becomes the brave,
Cherish peace and cherish virtue and thy sons and daughters save!'

Poet's Notes about The Poem

By Romesh C. Dutt (1899)
(The Council of War)

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, July 8, 2012

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