Veda Vyasa

(1500 BC? / Kalpi, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh / India)

Mahabharata, Book I - The Rival Warriors - Poem by Veda Vyasa

Joyful was the proud Duryodhan, gladness gleamed upon his face,
And he spake to gallant Karna with a loving fond embrace:

'Welcome, mighty arméd chieftain! thou hast victor's honours won,
Thine is all my wealth and kingdom, name thy wish and it is done!'

Answered Karna to Duryodhan, ' Prince! thy word is good as deed,
But I seek to combat Arjun and to win the victor's meed,'

'Noble is the boon thou seekest,' answered Kuru's prince of fame,
'Be a joy unto your comrades, let the foeman dread thy name!

Anger flamed in Arjun's bosom, and he spake in accents rude
Unto Karna who in triumph calm and proud and fearless stood:

'Chief! who eomest uninvited, pratest in thy lying boast,
Thou shalt die the death of braggarts-witness be this mighty host!

Karna answered calm and proudly, 'Free this listed field to all,
Warriors enter by their prowess, wait not, Arjun, for thy call,

Warlike chieftains take their places by their strength of arm and might,
And their warrant is their falchion, valour sanctifies their right,

Angry word is coward's weapon, Arjun, speak with arrows keen,
Till I lay thee, witness Drona, low upon the listed green!'

Drona. gave the word impartial, wrathful Arjun, dread of foes,
Parted from his lovina brothers, in his glist'ning arms arose,

Karna clasped the Kuru's princes, parted from them one and all,
With his bow and ample quiver proudly stepped the warrior tall.

Now the clouds with lurid flashes gathered darkling, thick and high,
Lines of cranes like gleams of laughter sailed across the gloomy sky.

Rain-god INDRA over Arjun watched with father's partial love,
Sun-god SURYA over Karna shed his light from far above,

Arjun stood in darkening shadow by the inky clouds concealed,
Bold and bright in open sunshine radiant Karna stood revealed!

Proud Duryodhan and his brothers stood by Karna calm and bold
Drona stood by gallant Arjun, and brave Bhishma warrior old,

Women too with partial glances viewed the one or other chief,
But by equal love divided silent Pritha swooned in grief!

Wise Vidura, true to duty, with an anxious hurry came,
Sandal-drops and sprinkled waters roused the woe-distracted dame,

And she saw her sons in combat, words of woe she uttered none,
Speechless wept, for none must fathom Karna was her eldest son!


Poet's Notes about The Poem

MAHABHARATA: CONDENSED INTO ENGLISH VERSE

By Romesh C. Dutt (1899)
THE EPIC OF THE BHARATAS
BOOK I: ASTRA DARSANA

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012



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