Mithila, And The Breaking Of The Bow Poem by Valmiki

Mithila, And The Breaking Of The Bow

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Janak monarch of Videha spake his memage near and far,
He shall win my peerless Sita who shall bend my bow of war,

Suitors came from farthest regions, warlike princes known to fame,
Vainly strove to wield the weapon, left Videha in their shame.

Viswa-mitra royal rishi, Rama true and Lakshman bold,
Came to fair Mithila's city from Ayodhya famed of old,

Spake in pride the royal rishi: 'Monarch of Videha's throne,
Grant, the wondrous bow of RUDRA be to princely Rama shown.'

Janak spake his royal mandate to his lords and warriors bold:
'Bring ye forth the bow of RUDRA decked in garlands and in gold,'

And his peers and proud retainers waiting on the monarch's call,
Brought the great and goodly weapon from the city's inner hall.

Stalwart men of ample stature pulled the mighty iron car
In which rested all-inviolate Janak's dreaded bow of war,

And where midst assembled monarchs sat Videha's godlike king,
With a mighty toil and effort did the eight-wheeled chariot bring.

'This the weapon of Videha,' proudly thus the peers begun,
'Be it shewn to royal Rama, Dasa-ratha's righteous son,'

'This the bow,' then spake the monarch to the risha famed of old,
To the true and righteous Rama and to Lakshman young and bold,

'This the weapon of my fathers prized by kings from age to age,
Mighty chiefs and sturdy warriors could not bend it, noble sage

Gods before the bow of RUDRA have in righteous terror quailed,
Rakshas fierce and stout Asuras have in futile effort failed,

Mortal man will struggle vainly RUDRA'S wondrous bow to bend,
Vainly strive to string the weapon and the shining dart to send,

Holy saint and royal rishi, here is Janak's ancient bow,
Shew it to Ayodhya's princes, speak to them my kingly vow!

Viswa-mitra humbly listened to the words the monarch said,
To the brave and righteous Rama, Janak's mighty bow displayed,

Rama lifted high the cover of the pond'rous iron car,
Gazed with conscious pride and prowess on the mighty bow of war.

'Let me,' humbly spake the hero, 'on this bow my fingers place,
Let me lift and bend the weapon, help me with your loving grace.'

'Be it so,' the rishi answered, 'be it so,' the monarch said,
Rama lifted high the weapon on his stalwart arms displayed,

Wond'ring gazed the kings assembled as the son of Raghu's race
Proudly raised the bow of RUDRA with a warrior's stately grace,

Proudly strung the bow Of RUDRA which the kings had tried in vain
Drew the cord with force resistless till the weapon snapped in twain!

Like the thunder's pealing accent rose the loud terrific clang,
And the firm earth shook and trembled and the hills in echoes rang,

And the chiefs and gathered monarchs fell and fainted in their fear,
And the men of many nations shook the dreadful sound to hear!

Pale and white the startled monarchs slowly from their terror woke,
And with royal grace and greetings Janak to the rishi spoke:

Now my ancient eyes have witnessed wond'rous deed by Rama done,
Deed surpassing thought or fancy wrought by Dasa-ratha's son,

And the proud and peerless princess, Sita glory of my house,
Sheds on me an added lustre as she weds a godlike spouse,

True shall be my plighted promise, Sita dearer than my life,
Won by worth and wond'rous valour shall be Rama's faithful wife

Grant us leave, O royal rishi, grant us blessings kind and fair,
Envoys mounted on my chariot to Ayodhya shall repair,

They shall speak to Rama's father glorious feat by Rama done,
They shall speak to Dasa-ratha, Sita is by valour won,

They shall say the noble princes safely live within our walls,
They shall ask him by his presence to adorn our palace balls

Pleased at heart the sage assented, envoys by the monarch sent,
To Ayodhya's distant city with the royal message went.

Susan Williams 23 January 2016

This mighty bow seems to have heroic kinship with King Arthur's sword. A weapon of war revered for its mightiness on the battlefield. The shock and awe of their ages. I do like the poet's ability to tell a saga heroically.

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