A little Indian temple in the Golden Age. Around it a garden; around that the forest. Anashuya, the young priestess, kneelinq within the temple.
Send peace on all the lands and flickering corn. —
O, may tranquillity walk by his elbow
When wandering in the forest, if he love
No other. — Hear, and may the indolent flocks
Be plentiful. — And if he love another,
May panthers end him. — Hear, and load our king
With wisdom hour by hour. — May we two stand,
When we are dead, beyond the setting suns,
A little from the other shades apart,
With mingling hair, and play upon one lute.
Vijaya [entering and throwing a lily at her].
Hail! hail, my Anashuya.
No: be still.
I, priestess of this temple, offer up
prayers for the land.
I will wait here, Amrita.
By mighty Brahma’s ever-rustling robe,
Who is Amrita? Sorrow of all sorrows!
Another fills your mind.
My mother’s name.
Anashuya [sings, coming out of the temple].
A sad, sad thought went by me slowly:
Sigh, O you little stars! O sigh and shake your blue apparel!
The sad, sad thought has gone from me now wholly:
Sing, O you little stars! O sing and raise your rapturous carol
To mighty Brahma, he who made you many as the sands,
And laid you on the gates of evening with his quiet hands.
[Sits down on the steps of the temple.]
Vijaya, I have brought my evening rice;
The sun has laid his chin on the grey wood,
Weary, with all his poppies gathered round him.
The hour when Kama, full of sleepy laughter,
Rises, and showers abroad his fragrant arrows,
Piercing the twilight with their murmuring barbs.
See how the sacred old flamingoes come,
Painting with shadow all the marble steps:
Aged and wise, they seek their wonted perches
Within the temple, devious walking, made
To wander by their melancholy minds.
Yon tall one eyes my supper; chase him away,
Far, far away. I named him after you.
He is a famous fisher; hour by hour
He ruffles with his bill the minnowed streams.
Ah! there he snaps my rice. I told you so.
Now cuff him off. He’s off! A kiss for you,
Because you saved my rice. Have you no thanks?
Sing you of her, O first few stars,
Whom Brahma, touching with his finger, praises, for you hold
The van of wandering quiet; ere you be too calm and old,
Sing, turning in your cars,
Sing, till you raise your hands and sigh, and from your car-heads peer,
With all your whirling hair, and drop many an azure tear.
What know the pilots of the stars of tears?
Their faces are all worn, and in their eyes
Flashes the fire of sadness, for they see
The icicles that famish all the North,
Where men lie frozen in the glimmering snow;
And in the flaming forests cower the lion
And lioness, with all their whimpering cubs;
And, ever pacing on the verge of things,
The phantom, Beauty, in a mist of tears;
While we alone have round us woven woods,
And feel the softness of each other’s hand,
Amrita, while —
Anashuya [going away from him].
Ah me! you love another,
[Bursting into tears.]
And may some sudden dreadful ill befall her!
I loved another; now I love no other.
Among the mouldering of ancient woods
You live, and on the village border she,
With her old father the blind wood-cutter;
I saw her standing in her door but now.
Vijaya, swear to love her never more.
Swear by the parents of the gods,
Dread oath, who dwell on sacred Himalay,
On the far Golden Peak; enormous shapes,
Who still were old when the great sea was young;
On their vast faces mystery and dreams;
Their hair along the mountains rolled and filled
From year to year by the unnumbered nests
Of aweless birds, and round their stirless feet
The joyous flocks of deer and antelope,
Who never hear the unforgiving hound.
By the parents of the gods, I swear.
I have forgiven, O new star!
Maybe you have not heard of us, you have come forth so newly,
You hunter of the fields afar!
Ah, you will know my loved one by his hunter’s arrows truly,
Shoot on him shafts of quietness, that he may ever keep
A lonely laughter, and may kiss his hands to me in sleep.
Farewell, Vijaya. Nay, no word, no word;
I, priestess of this temple, offer up
Prayers for the land.
O Brahma, guard in sleep
The merry lambs and the complacent kine,
The flies below the leaves, and the young mice
In the tree roots, and all the sacred flocks
Of red flamingoes; and my love, Vijaya;
And may no restless fay with fidget finger
Trouble his sleeping: give him dreams of me.