A monologue from the play by Kalidasa
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Hero and the Nymph. Trans. Sri Aurobindo. Hyderabad: Government Central Press, 1911.
PURURAVAS: [Angrily] Halt, ruffian, halt! Thou in thy giant arms
Bearest away my Urvasie! He has
Soared up from a great crag in the sky
And wars me, hurling downward bitter rain
Of arrows. With this thunderbolt I smite thee.
[He lifts up a clod and runs as to hurl it; then pauses and looks upward.]
I am deceived! This was a cloud
Equipped for rain, no proud and lustful fiend,
The rainbow, not a weapon drawn to kill,
Quick-driving showers are these, not sleety rain
Of arrows; and that brilliant line like streak
Of gold upon a touchstone, cloud-inarmed,
I saw, was lightning, not my Urvasie.
[Sorrowfully] Where shall I find her now? Where clasp those thighs
Swelling and smooth and white?
This grove, this grove should find her.
And here, O here is something to enrage my resolution.
Red-tinged, expanding, wet and full of rain,
These blossom-cups recall to me her eyes
Brimming with angry tears. How shall I trace her,
Or what thing tells me “Here and here she wandered?”
If she had touched with her beloved feet
The rain-drenched forest-sands, there were a line
Of little gracious footprints seen, with lac
Envermeilled, sinking deeper towards the heel
Because o’erburdened by her hips’ large glories.
I see a hint of her! This way
Then went her angry beauty! Lo, her bodice
Bright green as is a parrot’s belly, smitten
With crimson drops. It once veiled in her bosom
And paused to show her naval deep as love.
These are her tears that from those angry eyes
Went trickling, stealing scarlet from her lips
To spangle all this green. Doubtless her heaving
Tumult of breasts broke its dear hold and, she
Stumbling in anger, from my Heaven it drifted.
I’ll gather it to my kisses.
[He stoops to it, then sorrowfully:]
O my heart!
Only green grass with dragon-wings enamelled!
From whom shall I in all the desolate forest
Have tidings of her, or what creature help me?
Lo, in yon waste of crags the peacock! he
Upon a cool moist rock that breathes of rain
Exults, aspires, his gorgeous mass of plumes
Seized, blown and scattered by the roaring gusts.
Pregnant of shrillness is his outstretched throat,
His look is with the clouds. Him I will question:
Have the bright corners of thine eyes beheld,
O sapphire-throated bird, her, my delight,
My wife, my passion, my sweet grief? Yielding
No answer, he begins his gorgeous dance.
Why should he be so glad of my heart’s woe?
I know thee, peacock. Since my cruel loss
Thy plumes that stream in splendour on the wind,
Have not one rival left. For when her heavy
Dark wave of tresses over all the bed
In softness wide magnificently collapsed
On her smooth shoulders massing purple glory
And bright with flowers, she passioning in my arms,
Who then was ravished with thy brilliant plumes,
Vain bird? I question thee not, heartless thing,
That joyest in others’ pain.