Page images

And when toils and cares are over,

And earth's ties you sever,

You shall hear the welcome words:

"Come and rest for ever."


We shall do so much in the years to come,
But what have we done to-day?
We shall give our gold in a princely sum,
But what did we give to-day?

We shall lift the heart and dry the tear,
We shall plant a hope in the place of fear,
We shall speak the words of love and cheer,
But what did we speak to-day?

We shall be so kind in the after-while,
But what have we been to-day?

We shall bring to each lonely life a smile,
But what have we brought to-day?

We shall give to truth a grander birth,
And to steadfast faith a deeper worth,
We shall feed the hungering souls of earth,
But whom have we fed to-day?

We shall reap such joys in the by-and-by,
But what have we sown to-day?
We shall build us mansions in the sky,
But what have we built to-day?

'Tis sweet in idle dream to bask,

But here and now do we do our task?

Yes, this is the thing our souls must ask,
What have we done to-day?



Speak as you mean, do as you profess, and perform what you promise.

Let your promises be sincere, and within the compass of your ability.

Be slow to promise, and quick to perform.

Promise little, and do much.

We promise according to our hopes, we perform according to our fears.

What should you keep after you have given it to another? Ans. Word.

He, who often swears, distrusts his own word.

A promise should be given with caution, and kept with care. It should be made by the heart; and remembered by the head.

A hero's valour does not diminish at all,

Though he is roughly handled on the field of battle;
So a truthful word once spoken is not withdrawn,
Even if the Universe were to be overturned.


Shaivya, a king whom earth obeyed,
Once to a hawk a promise made,
Gave to the bird his flesh and bone,

And by his truth made heaven his own.

[blocks in formation]


(The following is a free version of a very ancient story which occurs more than once in the Mahâbhârata, and is referred to in the Râmâyana.)

[ocr errors]

Chased by a hawk there came a dove

With worn and weary wing,

And took her stand upon the hand
Of Kâshi's mighty King (Shaivya).

The monarch smoothed her ruffled plumes,
And laid her on his breast,

And cried, 'No fear shall vex thee here,
Rest, pretty eggborn, rest!

Fair Kâshi's realm is rich and wide,

With golden harvests gay,

But all that 's mine will I resign
Ere I my guest betray.'

But panting for his half-won spoil,
The hawk was close behind,

And with wild cry and eager eye

[ocr errors]

Came swooping down the wind :

This bird,' he cried, 'my destined prize,

'Tis not for thee to shield:

'Tis mine by right and toilsome flight

O'er hill and dale and field.

Translated by Griffith.

Hunger and thirst oppress me sore,
And I am faint with toil :
Thou shouldst not stay a bird of prey
Who claims his rightful spoil.

They say thou art a glorious king,
And justice is thy care:
Then justly reign in thy domain,
Nor rob the birds of air.'

[blocks in formation]

Mine oath forbids me to betray
My little twice-born guest:

See how she clings with trembling wings.
To her protector's breast?'

'No flesh of lambs', the hawk replied,

[ocr errors][merged small]

But if affection for the dove

Thy pitying heart has stirred,
Let thine own flesh my maw refresh,
Weighed down against the bird.'

He carved the flesh from off his side,
And threw it in the scale,

While women's cries smote on the skies,
With loud lament and wail.

He hacked the flesh from side and arm, From chest and back and thigh,

But still above the little dove

The monarch's scale stood high.

He heaped the scale with piles of flesh, With sinews, blood, and skin,

And when alone was left him bone

He threw himself therein.

Then thundered voices through the air;
The sky grew black as night;
And fever took the earth that shook,
To see that wondrous sight.

The blessed gods, from every sphere,
By Indra led came nigh;

While drum and flute and shell and lute,
Made music in the sky.

They rained immortal chaplets down,

Which hands celestial twine, And softly shed upon his head

Pure Amrit, drink divine.

Then God and Seraph, Bard and Nymph
Their heavenly voices raised,

And a glad throng with dance and song,
The glorious monarch praised.

They set him on a golden car,

That blazed with many a gem;
Then swiftly through the air they flew,
And bore him home with them.

Thus Kâshi's lord, by noble deed,
Won heaven and deathless fame;
And when the weak protection seek
From thee, do thou the same.*

From Additional Notes to the Râmâyana, translated by Griffith.

« PreviousContinue »