Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Autumn fields - Bhāravi,

Now Arjun came to peopled lands,

All fresh and blooming as a bride;
The tuneful birds flew in the sky,

The crops were rich in golden pride!
And autumn's charms, before him spread,

A scene of beauty seemed to make;
The corn that bent with golden ears,

The winding path, the lotus lake!
And fish whose glancing movements stole

The beauty of a woman's glance;
And lakes whose lotus blossoms seemed

Like eyes uplifted in a trance!
And stretching fields of growing rice

Still standing on a watery sheet,
Where oft the lily raised its head, —

Beauteous things harmonious met!
So still the water, pollen decked.

On land the lilies seemed to grow,
Until some glancing fish disturbed

The sweet illusion of the show!

And Arjun saw the beauteous sands,

All pure and white as unstained sheet,

And marked with waving lines by water,
Receding in the autumn's heat!

The rustic maid upon her locks

The scarlet blossom placed with pride;
Her eyebrows caught the pollen dust,

Her bright red lips its colour vied!
And bright she stood in morning's light,

And wore a lotus on her breast;
Her skin was moist with honest toil,

And fragrant with the lotus dust!
And on her ears she hung two lilies,

Sweet as glances from her eye;
And Arjun in her saw the charms

Of autumn in their full display!

The lowing herds returned from fields,

Where they had grazed the previous night;
Their eagerness to meet their calves,

Their streaming udders pleased his sight!
Fed in autumn's pastures rich,

The bull victorious in the fight.
Bellowing, breaking banks of rivers.

Seemed, — incarnate form of might!
Slowly from the banks of rivers

Herds of snow-white cows withdrew.
As if the beauteous silver streams

White garments from their persons drew.
With brother's love their cattle tending.

In woods a home's affections bearing.
The cow-herds lived among the cattle,

All their simple habits sharing!

The village maiden churned the milk, —

Her face was like the lotus fair,
Her teeth were like its beauteous leaves,

Like restless bees oft moved her hair!
She held her breath, her red lips moved,

And like a creeper soft she stood,
And gently moved her beauteous frame

As with her hands she turned the rod!
A deep sound from the vessel rose,

Still as the churning rod went round;
The startled pea-hen in the yard

Half thought it was the thunder's sound!
With toil her heaving bosom throbbed,

And languid was her eye's soft glance,
And thus she vied in rustic beauty

Courtly maidens at a dance!

He went by paths no longer winding,

Through the crops by cattle eaten;
The thickened mud was marked by cart wheels,

And by steps the path was beaten.
Beauteous as a saint's retreat

He saw the rustic homesteads smile,
Where, simple in their thoughts and ways,

The rustics lived by honest toil.
Thus autumn's varied charms to scan.

With gladdened eyes pleased Arjun sought;
With gladdened heart the Yaksha spoke,

Reading his companion's thought.

"This cloudless time with crvstal waters,
Comes the tiller's toil to bless;

Like a happy life's fruition,

May it bring to thee success!
The corn assumes its golden hue,

The streams are clear, the earth is dry;
From charms the rainy time displays,

To autumn's fresher charms we fly!
What though no white cranes deck the sky,

Nor are the skies with rainbows graced;
The autumn sky hath beauty rare.

And beauty unadorned is best!
What though the god of rains is gone,

Nor lightnings deck the clouds now pale;
Like sorrowing wives the autumn clouds

In paler grace are lovely still!
What though the peacock's loveless notes

Are loud and harsh, nor please the ear;
The loving notes of autumn songsters

To the lover's heart are dear!
What golden crops, — rich in their beauty,

With their load of ears bent low!
They bend as if to feel the fragrance

Of the flowers that spring below!
What beauteous lakes, — green with their plants,

And scarlet with the lotus bloom,
And golden with the ripened com.

Like molten rainbow varied seem!
What nymph-like groves, — they smile in flowers,

And in the blue buds ope their eyes,
And lotus dust by zephyrs driven

Clothe them in a fairy dress!
What snow-white clouds make cool the day,

In balmy skies no lightning lowers;
How cool the breeze with watery spray,

How sweet with fragrance from the flowers!
Above, the happy white- winged birds

Are flying, twittering as they fly!
Or are the quarters of the heavens

Holding converse in the sky?

"From the rich autumnal pastures.

Eager to their village home.
Sweet milk from their udders streaming.

How the cows to young ones come!
Noble, gentle, tender beings,

Nourishers of the humankind!
How the mothers join their young ones, —

Like sweet hymns to offerings joined!
Blithe the song the milkmaid singeth.

Sweet as strains the Kokils weave!
How entranced yon herd of antlers.

Listen, — and their pastures leave!
In the lakes the reeds are bending,

As to court yon lotus fair!
But disdainful is that beauty.

Pale the reeds with chill despair!
Sweet the breeze with lotus pollen.

Saturate with cooling spray;
And like giddy thoughtless men

Yon wind-blown bee has lost his way!

How beauteous green yon flight of birds,

Their beaks in glorious crimson shine;
How golden is the corn they bear,

Is it a checkered rainbow's line?"
While thus he spoke, before him stood,

Concealing the bright god of day.
Like fleecy clouds in masses piled,

The towering range of Himalay!

Darksome forests in his valleys spread.
But snow eternal graced his lofty head! —

He seemed the god, who wears a dusky dress,
Who holds the plough, and wears a ruddy face.

Bhāravi (6th century) India
Translated by Romesh Chunder Dutt (From "The Hunter and the Hero", or "Kirdtdrjuniyam" - Book IV)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant and free from abusive language. Thank you.