Part Five - the Confrontation
THE ARRIVAL IN THE GARDEN
The shyness of the women
Then from that city-garden they came forth
To give him pleasure, and to honor him in all obedience
And yet on seeing him in all his radiance
The silence found their voice. Their lips
Would only murmur but not sing
And tremulous fingers failed their instruments.
And if the wind had said, an hour before
He came upon them in a secret place
Where they were practicing a dance,
Who would have known it now? How often will man stand in awe
Of all those things with which his heart is full,
And only keep the wind’s cold confidence.
THE KING’S MESSENGER ADMONISHES THE WOMEN
Hasn’t the king, to whom you owe your very sustenance
Demanded that you show no undue reticence
In providing that most delightful of all delightful types of dalliance
To the prince? Hasn’t the king, in order that you better allure him
Ungrudgingly bought you numerous jewels, and various attractive ornaments
Often at considerable expense?
THE ADMONITIONS OF THE KING’S MESSENGER
Think also of the various finely prepared ointments he has given you.
Some of them, the sandalwood paste, for instance,
Are magical preparations. And what about your many fine garments?
Yet you are like wives of cowherds! Fit to endear
The cowherd only to the cow!
You who have brought low both god and seer!
You should remember, it is only the bold woman who will find the true lover.
The fearful maiden will be sad forever, no man will ever be above her.
Many are those, in forest and field, who will know love’s fever never.
But the bold woman will find her lover. They will lie together. Gently
He will lay hold upon her. Above her, forever, he will know love’s fever.
They will find each other; they will be together forever.
THE WOMEN SHAMED
Moved by these words, the women, as if shamed,
Vied to attend these arguments, tried to forget their shyness
And to hide their modesty.
At first, like virgins, or those new to love,
Their blandishments were too abrupt; their looks, too much in fright;
Their gestures, needed more subtlety.
But through the command of the king and the power of love,
And through the prince’s gentle temperament and true nobility,
They soon lost all timidity.
THE EXCURSION IN THE GARDEN
Then the prince, surrounded by the women,
Wandered through that beautiful garden
Like an elephant in the deep Himalayas
Surrounded by a herd of females.
The sun shone upon him
Like the sun shines upon a great god
Seated upon a great mountain
Surrounded by vast numbers of female angels.
Pretending to be under the effects of intoxication
Some of the young women
Running and laughing
Stumbled and fell against him, saying, “I am falling!”
Others wandered about here and there
Idly and provocatively loitering
Attempting to attract him by various poses
Or by rather subtly meaningful gestures.
With loosened garments, allowing their
Fine full bosoms to be almost entirely displayed
Three young girls danced a dance called
“The wind is searching”.
Another, her lower lip like red copper
And the darkness of her eyes brought out by a
Rare unguent dye, made the sign meaning,
“I am oiled and fragrant”.
Murmuring rather indistinctly in her excitement
One beautiful young maiden, with smooth golden-colored skin,
The petals of various flowers still clinging to her garment,
Led him away to a secret place, saying:
“Come see, my lord, for the tilaka tree,
Encircled by this twining vine is bent
As if a girl with saffron body paint
Embraced her lord, and were his ornament!
Come see, my lord, for in the mango tree,
As if its branches were their golden cage,
The birds are calling to us ardently,
To share the pleasures of its foliage!
Come listen, for the birds, so drunk with spring,
Intoxicate the spring’s desire!
And in the boughs there is such murmuring
It seems the bees themselves are scorched with passion’s fire!”
Alas! he said, the thin fire dies too soon
And summer soon is gone
And winter comes
And yet no man shall see the spring’s return;
No man has ever built to spring a second monument;
The times of joy are joy’s and time’s lament.