Part Three - Reality
THE KING’S PERTURBATION
But shall he leave his people, in my age
Let me fall heirless, from my throne?
Shall he be nameless on the final page
Of our long dynasty, though he was born
To receive the whole earth’s homage?
And as the lotus, if its long roots break,
Forgets the flowering habits of its stem,
Shall all the world, hopeful in him, awake
To find him gone; the hands which ministered to him,
Since he is gone, find only sorrowful music to make?
On! I have seen these mendicants, who greet
Each day as hollow as the next day’s birth;
And when the whole land should be flowering at his feet
Shall he join their thin band, take from the earth
The joys it should claim as its right?
For he can wander from the green season to the season
Of sand, and not find the flickering light.
For he must learn, that that light is found not in the golden
Robe, nor the robe of saffron, nor any robe of man. In the dark
Shuttling of night, are all robes woven.
THE KING’S DECISION
So I, for I am a good king,
Long I have ruled over our people,
(And long shall my son rule over our people)
Must fashion his prison;
And his prison must be one of joy...
The dew, if it trouble him
Shall be brushed away;
The rose shall be dyed blue
If it please him;
No song shall be played too loudly;
And if a dancer sway
Too far in dancing;
Or let a flower be drooping;
They shall not stay,
Lest he look sadly.
For seeing our thin mask of joy
He must never guess,
That over his happiness,
From day to golden day
It lies so weakly.
He must never see,
Those who in pain or sorrow
People our common way,
Lest he in sadness go
To share their agony.
For let the jasmine lie
Too long beneath the sun
Or in an unkempt garden
And in one short day
It spends its beauty.
THE TIMES OF JOY
I have three palaces...
My summer palace is delightfully cool;
I go in winter to a region
Where even the moon is warm;
And when autumn comes,
My retinue swarms with the bees
In gardens of a moderate wind
And temperate sun.
Five hundred men are called
Each time the ladders leave the ground;
For miles, the sound
Of their lowering can be heard;
The sound of the gates closing,
Requiring the labor of at least five hundred men,
Can be heard for the same distance.
Innumerable jewels, garlands of pearls,
With covered terraces, extensive halls,
Gardens and balconies; festooned with silver bells
On silken cords, and fabrics from the east;
Exquisite birds: the kunala, the parakeet
Mynahs and koels, cause their sweet singing
To resound; and lapis lazuli in every room,
Begirt with draperies,
and redolent with the fumes of sandalwood,
And always the excellent music of flute and horn...
THE MAIDENS WHO ATTEND THE PRINCE
The girls have rich warm thighs,
And their arms are clinging.
Their lips are like new leaves,
Their voices, the wind, between them singing.
And as they fall and rise,
Their heavy bosoms and voluptuous hips
Assuage the torments they devise;
Their breasts are like full honey jars,
A thin gauze only, lies
Upon their golden zones.
And as the dance,
The musky odors of their bodies rise
Within the heavy air. And in their hair
The petals of the lotuses are stars,
Above the silken couches of desire...
THE PRISON OF JOY
The world surrounds me with fragrance;
there is incense all around me.
On every side there is beauty;
there is no pleasure denied me.
My body is salved with oils;
breathless hands caress me.
I sleep late, into the morning;
the fans weave above me continually.
Wines and fruits are set before me;
my garden blooms with sal-flowers,
In my rooms, if I desire melody,
they ply the strings with supple fingers.
And in the coolness of evening,
when my body is rich and sensuous,
I send for golden maidens,
to dance for me.
My youth shall be remembered in maidens dancing for me;
In silken couches; and they draw my garments from me,
and twine their thighs and their arms about me.
My youth shall be remembered in the sound of passion;
in my flesh singing, in slopes and valleys, and in the grasses;
in seasons of continual richness;
and in the hands of evening,
Languishing forever upon me.
THE CHARIOTEER REPORTS THE PRINCE’S RESTLESSNESS
Oh King, he told me:
The women are talking continually now of the pleasure groves!
They say, the golden season is like no other,
The birds are in droves over the asalas,
There are three fragrances on the water.
And I grow restless:
For times of a new flavor, for winds of a new region.
Until now, like a god in Paradise, I have not looked toward the ground
I have remained continually in my chambers.
But the chariot wheels are on fire!
The huge door shudders under the sound!
Channa, he said, the elephant in the stable,
Longs for the Himalyas!
THE COMMAND OF THE KING
All you commanded we did.
The windows facing east we opened.
Increasing his desires,
The women offered pleasure only.
And the crab, bent to your will
Circled the moon’s orbit.
THE PRINCE FINDS NO DELIGHT 12118
But he remains dissatisfied;
Taking delight in nothing new,
Seeking for flowers he does not know,
in fields he can not wander through.
The women, seeing him troubled so,
Have been a problem too.