Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
The Tryst
By Rabindranath Tagore
 
From “Narratives”

UPAGUPTA, the disciple of Buddha, lay asleep on the dust by the wall of Mathura. Lamps were all out, doors were all shut in the town, and stars were hidden in clouds in the murky sky of August.
    Whose feet were those tinkling with anklets, touching his breast of a sudden? He woke up starting, and the rude light from the woman’s lamp struck his forgiving eyes.
    It was the dancing girl drunk with the wine of youth, starred with jewels and clouded with a pale blue mantle.
    She lowered her lamp and saw the young face, where mercy shone in the eyes and purity beamed from the forehead.
    “Forgive me, young ascetic,” said the woman; “graciously come to my home. This hard dusty earth is not a fit bed for you.”        5
    The ascetic answered, “Go on your way, fair woman. When the time is ripe, I will come and see you.”
    Suddenly the dark black night showed its teeth in a flash of lightning. The storm-fiend growled in the sky and the woman trembled in fear.
*        *        *
    The New Year had not yet begun. It was an evening of March. The wind was wild. The branches of the wayside trees were aching with blossoms.
    Gay notes of the flute came floating in the warm spring air from afar. The citizens had gone to the woods, to the festival of flowers. From the mid-sky smiled the full moon on the empty and silent town.
    The young ascetic was walking alone in the lonely city road. The moon-beam checquered with shadows fell on his path and sleepless Koels sang from the flowering mango branches.        10
    He passed through the city gates and stood at the base of the rampart.
    What woman was it lying on the earth in the shadow of the wall at his feet?
    She was struck with the black pestilence; her body was spotted with sores. She was driven from the town with haste for the fear of her fatal touch.
    The ascetic sat by her side, gently took her head on his knees, moistened her lips with water and smeared her body with balm.
    “Who art thou, kind angel of mercy?” asked the woman.        15
    “The time, at last, has arrived for me to visit you, and I have come,” replied the young ascetic.
 
 
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