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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
From the ‘Meghadūta,’ or ‘Cloud Messenger’
By Kālidāsa (c. 4th Century)
Translation of A. V. Williams Jackson

1. A CERTAIN Yaksha [Divine Being] neglectful once of his master’s task, and stript thus of his glory through his lord’s curse, which was to last a year and was the more grievous because of separating him from his Beloved, had taken up his abode amid the hermitages on Rāma’s Hill, dense in shade trees and whose waters were hallowed by [the fair] Sītā’s having bathed in them.  1
  2. Upon this mountain the love-lorn wight, from whose wasted arm the golden bracelet had slipped down, had already spent eight weary moons, separated from his consort; when, on the first day of the Āshādha month, he caught sight of a cloud clinging to the mountain peak and resembling an elephant with lowered tusks butting at a bank of earth.  2
  3. Scarce checking his tears in the presence of the cloud which was a source of emotion to him, the servant of Kubera [Lord of Wealth] stood long wrapt in thought: [for truly] at the sight of a cloud the heart even of a person in happiness is stirred, but how much more when one is longing to throw his arms about [the loved one’s] neck and is absent far away.  3
  4. Now, desirous to cheer the heart of his Beloved, for the rainy month was nigh at hand, and eager to send by the cloud a message to her, telling of his welfare, the Yaksha, filled with joy, bade the cloud welcome, in loving terms, after he had worshiped it with fresh jasmine sprays, saying:—…  4
  6. “I know that thou art born of a world-renowned race of clouds, Indra’s chief counselor and assuming any shape at will, so I, who am separated from my consort by Fate’s cruel decree, come as suppliant to thee; for better is a fruitless boon if asked of a noble person than an answered request made to a craven.  5
  7. “Thou art, O Cloud, a refuge for the sore-distressed; deign therefore to bear a message for me whom the wrath of Kubera has banished. It is to Alakā, abode of the Yakshas’ Lord, that thou must fly, where the palaces gleam with the moonlight that glances from the head of god Çiva, whose statue stands in the outer garden….  6
  9. “A favoring breeze will gently, gently waft thee, and this proud Chātaka bird upon the left doth carol sweetly; the cranes in wreathed curves in the sky, and eager for the mating-time, will wait in attendance upon thee, for thou art the herald of joy….  7
  13. “First hear me tell the path that is to be thy journey, and where on the mountain-tops thou shalt rest thy foot when worn and weary, quaffing the light creamy nectar of the stream, when tired out: afterwards, O Watery Minister, thou shalt hear a message that is fit for thine ears to drink in.”

  [And in fairest colors of a poet’s brush he paints the northward journey of the cloud to the home where the lonely spouse awaits her banished lord’s return.]

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