or Vikramorvasie

A monologue from the play by Kalidasa

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Hero and the Nymph. Trans. Sri Aurobindo. Hyderabad: Government Central Press, 1911.
  • PURURAVAS: [Angrily] Halt, ruffian, halt! Thou in thy giant arms
    Bearest away my Urvasie! He has
    Soared up from a great crag in the sky
    And wars me, hurling downward bitter rain
    Of arrows. With this thunderbolt I smite thee.

    [He lifts up a clod and runs as to hurl it; then pauses and looks upward.]

    I am deceived! This was a cloud
    Equipped for rain, no proud and lustful fiend,
    The rainbow, not a weapon drawn to kill,
    Quick-driving showers are these, not sleety rain
    Of arrows; and that brilliant line like streak
    Of gold upon a touchstone, cloud-inarmed,
    I saw, was lightning, not my Urvasie.

    [Sorrowfully] Where shall I find her now? Where clasp those thighs
    Swelling and smooth and white?
    This grove, this grove should find her.

    And here, O here is something to enrage my resolution.
    Red-tinged, expanding, wet and full of rain,
    These blossom-cups recall to me her eyes
    Brimming with angry tears. How shall I trace her,
    Or what thing tells me "Here and here she wandered?"
    If she had touched with her beloved feet
    The rain-drenched forest-sands, there were a line
    Of little gracious footprints seen, with lac
    Envermeilled, sinking deeper towards the heel
    Because o'erburdened by her hips' large glories.
    I see a hint of her! This way
    Then went her angry beauty! Lo, her bodice
    Bright green as is a parrot's belly, smitten
    With crimson drops. It once veiled in her bosom
    And paused to show her naval deep as love.
    These are her tears that from those angry eyes
    Went trickling, stealing scarlet from her lips
    To spangle all this green. Doubtless her heaving
    Tumult of breasts broke its dear hold and, she
    Stumbling in anger, from my Heaven it drifted.
    I'll gather it to my kisses.

    [He stoops to it, then sorrowfully:]

    O my heart!
    Only green grass with dragon-wings enamelled!
    From whom shall I in all the desolate forest
    Have tidings of her, or what creature help me?
    Lo, in yon waste of crags the peacock! he
    Upon a cool moist rock that breathes of rain
    Exults, aspires, his gorgeous mass of plumes
    Seized, blown and scattered by the roaring gusts.
    Pregnant of shrillness is his outstretched throat,
    His look is with the clouds. Him I will question:
    Have the bright corners of thine eyes beheld,
    O sapphire-throated bird, her, my delight,
    My wife, my passion, my sweet grief? Yielding
    No answer, he begins his gorgeous dance.
    Why should he be so glad of my heart's woe?
    I know thee, peacock. Since my cruel loss
    Thy plumes that stream in splendour on the wind,
    Have not one rival left. For when her heavy
    Dark wave of tresses over all the bed
    In softness wide magnificently collapsed
    On her smooth shoulders massing purple glory
    And bright with flowers, she passioning in my arms,
    Who then was ravished with thy brilliant plumes,
    Vain bird? I question thee not, heartless thing,
    That joyest in others' pain.