Twenty warriors armed and girded in the Council Hall arose,
Thirsting for a war of vengeance, hurling challenge on the foes,
But Bibhishan deep in wisdom--Ravan's youngest brother he,--
Spake the word of solemn warning, for his eye could farthest see:
"Pardon, king and honoured elder, if Bibhishan lifts his voice
'Gainst the wishes of the warriors and the monarch's fatal choice,
Firm in faith and strong in forces Rama comes with conqu'ring
Vain against a righteous warrior would unrighteous Ravan fight!
Think him not a common Vanar who transpassed the ocean wave,
Wrecked thy city tower and temple and a sign and warning gave,
Think him not a common hermit who Ayodhya ruled of yore,
Crossing India's streams and mountains, thunders now on Lanka's shore!
What dark deed of crime or folly hath the righteous Rama done,
That you stole his faithful consort unprotected and alone,
What offence or nameless insult hath the saintly Sita given,
She who chained in Lanka's prison pleads in piteous tear to Heaven?
Take my counsel, king and elder, Sita to her lord restore,
Wipe this deed of wrong and outrage, Rama's righteous grace implore,
Take my counsel, Raksha monarch, vain against him is thy might,
Doubly arm�d is the hero,--he who battles for the right!
Render Sita to her Rama ere with vengeance swift and dire,
He despoils our peopled Lanka with his bow and brand and fire,
Render wife unto her husband ere in battle's dread array,
Rama swoops upon thy empire like a falcon on its prey,
Render to the lord his consort ere with blood of Rakshas slain,
Rama soaks the land of Lanka to the margin of the main!
Listen to my friendly counsel,--though it be I stand alone,--
Faithful friend but fiery foeman is this Dasa-ratha's son,
Listen to my voice of warning,--Rama's shafts are true and keen,
Flaming like the with'ring sunbeams on the summer's parch�d green,
Listen to my soft entreaty,-righteousness becomes the brave,
Cherish peace and cherish virtue and thy sons and daughters
Ravan's brother Kumbha-karna, from his wonted slumber woke,
Mightiest he of all the Rakshas, thus in solemn accents spoke:
Truly speaks the wise Bibhishan; ere he stole a hermit's wife,
Ravan should have thought and pondered, courted not a causeless
Ere he did this deed of folly, Ravan should have counsel sought,
Tardy is the vain repentance when the work of shame is wrought!
Word of wisdom timely spoken saves from death and dangers dire,
Vain is grief for crime committed,--offerings to unholy fire,
Vain is hero's worth or valour if by foolish counsel led,
Toil and labour fail and perish save when unto wisdom wed,
And the foeman speeds in triumph o'er a heedless monarch's might,
As through gaps of Krauncha mountains hansas speed their southern
Ravan, thou hast sought unwisely Sita, in her calm retreat,
As the wild and heedless hunter feeds upon the poisoned meat,
Nathless, faithful Kumbha-karna, will his loyal duty know,
He shall fight his monarch's battle, he shall face his brother's foe!
True to brother and to monarch, be he right or be he wrong,
Kumbha-kama fights for Lanka 'gainst her foemen fierce and strong,
Recks not if the mighty INDRA and VIVASVAT cross his path,
Or the wild and stormy MARUTS, AGNI in his fiery wrath!
For the Lord of Sky shall tremble when he sees my stature high,
And he hears his thunders echoed by my loud and answering cry,
Rama armed with ample quiver shall no second arrow send,
Ere I slay him in the battle and his limb from limb I rend!
Wiser heads than Kumbha-karna right and true from wrong may know,
Faithful to his race and monarch he shall face the haughty foe,
Joy thee in thy pleasure, Ravan, rule thy realm in regal pride,
When I slay the hermit Rama, widowed Sita be thy bride!"