Scene I

VUTHSA UDAYAN king of Cowsambie.
YOUGUNDHARAYAN His Minister, until recently Regent of Cowsambie
ROOMUNWATH Captain of his armies.
ALURCA , VASUNTHACA Young men of Vuthsa’s age, his friends and companions.
THE KING’S DOOR-KEEPER King of Avunthie
CHUNDA MAHASEGN  
A CAPTAIN OF AVUNTHIE  
A SERVANT  
PARINACA Attendant at Udayan’s palace
UNGARICA Queen of Avunthie
VASAVADUTTA Daughter of Chunda Mahasegn and Ungarica
UMBA Her handmaiden
MUNJOOLICA The new name of Bundhumathie, the captive Princess of Sourasthra, serving Vasavadutta.

ACT ONE

SCENE I

An inner room of the palace in Avunthie.
Chunda Mahasegn, seated; Gopalaca.

MAHASEGN
Vuthsa Udayan drives my fortune back.
Our strengths retire from one luxurious boy,
Defeated.

GOPALACA
I have seen him in the fight
And I have lived to wonder. O, he ranges
As lightly through the passages of war
As might the moonbeam feet of some bright laughing girl,
The measures of a rapid dance.

MAHASEGN
If this dawn
Bring its portentous morning to our gates,
Our suns are ended. Yet I had great dreams.
Oudh and Cowsambie were my high-carved doors;
Ganges, Godavarie and Nurmad
In lion race besprayed with sacred dew
The moonlit jasmines in my pleasure-grounds.
All this great sunlit continent lay sleeping
At peace beneath the shadow of my brows.
But they were dreams.

GOPALACA
Art thou not great enough
To live them?

MAHASEGN
O my son, many high hearts
Must first have striven, many must have failed
Before a great thing can be done on earth;
And who shall say then that he is the man?
One age has seen the dreams another lives?

GOPALACA
Look up towards the hills where Rudra stands,
His dreadful war-lance pointing to the east.
Fear not the obstacles the gods have strewn.
Why should the mighty man restrain his soul?
Stretch out thy hand to seize, thy foot to trample,
A Titan’s motion.

MAHASEGN
High thou soarest now
But with eyes shut to the tempest.

GOPALACA
Suest thou at last
To foemen for the end of haughty strife?

MAHASEGN
That never shall be seen. The boy must fall.

GOPALACA
He is young, noble, beautiful and bold,
But let him fall. We will not bear defeat.

MAHASEGN
How shall he fall, my son? For Heaven-admired
Rudra still guards my stern and high-eyed fates,
But many gods stood smiling at his birth.
Luxmie came full of fortunate days; Vishnu
Poured down his radiant sanction in the skies
And promised his far stride across the earth;
Magic Saruswathie between his hands
Laid down her lotus arts.

GOPALACA
The austere gods
Help best and not indulgent deities.
The greatness in him cannot grow to man.
Excused from effort and propped on difficult ascent
Birds that are brilliant-winged fly near to earth.
His hero hours are rare forgetful flights.
Wine, song and dance winging his peaceful days
Throng round his careless soul, it cannot find
The noble leisure to grow great.

MAHASEGN
There lives
Our hope. My son, spry out thy enemy’s spirit,
Even as his wealth and armies! Let thy eyes
Find out its weakness and thy hand there strike.

GOPALACA
Thou hast a way to strike?

MAHASEGN
I have a way,
Not noble like the sounding paths of war.

GOPALACA
Take it; let us stride straight towards our goal.

MAHASEGN
Thy arm is asked for.

GOPALACA
It is thine to use.

MAHASEGN
Invent some strong device and bring him to us
A captive in Ujjayinie’s golden groves.
Shall he not find there a jailor for his heart
To take the miracle of its keys and wear them
Swung on her raiment’s border? Then he lives
Shut up by her close in a prison of joy,
Her and our vassal.

GOPALACA
Brought to the eagle’s nest
For the eagle’s child, thou giv’st him her heart’s prey
To Vasavadutta? King, thy way is good.
Garroda on a young and sleeping Python
Rushing from heaven I’ll lift him helpless up
Into the skiey distance of our peaks.
Though it is strange and new and subtle, it is good.
Think the blow struck, thy foeman seized and bound.

MAHASEGN
I know thy swiftness and thy gathered leap.
Once here! His senses are enamoured slaves
To the touch of every beautiful thing. O, there
No hero, but a tender soul at play,
A soft-eyed, mirthful and luxurious youth
Whom all sweet sounds and all sweet sights compel
To careless ecstasy. Wine, music, flowers
And a girl’s dawning smile can weave him chains
Of vernal softness stronger than bonds can give
Of unyielding iron. Two lips shall seal his strength,
Two eyes of all his acts be tyrant stars.

GOPALACA
One aid I ask of thee and only one.
My banishment, O King, from thy domains.

MAHASEGN
Gopalaca, I banish thee, my child.
Return not with my violent will undone.