Archive for November 2nd, 2019

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Canto 1: Summer from Rtusamhāram (The Gathering of the Seasons) by Kālidasa

1
The sun blazing fiercely,
the moon longed for eagerly,
deep waters inviting
to plunge in continually,
days drawing to a close in quiet beauty,
the tide of desire running low:
scorching Summer is now here, my love.

2
Night’s indigo-masses rent by the moon,
wondrous mansions built on water,
cooled by fountains; various gems
cool to the touch; liquid sandal;
the world seeks relief in these
in Summer’s scorching heat, my love.

3
Palace-terraces perfumed, luring the senses,
wine trembling beneath the beloved’s breath,
sweet melodies on finely-tuned lutes:
lovers enjoy tese passion-kindling things
at midnight in Summer, my love.

4
Curving hips, their beauty enhanced
by fine silks and jewelled belts;
sandal-scented breasts caressed by necklaces of pearls,
fragrant tresses bathed in perfumed water:
with these women soothe their loves
in burning Summer, my love.

5
Swaying hips; soles tinted deep rose;
anklets with tinkling bells
imitating at each step the cry of the wild goose:
men’s hearts are churned by desire.

6
Breasts rubbed smooth with liquid sandal,
crowned by strings of pearls lustrous as dewdrops,
hips encircled by golden belts—
whose heart will not yearn restless?

7
High-breasted women in the flush of youth,
limbs shining with beads of sweat, throw off
heavy garments and put on thin stoles
right for the season to cover their breasts.

8
The breeze of moist sandal-scented fans,
the touch of flower-garlands on the beloved’s breast,
the lute’s exquisite murmuring sound:
these now awaken sleeping Love.

9
Gazing all night longingly
on the faces of lovely women sleeping happy
on terraces of sparkling white mansions,
the moon pales at dawn struck by guilty shame.

10
Hearts burning in the fire of separation,
men far from home can scarcely bear to see
the swirling clouds of dust tossed up
from the earth burnt by the sun’s fierce heat.

11
Antelopes suffering from Summer’s savage heat,
race with parched throats towards the distant sky
the colour of smooth-blended collyrium, thinking:
—‘there’s water there in another forest.’

12
As enchanting twilights jewelled by the moon
instantly kindle desire in pleasure-seeker’s minds,
so do the graceful movements, subtle smiles
and wayward glances of amorous women.

13
In an agony of pain from the sun’s fierce rays,
scorched by dust on his path, a snake with drooping hood
creeps on his tortuous course, repeatedly hissing,
to find shelther under a peacock’s shade.

14
The king of beasts suffering intense thirst, pants
with wide open jaws, lolling tongue, quivering mane;
powerless to attack he does not kill
elephants though they are not beyond his reach.

15
Dry-throated, foaming at the mouth,
maddened by the sun’s sizzling rays,
tuskers in an agony of growing thirst,
seeking water, do not fear even the lion.

16
Peacocks, exhausted by the flame-rays of the sun
blazing like numerous sacrificial fires,
lack the will to strike at the hooded snake
thrusting its head under their circle of plumes.

17
By the hot sun tormented a herd of wild boars
rooting with the round tips of their long snouts
in the caked mud of ponds with swamp-grass overgrown,
appear as if descending deep into the earth.

18
Burning under the sun’s fiery wreath of rays,
a frog leaps up from the muddy pond
to sit under the parasol hood
of a deadly cobra that is thirsty and tired.

19
A whole host of fragile lotus plants uprotted,
fish lying dead, sarus cranes flown away in fear,
the lack is one thick mass of mire, pounded
by a packed elephant-herd pushing and shoving.

20
A cobra overcome by thirst darts his forked tongue out
to lick the breeze; the iridescence of his crest-jewel
flashes struck by brilliant sunbeams; burning
from Summer’s heat and his own fiery poison
he does not attack the assemblage of frogs.

21
A herd of female buffaloes frenzied by thirst
emerges from the hill’s caves, heads lifted up
sniffing for water, spittle overflowing from cavernous jaws
and frothing round their lips, pink tongus hanging out.

22
A raging forest fire burns tender shoots to a cinder;
cruel words hurl shrivelled leaves high up with impetuous force;
all around waters shrink to the bottom in the sizzling heat;
O what a scene of horror the woodland’s outskirts present!

23
Birds sit panting on trees shorn of leaves;
lean monkeys troop into caves overgrown with bushes;
wild bulls roam around looking for water;
elephant cubs diligently draw up water from a well.

24
Relentlessly driven by the force of violent winds,
the fire, brilliant as the vermilion petals
of the mallow rose unfolding,
speeds in every direction, smitten with longing to clasp
the tops of trees, bushes and creepers, and burns the earth.

25
Springing up at the skirts of the woodland,
the fire’s glare tires the creatures of the woodland;
it blazes in the glens fanned by the winds,
crackles and bursts through dry bamboo thickets
and spreads in the grass, waxing each moment.

26
Incited by the winds, the wild fire roams
all around the woodland, seeking to assume
multiple forms in the bright silk-cotton groves;
it glitters, burnished gold, in the hollows of trees
and springs up tall trees, to branches whose leaves are singed.

27
With their bodies burning in the fire’s fierce heat,
elephants, wild bulls, lions, lay aside their enmity,
and come quickly out of grasslands scorched by fire, together,
like friends, to rest on the river’s wide, sandy banks.

28
O lady, whose singing flows so sweet
in the night over moonlit terraces,
may Summer waited upon by lovely women,
when pools are strewn thick with lotuses
and the air scented by pāṭala flowers,
when waters are pleasant to laze in
and garlands of pearls cool with their touch,
pass in greatest delight and ease for you.

From: Kālidasa and Rajan, Chandra (ed.), The Complete Works of Kālidasa: In three volumes, Volume 1, 2005, Sahitya Akademi:  New Delhi, pp. 77-82.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=v8KZyQk0VWUC)

Date: c4th-5th century BCE (original in Sanskrit); 1997 (translanted in English)

By: Kālidasa (c4th-5th century BCE)

Translated by: Chandra Rajan (19??- )