4: Night of Slaughter: Duryodhan's Death -


Far from battle's toii and slaughter, by a dark and limpid lake,
Sad and slow and faint Duryodhan did his humble shelter take,

But the valiant sons of Pandu with the hunter's watchful care,
Thither tracked their fallen foeman like a wild beast in its lair!

" Gods be witness, " said Duryodhan, flaming in his shame and wrath,
" Boy to manhood ever hating we have crossed each other's path,

Now we meet to part no longer, proud Duryodhan fights you all,
Perish he, or sons of Pandu, may this evening see your fall! "

Bhima answered: " For the insults long endured but not forgiven,
Me alone you fight, Duryodhan, witness righteous gods in heaven,

Call to mind the dark destruction planned of old in fiendish ire,
In the halls of Varnavata to consume us in the fire,

Call to mind the scheme deceitful, deep Sakuni's dark device,
Cheating us of fame and empire by the trick of loaded dice,

Call to mind that coward insult and the outrage foul and keen,
Flung on Drupad's saintly daughter and our noble spotless queen,

Call to mind the stainless Bhishma for thy sins and folly slain,
Lifeless proud preceptor Drona, Karna lifeless on the plain,

Perish in thy sins, Duryodhan, perish too thy hated name,
And thy dark life crime-polluted ends, Duryodhan, in thy shame! "

Like two bulls that fight in fury blind with wounds and oozing blood,
Like two wild and warring tuskers shaking all the echoing wood,

Like the thunder-wielding I NDRA , Y AMA monarch of the dead,
Dauntless Bhima and Duryodhan fiercely strove and fought and bled!

Sparks of fire shot from their maces and their faces ran with blood,
Neither won and neither yielded, matched in strength the rivals stood,

Till his vow remembered Bhima, and he raised his weapon high,
With a foul attack but fatal broke Duryodhan's shattered knee!

Through the sky a voice resounded as the great Duryodhan fell,
And the earth the voice re-echoed o'er her distant hill and dale,

Beasts and birds in consternation flew o'er land and azure sky,
Men below and heavenly Siddhas trembled at the fatal cry!

Darkness fell upon the battle, proud Duryodhan dying lay,
But the slaughter of the combat closed not with the closing day,

Ancient feud and hatred linger after battle's sweeping flood,
And the father's deathless anger courseth in the children's blood,

Drona slept and gallant Drupad, for their earthly task was done,
Vengeance fired the son of Drona 'gainst the royal Drupad's son!

Sable shadows of the midnight fell o'er battle's silent plain,
Faintly shone the fitful planets on the dying and the slain,

And the vengeful son of Drona fired by omens dark and dread,
Stole into the tents of foemen with a soft and noiseless tread!

Dhrista-dyumna and Sikhandin, princes of Panchala's land,
Fell beneath the proud avenger Aswa-thaman's reeking hand,

Ay, where Drupad's sleeping grandsons, fair Draupadi's children lay,
Stole the cruel arm of vengeance, smothered them ere dawn of day!

Done the ghastly work of slaughter, Aswa-thaman bent his way
Where beside the limpid waters lone Duryodhan dying lay,

And Duryodhan blessed the hero with his feeble fleeting breath,
Joy of vengeance cheered his bosom and he died a happy death!
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