Page:Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan.djvu/154

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118

BALLADS OF HINDUSTAN.

And now vague rumours ran around,
Men talked of them with bated breath:
The river has a depth profound,
The elephants trample down to death,
The poisons kill, the firebrands burn.
Had every means in turn been tried?
Some said they had,—but soon they learn
The brave young prince had not yet died

For once more in the Council-Hall
He had been cited to appear,
'Twas open to the public all,
And all the people came in fear.
Banners were hung along the wall,
The King sat on his peacock throne,
And now the hoary Marechal
Brings in the youth,—bare skin and bone.

"Who shall protect thee, Prehlad, now?
Against steel, poison, water, fire,
Thou art protected, men avow
Who treason, if but bold, admire.
In our own presence thou art brought
That we and all may know the truth—
Where are thy gods?—I long have sought
But never found them, hapless youth.