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Page:Mahabharata - the epic of ancient India.djvu/18

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4
THE EPIC OF ANCIENT INDIA


Offerings to the gods immortal then the priestly warrior made,
Brahmans with their chanted mantra worship and obeisance paid,

And the festive note of sankha mingled with the trumpet's sound,
Throngs of warriors, various-arm├ęd, came unto the listed ground.

II

The Princes

Gauntleted and jewel-girdled, now the warlike princes came,
With their stately bows and quivers and their swords like wreaths of flame,

Each behind his elder stepping, good Yudhishthir first of all,
Each his wondrous skill displaying held the silent crowds in thrall,

And the men in admiration marked them with a joyful eye,
Or by sudden panic stricken stooped to let the arrow fly!

Mounted on their rapid coursers oft the princes proved their aim,
Racing, hit the targe with arrows lettered with their royal name,

With their glinting sunlit weapons shone the youths sublime and high,
More than mortals seemed the princes, like gandharvas of the sky!

Shouts of joy the people uttered as by sudden impulse driven,
Mingled voice of tens of thousands struck the pealing vault of heaven!

Still the princes shook their weapons, drove the deep resounding car,
Or on steed or tusker mounted waged the glorious mimic war!

Mighty sword and ample buckler, ponderous mace the princes wield,
Brightly gleam their lightning rapiers as they range the listed field,

Brave and fearless is their action, and their movements quick and light,
Skilled and true the thrust and parry of their weapons flaming bright!