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11
THE TOURNAMENT


"Prince we reckon," cried Duryodhan, "not the man of birth alone,
Warlike leader of his forces as a prince and chief we own!

Karna by his warlike valour is of crownéd kings the peer,
Karna shall be crownéd monarch, nations shall his mandate hear!"

Forth they brought the corn and treasure, golden coin and water jar,
On the throne they seated Karna famed in many a deathful war,

Brahmans chanted sacred mantra which the holy books ordain,
And anointed Karna monarch, king of Anga's fair domain!

And they raised the red umbrella, and they waved the chowri fan,
"Blessings on the crownéd monarch! honour to the bravest man!"

Now the holy rites accomplished, in his kingly robes arrayed
Karna unto prince Duryodhan thus in grateful accents prayed:

"Gift of kingdom, good Duryodhan, speaketh well thy noble heart,
What return can grateful Karna humbly render on his part?"

"Grant thy friendship," cries Duryodhan, "for no other boon I crave,
And Duryodhan's dearest comrade be thou Karna true and brave!"

"Be it so!" responded Karna, with a proud and noble grace,
And he sealed his loyal friendship in a dear and fond embrace!

VIII

The Chariot-driver

Wet with drops of toil and languor, lo! a chariot-driver came,
Loosely hung his scanty garments, and a staff upheld his frame,

Karna, now a crownéd monarch, to the humble charioteer,
Bent his head, still moist with water, as unto a parent dear!