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Page:Mahabharata - the epic of ancient India.djvu/33

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19
THE BRIDE'S CHOICE


Pandu's sons in guise of Brahmans mix with Brahmans versed in lore,
Mark proud Drupad's wealth and splendour, gazing, wondering evermore!

Dancers charm the gathered people, singers sing and actors play,
Fifteen days of festive splendour greet the concourse rich and gay.

III

The Bride

Sound the drum and voice the sankha! Brightly dawns the bridal day,
Fresh from morning's pure ablutions comes the bride in garments gay!

And her golden bridal garland carries on her graceful arm,
Softly, sweetly, steps Draupadi, queen of every winning charm!

Then a Brahman versed in mantra, ancient priest of lunar race,
Lights the Fire, with pious offerings seek its blessings and its grace,

Whispered words of benediction saints and holy men repeat,
Conch and trumpet's voice is silent, hushed the lofty war-drum's beat,

And there reigns a solemn silence, and in stately pomp and pride,
Drupad's son leads forth his sister, fair Panchala's beauteous bride!

In his loud and lofty accents like the distant thunder's sound,
Drupad's son his father's wishes thus proclaims to all around:

"Mark this bow, assembled monarchs, and the target hung on high,
Through yon whirling pierc├ęd discus let five glist'ning arrows fly!

Whoso born of noble lineage, hits the far suspended aim,
Let him stand and as his guerdon Drupad's beauteous maiden claim!"

Then he turns unto Draupadi, tells each prince and suitor's name,
Tells his race and lofty lineage, and his warlike deeds of fame.