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Page:Mahabharata - the epic of ancient India.djvu/37

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THE BRIDE'S CHOICE 23

But once more the bow rebounded, fell the monarch in his shame, Left in haste Panchaia's mansions for the region whence he came ' Uprose Salya, king of Madra, with his wondrous skill and might. Faltering, on his knees descending, fell in sad inglorious plight ! Thus each monarch fell and faltered, merry whispers went around, And the sound of stifled laughter circled round the festive ground ! VI The Disguised Arjun Hushed the merry sound of laughter, hushed each suitor in his shame, Arjun, godlike son of Pritha, from the ranks of Brahmans came ! Guised as Brahman young and holy and like Indra's rainbow bright, All the Brahmans shook their deerskins, cheered him in their hearts' delight ! Some there were with sad misgivings heard the sound of joyous cheer, And their minds were strangely anxious, whispered murmurs spake their fear : " Wondrous bow ! which Sisupala, mighty Salya could not strain, Jarasandha famed for prowess strove to bend and string in vain, Can a Brahman weak by nature, and in warlike arms untrained, Wield the bow which crowned monarchs, long-armed chieftains have not strained ? Sure the Brahman boy in folly dares a foolish thoughtless deed. Shame amidst this throng of monarchs, shall it be the Brahman's meed ? Youth in youthful pride or madness will a foolish emprise dare, Sager men should stop his rashness and the Brahman's honour spare ! " " Shame he will not bring unto us," other Brahmans made reply,

  • ' Rather in this throng of monarchs, rich renown and honour high;