Poets of John Company/The Song of the Koil
The Song of the Koil.
O youths and maidens rise and sing!
The Koil is come who leads the Spring:
The buds that were sleeping his voice have heard,
And the tale is borne on by each nesting bird.
The trees of the forest have all been told;
They have donned their mantles of scarlet and gold;
To welcome him back they are bravely dressed,
But he loves the blossoming mango best.
The Koil is come, glad news to bring!
On the blossoming mango he rests his wing;
Though its hues may be dull, it is sweet, oh! sweet,
And its shade and its fruit the wanderer greet.
The Koil is come, and the forests ring:
He has called aloud to awake the Spring,
Spring the balmy, the friend of Love,
The bodiless god who reigns above.
Oh! sad were the hearts of the gods that day
When the worlds all mourned the oppressor's sway;
When the oracle promised deliverance none
Till Shiva the wrathful should lend his son.
But archly does young-eyed Kama smile
On those who would foil him by force or by guile;
And his keenest shaft to the string he laid,
As he called to that presence the mountain-maid.
The love-shaft flew from the bow-string fast,
As the child of the snows in her beauty passed;
And the cream-white lotus blushed rosy red
Where the blood of the god from his wound was shed.
Oh! sharp is the arrowy blossom's smart,
For the mango flower ne'er missed the heart;
And the work of the gods is fairly done,
And help shall arise out of Shiva's son.
But woe for that image of loveliness, woe!
Which the worlds of creation no longer shall know;
In Shiva's first wrath at the breach of his vow,
Consumed by the flame-darting eye of his brow.
But the flames could not weaken Immortal Might;
He is born in the heart in the spring-time bright.
Whose is the breast where the god shall dwell?
O youths and maidens, you can tell.