The Bengali Book of English Verse/A Challenge to Fate (Sarojini Naidu)
A Challenge to Fate.
Why will you vex me with your futile conflict,
Why will you strive with me, O foolish Fate?
You cannot break me with your poignant envy,
You cannot slay me with your subtle hate:
For all the cruel folly you pursue
I will not cry with suppliant hands to you.
You may perchance wreck in your bitter malice
The radiant empire of mine eager eyes—
Say, can you rob my memory's dear dominion
O'er sunlit mountains and sidereal skies?
In my enduring treasuries I hold
Their ageless splendour of unravished gold.
You may usurp the kingdoms of my hearing—
Say, shall my scatheless spirit cease to hear
The bridal rapture of the blowing valleys,
The lyric pageant of the passing year,
The sounding odes and singing harmonies
Of battling tempests and unconquered seas?
Yea, you may smite my mouth to throbbing silence,
Pluck from my lips power of articulate words—
Say, shall my heart lack its familiar language
While earth has nests for her mellifluous birds?
Shall my impassioned heart forget to sing
With the ten thousand voices of the spring?
Yea, you may quell my blood with sudden anguish,
Fetter my limbs with some compelling pain—
How will you daunt my free, far-journeying fancy
That rides upon the pinions of the rain?
How will you tether my triumphant mind,
Rival and fearless comrade of the wind?
Tho' you deny the hope of all my being,
Betray my love, my sweetest dream destroy,
Yet will I slake my individual sorrow
At the deep source of Universal joy—
O Fate, in vain you hanker to control
My frail, serene, indomitable soul.