(1500 BC? / Kalpi, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh / India)

Mahabharata, Book I - The Chariot-Driver

Dewed 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 Suta sped,
As a son unto a father, reverently bent his head!

With his scanty cloth the driver sought his dusty feet to hide,
And he hailed him as a father hails his offspring in his pride,

And he clasped unto his bosom crownéd Karna's noble head,
And on Karna's dripping forehead, fresh and loving tear-drops shed!

Is he soil of chariot-driver? Doubts arose in Bhima's mind,
And he sought to humble Karna with reproachful words unkind

'Wilt thou, high-descended hero, with a Kuru cross thy brand?
But the goad of cattle-drivers better suits, my friend, thy hand!

Wilt thou as a crownéd monarch rule a mighty nation's weal?
As the jackals of the jungle sacrificial offerings steal!'

Quivered Karna's lips in anger, word of answer spake he none,
But a deep sigh shook his bosom, and he gazed upon the sun!

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Comments (1)

Veda vyasa you wrote this poem superbly