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Mahabharata, Book Ii - The Wedding Assembly
Veda Vyasa (1500 BC? / Kalpi, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh / India)

Mahabharata, Book Ii - The Wedding Assembly

To the helméd son of Pandu, Arjun pride of Kuru's race,
Drupad longed to give his daughter peerless in her maiden grace,

And of massive wood unbending, Drupad made a stubborn bow,
Saving Arjun prince or chieftain might not bend the weapon low,

And he made a whirling discus, hung it 'neath the open sky,
And beyond the whirling discus placed a target far and high,

'Whose strings this bow,' said Drupad, 'hits the target in his pride
Through the high and circling discus, wins Panchala's princely bride!'

And they spake the monarch's mandate in the kingdoms near and far,
And from every town and country princes came and chiefs of war,

Came the pure and saintly rishis for to bless the holy rite,
Came the Kuras with brave Karna in their pride and matchless might,

Brahmans came from distant regions with their sacred learning blest,
Drupad with a royal welcome greeted every honoured guest.

Now the festal day approacheth! Gathering men with ocean's voice,
Filled the wide and circling stages to behold the maiden's choice,

Royal guests and princely suitors came in pomp of wealth and pride,
Car-bome chiefs and mailéd warriors came to win the beauteous bride!

North-east of the festive city they enclosed a level ground,
Towering dome and stately palace cunning builders built around,

And by moat and wall surrounded, pierced by gate and archéd door,
By a canopy of splendour was the red field covered o'er!

Now the festal day approacheth! Sacred censers fragrance lent,
Sprinkled chandan spread its coolness, wreaths were hung of sweetest scent,

All around were swan-white mansions, lofty domes and turrets high,
Like the peaks of white Kailasa cleaving through the azure sky!

Sparkling gems the chambers lighted, golden nets the windows laced,
Spacious stairs so wide and lofty were with beauteous carpets graced,

Rich festoons and graceful garlands gently waved like streamers gay,
And the swan-like silver mansions glinted in the light of day!

Now the festal day approacheth! High the royal chambers lay,
With their lofty gilded turrets like the peaks of Himalay,

In these halls in pride and splendour dwelt each rich and royal guest,
Fired by mutual emulation, and in costly jewels drest,

Decked and perfumed sat these rulers, mighty-arméd, rich in fame,
Lion-monarchs, noble-destined, chiefs of pure and spotless name,

Pious to the mighty BRAHMA, and their subjects' hope and stay,
Loved of all for noble actions, kind and virtuous in their sway.

Now the festal day approacheth! like the heaving of the main,
Surge the ranks of gathered nations o'er the wide and spacious plain,

Pandu's sons in guise of Brahmans mix with Brahmans versed in lore,
Mark proud Drupad'sa 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.

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