Arjun drove the prince of Matsya to a darksome sami tree,
Spake unto the timid warrior in his accents bold and free:
Prince, thy bow and shining arrows, pretty handsome toys are these,
Scarcely they beseem a warrior, and a warrior cannot please,
Thou shalt find upon this sami, mark my words which never fail,
Stately bows and wingéd arrows, banners, swords and coats of mail,
And a bow which strongest warriors scarce can in the battle bend,
And the limits of a kingdom widen when that bow is strained,
Tall and slender like a palm-tree, worthy of a warrior bold,
Smooth the wood of hardened fibre, and the ends are yellow gold! '
Doubting still Uttara answered: 'In this sami's gloomy shade
Corpses hang since many seasons in their wrappings duly laid,
Now I mark them all suspended, horrent, in the open air,
And to touch the unclean objects, friend, is more than I can dare! '
'Fear not warrior,' Arjun answered, 'for the tree conceals no dead,
Warriors' weapons, cased like corpses, lurk within its gloomy shade,
And I ask thee, prince of Matsya, not to touch an unclean thing,
But unto a chief and warrior weapons and his arms to bring.'
Prince Uttara gently lighted, climbed the dark and leafy tree,
Arjun from the prince's chariot bade him speed the arms to free,
And the young prince cut the wrappings; lo! the shining bows appear
Twisted, voiced like hissing serpents, like the bright stars glistening clear!
Seized with wonder prince Uttara silently the weapons eyed,
And unto his chariot-driver thus in trembling accents cried:
'Whose this bow so tall and stately, speak to me my gentle friend,
On the wood are golden bosses, tipped with gold is either end,
Whose this second ponderous weapon stout and massive in the hold,
On the staff are worked by artists elephants of burnished gold,
And what great and mighty monarch owns this other how of might,
Set with golden glittering insects on its ebon back so bright,
Golden suns of wondrous brightness on this fourth their lustre lend,
Who may be the unknown archer who this stately bow can bend,
And the fifth is set with jewels, gems and stones of purest ray,
Golden fire-flies glint and sparkle in the yellow light of day!
Who doth own these shining arrows with their heads in gold encased
Thousand arrows bright and feathered in the golden quivers placed:
Next are these with vulture-feather, golden-yellow in their hue,
Made of iron keen and whetted, whose may be these arrows true,
Next upon this sable quiver jungle tigers gleam in gold,
And these keen and boar-eared arrows speak some chieftains fierce and bold,
Fourth are these seven hundred arrows, crescent in their shining blade,
Thirsting for the blood of foemen and by cunning artists made,
And the fifth are golden-crested, made of tempered steel and bright,
Parrot feathers wing these arrows whetted and of wondrous might!
Hark again this wondrous sabre, shape of toad is on the hilt,
On the blade a toad is given and the scabbard nobly gilt,
Larger, stouter is this second in its sheath of tiger-skin,
Decked with bells and gold -surmounted and the blade is bright and keen,
Next this scimitar so curious by the skilled Nishadas made,
Scabbard made of wondrous cowhide sheathes the bright and polished blade,
Fourth, a long and beauteous weapon glittering sable in its hue,
With its sheath of softer goat-skin worked with gold on azure blue,
And the fifth is broad and massive over thirty fingers long,
Golden-sheathed and gold embosséd like a snake or fiery tongue!
Joyously responded Arjun: 'Mark this bow embossed with gold.
'Tis the wondrous bow, Gandiva, worthy of a warrior bold,
Gift of heaven! to archer Arjun kindly gods this weapon sent,
And the confines of a kingdom widen when the bow is bent,
Next, this mighty ponderous weapon worked with elephants of gold,
With this bow the stalwart Bhima hath the tide of conquests rolled,
And the third with golden insects by a cunning hand inlaid,
'Tis Yudhishthir's royal weapon by the noblest artists made,
Next the bow with solar lustre brave Nakula wields in fight,
And the fifth is Sahadeva's, decked with gems and jewels bright
Mark again these thousand arrows, unto Arjun they belong,
And the darts whose blades are crescent unto Bhima brave and strong,
Boar-ear shafts are young Nakula's, in the tiger-quiver eased,
Sahadeva owns the arrows with the parrots feather graced,
These three-knotted shining arrows, thick and yellow vulture -plumed.
They belong to King Yudhishthir, with their heads by gold illumed!
Listen more, if of these sabres, prince of Matsya, thou wouldst know,
Arjun's sword is toad-engraven, ever dreaded by the foe,
And the sword in tiger-scabbard, massive and of mighty strength,
None save tiger-waisted Bhima wields that sword of wondrous length,
Next the sabre golden-hilted, sable and with gold embossed,
Brave Yudhishthir kept that sabre when tho king his kingdom lost,
Yonder sword with goat-skin scabbard brave Nakula wields in war,
In the cowhide Sahadeva keeps his shining scimitar! '
'Strange thy accents,' spake Uttara, 'stranger are the weapons bright,
Are they arms of sons of Pandu famed on earth for matchless might,
Where are now those pious princes by a dire misfortune crossed,
Warlike Arjun, good Yudhishthir, by his subjects loved and lost,
Where is tiger-waisted Bhima, matchless fighter in the field,
And the brave and twin-born brothers skilled the arms of war to wield?
O'er a game they lost their empire and we heard of them no more,
Or perchance they lonesome wander on some wild and distant shore,
And Draupadi noble princess, purest best of womankind,
Doth she wander with Yudhishthir, changeless in her heart and mind? '
Proudly answered valiant Arjun, and a smile was on his face,
Not in distant lands the brothers do their wandering footsteps trace,
In thy father's court disguiséd lives Yudhishthir just and good,
Bhima in thy father's palace as a cook prepares the food,
Brave Nakula guards the horses, Sahadeva tends the kine,
As thy sister's waiting-woman doth the fair Draupadi shine,
Pardon, prince, these rings and bangles, pardon strange unmanly guise,
'Tis no poor and sexless creature,-Arjun greets thy wondering eyes! '