22 The Little Clay Cart – Act X

Act, the Tenth

THE END

[Enter Chārudatta, accompanied by two headsmen.]

Headsmen.

Then think no longer of the pain;
In just a second you ‘ll be slain.
We understand the fashions new
To fetter you and kill you too.
In chopping heads we never fail,
Nor when the victim we impale.1

Out of the way, gentlemen, out of the way! This is the noble Chārudatta.

The oleander on his brow,
In headsmen’s hands you see him now;
Like a lamp whose oil runs nearly dry,
His light fades gently, ere it die.2

Chārudatta. [Gloomily.]

My body wet by tear-drops falling, falling;
My limbs polluted by the clinging mud;
Flowers from the graveyard torn, my wreath appalling;
For ghastly sacrifice hoarse ravens calling,
And for the fragrant incense of my blood.3

Headsmen.

Out of the way, gentlemen, out of the way!
Why gaze upon the good man so?
The ax of death soon lays him low.
Yet good men once sought shelter free,
Like birds, upon this kindly tree.4

Come, Chārudatta, come!

Chārudatta. Incalculable are the ways of human destiny, that I am come to such a plight!

Red marks of hands in sandal paste
O’er all my body have been placed;
The man, with meal and powder strewn,
Is now to beast of offering grown.5

[157.19. S.

[He gazes intently before him.] Alas for human differences!
[Mournfully.]

For when they see the fate that I must brave,
With tears for death’s poor victim freely given,
The citizens cry “shame,” yet cannot save,—
Can only pray that I attain to heaven.6

Headsmen. Out of the way, gentlemen, out of the way! Why do you gaze upon him?

God Indra moving through the sky,
The calving cow, the falling star,
The good man when he needs must die,—
These four behold not from afar.7

Goha. Look, Ahīnta! Look, man!

While he, of citizens the best,
Goes to his death at fate’s behest,
Does heaven thus weep that he must die?
Does lightning paint the cloudless sky?8

Ahīnta. Goha, man,

The heaven weeps not that he must die,
Nor lightning paints the cloudless sky;
Yet streams are falling constantly
From many a woman’s clouded eye.9

And again:

While this poor victim to his death is led,
No man nor woman here but sorely weeps;
And so the dust, by countless tear-drops fed,
Thus peacefully upon the highway sleeps.10

Chārudatta. [Gazes intently. Mournfully.]

These women, in their palaces who stay,
From half-shut windows peering, thus lament,
“Alas for Chārudatta! Woe the day!”
And pity-streaming eyes on me are bent.11

P. 258.12]

Headsmen. Come, Chārudatta, come! Here is the place of proclamation. Beat the drum and proclaim the sentence.

Listen, good people, listen! This is the noble Chārudatta, son of Sāgaradatta, and grandson of the merchant Vinayadatta. This malefactor enticed the courtezan Vasantasenā into the deserted old garden Pushpakaranda, and for a mere trifle murdered her by strangling. He was taken with the booty, and confessed his guilt. Therefore are we under orders from King Pālaka to execute him. And if any other commit such a crime, accursèd in this world and the next, him too King Pālaka condemns to the like punishment.

Chārudatta. [Despondently. Aside.]

By hundred sacrifices purified,
My radiant name
Was once proclaimed by countless altars’ side,
And knew no blame.
Now comes my hour of death, and evil men
Of baser fame
In public spots proclaim it once again,
But linked with shame.12

[He looks up and stops his ears.]

Vasantasenā! Oh, my belovèd!
From thy dear lips, that vied with coral’s red,
Betraying teeth more bright than moonbeams fair,
My soul with heaven’s nectar once was fed.
How can I, helpless, taste that poison dread,
To drink shame’s poisoned cup how can I bear?13

Headsmen.

Out of the way, gentlemen, out of the way!
This treasure-house, with pearls of virtue stored,
This bridge for good men o’er misfortune’s river,
This gem now robbed of all its golden hoard,
Departs our town to-day, departs forever.14

[159.15. S.

 

And again:

Whom fortune favors, find
That all the world is kind;
Whose happy days are ended,
Are rarely thus befriended.15

Chārudatta. [Looks about him.]

Their faces with their garments’ hem now hiding,
They stand afar, whom once I counted friends:
Even foes have smiles for men with Fortune biding:
But friends prove faithless when good fortune ends.16

Headsmen. They are out of the way. The street is cleared. Lead on the condemned criminal.

Chārudatta. [Sighing.]

My friend Maitreya! Oh, this cruel blow!
My wife, thou issue of a spotless strain!
My Rohasena! Here am I, laid low
By sternest fate; and thou, thou dost not know
That all thy childish games are played in vain.
Thou playest, heedless of another’s pain!(ix. 29)

Voices behind the scenes. My father! Oh, my friend!

Chārudatta. [Listens. Mournfully.] You are a leader in your own caste. I would beg a favor at your hands.

Headsmen. From our hands you would receive a favor?

Chārudatta. Heaven forbid! Yet a headsman is neither so wanton nor so cruel as King Pālaka. That I may be happy in the other world, I ask to see the face of my son.

Headsmen. So be it.

A voice behind the scenes. My father! oh, my father! [Chārudatta hears the words, and mournfully repeats his request.]

Headsmen. Citizens, make way a moment. Let the noble Chārudatta look upon the face of his son. [Turning to the back of the stage.] This way, sir! Come on, little boy!

P. 261.15]

[Enter Maitreya, with Rohasena.]

Maitreya. Make haste, my boy, make haste! Your father is being led to his death.

Rohasena. My father! oh, my father!

Maitreya. Oh, my friend! Where must I behold you now?

Chārudatta. [Perceives his son and his friend.] Alas, my son! Alas, Maitreya! [Mournfully.] Ah, woe is me!

Long, too long, shall I thirst in vain
Through all my sojourn dread;
This vessel small will not contain
The water for the dead.17

What may I give my son? [He looks at himself, and perceives the sacrificial cord.] Ah, this at least is mine.

The precious cord that Brahmans hold
Is unadorned with pearls and gold;
Yet, girt therewith, they sacrifice
To gods above and fathers[He gives Rohasena the cord.]Goha. Come, Chārudatta! Come, man!

Ahīnta. Man, do you name the noble Chārudatta’s name, and forget the title? Remember:

In happy hours, in death, by night, by day,
Roving as free as a yet unbroken colt,
Fate wanders on her unrestricted way.19

And again:

Life will depart his body soon;
Shall our reproaches bow his head?
Although eclipse may seize the moon,
We worship while it seems but dead.20

Rohasena. Oh, headsmen, where are you leading my father?

 

[161.10. S.

Chārudatta. My darling,

About my neck I needs must wear
The oleander-wreath;
Upon my shoulder I must bear
The stake, and in my heart the care
Of near-approaching death.
I go to-day to meet a dastard’s ending,
A victim, at the fatal altar bending.21

Goha. My boy,

Not we the headsmen are,
Though born of headsman race;
Thy father’s life who mar,
These, these are headsmen base.22

Rohasena. Then why do you murder my father?

Goha. Bless you, ‘t is the king’s orders must bear the blame, not we.

Rohasena. Kill me, and let father go free.

Goha. Bless you, may you live long for saying that!

Chārudatta. [Tearfully embracing his son.]

This treasure—love—this taste of heaven,
To rich and poor alike is given;
Than sandal better, or than balm,
To soothe the heart and give it calm.23
About my neck I needs must wear
The oleander-wreath,
Upon my shoulder I must bear
The stake, and in my heart the care
Of near-approaching death.
I go to-day to meet a dastard’s ending,
A victim, at the fatal altar bending.(21)

[He looks about. Aside.]

Their faces with their garments’ hem now hiding,
They stand afar, whom once I counted friends:
Even foes have smiles(16)

P. 264.7]

Maitreya. My good men, let my dear friend Chārudatta go free, and kill me instead.

Chārudatta. Heaven forbid! [He looks about. Aside.] Now I understand.

for men with Fortune biding;
But friends prove faithless when good fortune ends.(16)

[Aloud.]

These women, in their palaces who stay,
From half-shut windows peering, thus lament,
“Alas for Chārudatta! Woe the day!”
And pity-streaming eyes on me are bent.(11)

Goha.

Out of the way, gentlemen, out of the way!
Why gaze upon the good man so,
When shame his living hope lays low?
The cord was broken at the well,
And down the golden pitcher fell.24

Chārudatta. [Mournfully.]

From thy dear lips, that vied with coral’s red,
Betraying teeth more bright than moonbeams fair,
My soul with heaven’s nectar once was fed.
How can I, helpless, taste that poison dread,
To drink shame’s poisoned cup how can I bear?(13)

Ahīnta. Proclaim the sentence again, man.[Goha does so.]

Chārud.

So lowly fallen! till shame my virtues blur,
Till such an ending seem not loss, but gain!
Yet o’er my heart there creeps a saddening pain,
To hear them cry abroad “You murdered her!”25

[162.18. S.

[Enter Sthāvaraka, fettered, in the palace tower.]

Sthāvaraka. [After listening to the proclamation. In distress.] What! the innocent Chārudatta is being put to death? And my master has thrown me into chains! Well, I must shout to them.—Listen, good gentlemen, listen! It was I, wretch that I am, who carried Vasantasenā to the old garden Pushpakaranda, because she mistook my bullock-cart for another. And then my master, Sansthānaka, found that she would not love him, and it was he, not this gentleman, who murdered her by strangling.—But they are so far away that no one hears me. What shall I do? Shall I cast myself down? [He reflects.] If I do, then the noble Chārudatta will not be put to death. Yes, through this broken window I will throw myself down from the palace tower. Better that I should meet my end, than that the noble Chārudatta should perish, this tree of life for noble youths. And if I die in such a cause, I have attained heaven. [He throws himself down.] Wonderful! I did not meet my end, and my fetters are broken. So I will follow the sound of the headsmen’s voices. [He discovers the headsmen, and hastens forward.] Headsmen, headsmen, make way!

Headsmen. For whom shall we make way?

Sthāvaraka. Listen, good gentlemen, listen! It was I, wretch that I am, who carried Vasantasenā to the old garden Pushpakaranda, because she mistook my bullock-cart for another. And then my master, Sansthānaka, found that she would not love him, and it was he, not this gentleman, who murdered her by strangling.

Chārudatta. Thank heaven!

But who thus gladdens this my latest morn,
When in Time’s snare I struggle all forlorn,
A streaming cloud above the rainless corn?26

Listen! do you hear what I say?

Death have I never feared, but blackened fame;
My death were welcome, coming free from shame,
As were a son, new-born to bear my name.27

And again:

That small, weak fool, whom I have never hated,
Stained me with sin wherewith himself was mated,
An arrow, with most deadly poison baited.28

Headsmen. Are you telling the truth, Sthāvaraka?

P. 266.13]

Sthāvaraka. I am. And to keep me from telling anybody, he cast me into chains, and imprisoned me in the tower of his palace.


[Enter Sansthānaka.]

Sansthānaka. [Gleefully.]

I ate a shour and bitter dish
Of meat and herbs and shoup and fish;
I tried at home my tongue to tickle
With rice-cakes plain, and rice with treacle.29

[He listens.] The headsmen’s voices! They shound like a broken brass cymbal. I hear the music of the fatal drum and the kettle-drums, and sho I shuppose that that poor man, Chārudatta, is being led to the place of execution. I musht go and shee it. It is a great delight to shee my enemy die. Beshides, I ‘ve heard that a man who shees his enemy being killed, is sure not to have shore eyes in his next birth. I acted like a worm that had crept into the knot of a lotush-root. I looked for a hole to crawl out at, and brought about the death of thish poor man, Chārudatta. Now I ‘ll climb up the tower of my own palace, and have a look at my own heroic deeds. [He does so and looks about.] Wonderful what a crowd there is, to shee that poor man led to his death! What would it be when an arishtocrat, a big man like me, was being led to his death? [He gazes.] Look! There he goes toward the shouth, adorned like a young shteer. But why was the proclamation made near my palace tower, and why was it shtopped? [He looks about.] Why, my shlave Sthāvaraka is gone, too. I hope he has n’t run away and betrayed the shecret. I musht go and look for him. [He descends and approaches the crowd.]

Sthāvaraka. [Discovers him.] There he comes, good masters!

Headsmen.

Give way! Make room! And shut the door!
Be silent, and say nothing more!
Here comes a mad bull through the press,
Whose horns are sharp with wickedness.30

[164.16. S.

Sansthānaka. Come, come, make way! [He approaches.] Sthāvaraka, my little shon, my shlave, come, let ‘s go home.

Sthāvaraka. You scoundrel! Are you not content with the murder of Vasantasenā? Must you try now to murder the noble Chārudatta, that tree of life to all who loved him?

Sansthānaka. I am beautiful as a pot of jewels. I kill no woman!

Bystanders. Oho! you murdered her, not the noble Chārudatta.

Sansthānaka. Who shays that?

Bystanders. [Pointing to Sthāvaraka.] This honest man.

Sansthānaka. [Fearfully. Aside.] Merciful heavens! Why did n’t I chain that shlave Sthāvaraka fasht? Why, he was a witnessh of my crime. [He reflects.] I ‘ll do it thish way. [Aloud.] Lies, lies, good gentlemen. Why, I caught the shlave shtealing gold, and I pounded him, and murdered him, and put him in chains. He hates me. What he shays can’t be true. [He secretly hands Sthāvaraka a bracelet, and whispers.] Sthāvaraka, my little shon, my shlave, take thish and shay shomething different.

Sthāvaraka. [Takes it.] Look, gentlemen, look! Why, he is trying to bribe me with gold.

Sansthānaka. [Snatches the bracelet from him.] That ‘s the gold that I put him in chains for. [Angrily.] Look here, headsmen! I put him in charge of my gold-chest, and when he turned thief, I murdered him and pounded him. If you don’t believe it, jusht look at his back.

Headsmen. [Doing so.] Yes, yes. When a servant is branded that way, no wonder he tells tales.

Sthāvaraka. A curse on slavery! A slave convinces nobody. [Mournfully.] Noble Chārudatta, I have no further power. [He falls at Chārudatta’s feet.]

Chārudatta. [Mournfully.]

Rise, rise! Kind soul to good men fallen on pain!
Brave friend who lendest such unselfish aid!
Thy greatest toil to save me was in vain,
For fate would not. Thy duty now is paid.31

P. 270.15]

Headsmen. Beat your servant, master, and drive him away.

Sansthānaka. Out of the way, you! [He drives Sthāvaraka away.] Come, headsmen, what are you waiting for? Kill him.

Headsmen. Kill him yourself, if you are in a hurry.

Rohasena. Oh, headsmen, kill me and let father go free.

Sansthānaka. Yesh, shon and father, kill them both.

Chārudatta. This fool might do anything. Go, my son, to your mother.

Rohasena. And what should I do then?

Chārud.

Go with thy mother to a hermitage;
No moment, dear, delay;
Lest of thy father’s fault thou reap the wage,
And tread the selfsame way.32

And you, my friend, go with him.

Maitreya. Oh, my friend, have you so known me as to think that I can live without you?

Chārudatta. Not so, my friend. Your life is your own. You may not throw it away.

Maitreya. [Aside.] True. And yet I cannot live apart from my friend. And so, when I have taken the boy to his mother, I will follow my friend even in death. [Aloud.] Yes, my friend, I will take him to her at once. [He embraces Chārudatta, then falls at his feet. Rohasena does the same, weeping.]

Sansthānaka. Look here! Did n’t I tell you to kill Chārudatta, and his shon, too? [At this, Chārudatta betrays fear.]

Headsmen. We have n’t any orders from the king to kill Chārudatta, and his son, too. Run away, boy, run away! [They drive Rohasena away.] Here is the third place of proclamation. Beat the drum! [They proclaim the sentence again.]

[167.1. S.

Sansthānaka. [Aside.] But the citizens don’t believe it. [Aloud.] Chārudatta, you jackanapes, the citizens don’t believe it. Shay it with your own tongue, “I murdered Vasantasenā.” [Chārudatta remains silent.] Look here, headsmen! The man won’t shpeak, the jackanapes Chārudatta. Jusht make him shpeak. Beat him a few times with thish ragged bamboo, or with a chain.

Goha. [Raises his arm to strike.] Come, Chārudatta, speak!

Chārudatta. [Mournfully.]

Now am I sunk so deep in sorrow’s sea,
I know no fear, I know no sadness more;
Yet even now one flame still tortures me,
That men should say I slew whom I adore.33

[Sansthānaka repeats his words.]

Chārudatta. Men of my own city!

A scoundrel I, who bear the blame,
Nor seek in heaven to be blest;
A maid—or goddess—’t is the same—
But he will say the rest.(ix. 30)

Sansthānaka. Killed her!

Chārudatta. So be it.

Goha. It ‘s your turn to kill him, man.

Ahīnta. No, yours.

Goha. Well, let ‘s reckon it out. [He does so at great length.] Well, if it ‘s my turn to kill him, we will just let it wait a minute.

Ahīnta. Why?

Goha. Well, when my father was going to heaven, he said to me, “Son Goha, if it ‘s your turn to kill him, don’t kill the sinner too quick.”

Ahīnta. But why?

Goha. “Perhaps,” said he, “some good man might give the money to set him free. Perhaps a son might be born to the king, and to celebrate the event, all the prisoners might be set free. Perhaps an elephant might break loose, and the prisoner might escape in the excitement. Perhaps there might be a change of kings, and all the prisoners might be set free.”

P. 274.8]

Sansthānaka. What? What? A change of kings?

Goha. Well, let ‘s reckon it out, whose turn it is.

Sansthānaka. Oh, come! Kill Chārudatta at once. [He takes Sthāvaraka, and withdraws a little.]

Headsmen. Noble Chārudatta, it is the king’s commandment that bears the blame, not we headsmen. Think then of what you needs must think.

Chārudatta.

Though slandered by a cruel fate,
And stained by men of high estate,
If that my virtue yet regarded be,
Then she who dwells with gods above
Or wheresoever else—my love—
By her sweet nature wipe the stain from me!34

Tell me. Whither would you have me go?

Goha. [Pointing ahead.] Why, here is the southern burying-ground, and when a criminal sees that, he says good-by to life in a minute. For look!

One half the corpse gaunt jackals rend and shake,
And ply their horrid task;
One half still hangs impaled upon the stake,
Loud laughter’s grinning mask.35

Chārudatta. Alas! Ah, woe is me! [In his agitation he sits down.]

Sansthānaka. I won’t go yet. I ‘ll jusht shee Chārudatta killed. [He walks about, gazing.] Well, well! He shat down.

Goha. Are you frightened, Chārudatta?

Chārudatta. [Rising hastily.] Fool!

Death have I never feared, but blackened fame;
My death were welcome, coming free from shame,
As were a son, new-born to bear my name.(27)

[169.3. S.

Goha. Noble Chārudatta, the moon and the sun dwell in the vault of heaven, yet even they are overtaken by disaster. How much more, death-fearing creatures, and men! In this world, one rises only to fall, another falls only to rise again. But from him who has risen and falls, his body drops like a garment. Lay these thoughts to heart, and be strong. [To Ahīnta.] Here is the fourth place of proclamation. Let us proclaim the sentence. [They do so once again.]

Chārudatta.

Vasantasenā! Oh, my belovèd!
From thy dear lips, that vied with coral’s red,
Betraying teeth more bright than moonbeams fair,
My soul with heaven’s nectar once was fed.
How can I, helpless, taste that poison dread,
To drink shame’s poisoned cup how can I bear?(13)

[Enter, in great agitation, Vasantasenā and the Buddhist monk.]

Monk. Strange! My monkish life did me yeoman service when it proved necessary to comfort Vasantasenā, so untimely wearied, and to lead her on her way. Sister in Buddha, whither shall I lead you?

Vasantasenā. To the noble Chārudatta’s house. Revive me with the sight of him, as the night-blooming water-lily is revived by the sight of the moon.

Monk. [Aside.] By which road shall I enter? [He reflects.] The king’s highway—I ‘ll enter by that. Come, sister in Buddha! Here is the king’s highway. [Listening.] But what is this great tumult that I hear on the king’s highway?

Vasantasenā. [Looking before her.] Why, there is a great crowd of people before us. Pray find out, sir, what it means. All Ujjayinī tips to one side, as if the earth bore an uneven load.


Goha. And here is the last place of proclamation. Beat the drum! Proclaim the sentence! [They do so.] Now, Chārudatta, wait! Don’t be frightened. You will be killed very quickly.

P. 277.12]

Chārudatta. Ye blessèd gods!

Monk. [Listens. In terror.] Sister in Buddha, Chārudatta is being led to his death for murdering you.

Vasantasenā. [In terror.] Alas! For my wretched sake the noble Chārudatta put to death? Quick, quick! Oh, lead me thither!

Monk. Hasten, oh, hasten, sister in Buddha, to comfort the noble Chārudatta while he yet lives. Make way, gentlemen, make way!

Vasantasenā. Make way, make way!


Goha. Noble Chārudatta, it is the king’s commandment that bears the blame. Think then of what you needs must think.

Chārudatta. Why waste words?

Though slandered by a cruel fate,
And stained by men of high estate,
If that my virtue yet regarded be,
Then she who dwells with gods above
Or wheresoever else—my love—
By her sweet nature wipe the stain from me!(34)

Goha. [Drawing his sword.] Noble Chārudatta, lie flat and be quiet. With one stroke we will kill you and send you to heaven.

[Chārudatta does so. Goha raises his arm to strike. The sword falls from his hand.] What is this?

I fiercely grasped within my hand
My thunderbolt-appalling brand;
Why did it fall upon the sand?36

But since it did, I conclude that the noble Chārudatta is not to die. Have mercy, O mighty goddess of the Sahya hills! If only Chārudatta might be saved, then hadst thou shown favor to our headsman caste.

Ahīnta. Let us do as we were ordered.

Goha. Well, let us do it. [They make ready to impale Chārudatta.]

[170.23. S.

Chārud.

Though slandered by a cruel fate,
And stained by men of high estate,
If that my virtue yet regarded be,
Then she who dwells with gods above
Or wheresoever else—my love—
By her sweet nature wipe the stain from me!(34)

Monk and Vasantasenā. [Perceiving what is being done.] Good gentlemen! Hold, hold!

Vasantasenā. Good gentlemen! I am the wretch for whose sake he is put to death.

Goha. [Perceiving her.]

Who is the woman with the streaming hair
That smites her shoulder, loosened from its bands?
She loudly calls upon us to forbear,
And hastens hither with uplifted hands.37

Vasantasenā. Oh, Chārudatta! What does it mean? [She falls on his breast.]

Monk. Oh, Chārudatta! What does it mean? [He falls at his feet.]

Goha. [Anxiously withdrawing.] Vasantasenā?—At least, we did not kill an innocent man.

Monk. [Rising.] Thank heaven! Chārudatta lives.

Goha. And shall live a hundred years!

Vasantasenā. [Joyfully.] And I too am brought back to life again.

Goha. The king is at the place of sacrifice. Let us report to him what has taken place. [The two headsmen start to go away.]

Sansthānaka. [Perceives Vasantasenā. In terror.] Goodnessh! who brought the shlave back to life? Thish is the end of me. Good! I ‘ll run away.[He runs away.]

Goha. [Returning.] Well, did n’t we have orders from the king to put the man to death who murdered Vasantasenā? Let us hunt for the king’s brother-in-law.
[Exeunt the two headsmen.

 

P. 281.1]

Chārudatta. [In amazement.]

Who saves me from the uplifted weapon’s scorn,
When in Death’s jaws I struggled all forlorn,
A streaming cloud above the rainless corn?38

[He gazes at her.]

Is this Vasantasenā’s counterfeit?
Or she herself, from heaven above descended?
Or do I but in madness see my sweet?
Or has her precious life not yet been ended?39

Or again:

Did she return from heaven,
That I might rescued be?
Was her form to another given?
Is this that other she?40

Vasantasenā. [Rises tearfully and falls at his feet.] O noble Chārudatta, I am indeed the wretch for whose sake you are fallen upon this unworthy plight.

Voices behind the scenes. A miracle, a miracle! Vasantasenā lives. [The bystanders repeat the words.]

Chārudatta. [Listens, then rises suddenly, embraces Vasantasenā, and closes his eyes. In a voice trembling with emotion.] My love! You are Vasantasenā!

Vasantasenā. That same unhappy woman.

Chārudatta. [Gazes upon her. Joyfully.] Can it be? Vasantasenā herself? [In utter happiness.]

Her bosom bathed in streaming tears,
When in Death’s power I fell,
Whence is she come to slay my fears,
Like heavenly magic’s spell?41

Vasantasenā! Oh, my belovèd!

Unto my body, whence the life was fleeting,
And all for thee, thou knewest life to give.
Oh, magic wonderful in lovers’ meeting!
What power besides could make the dead man live?42

[172.17. S.

But see, my belovèd!

My blood-red garment seems a bridegroom’s cloak,
Death’s garland seems to me a bridal wreath;
My love is near.
And marriage music seems the fatal stroke
Of drums that heralded my instant death;
For she is here.43

Vasantasenā. You with your utter kindliness, what can it be that you have done?

Chārudatta. My belovèd, he said that I had killed you.

For ancient hatred’s sake, my mighty foe,
Hell’s victim now, had almost laid me low.44

Vasantasenā. [Stopping her ears.] Heaven avert the omen! It was he, the king’s brother-in-law, who killed me.

Chārudatta. [Perceiving the monk.] But who is this?

Vasantasenā. When that unworthy wretch had killed me, this worthy man brought me back to life.

Chārudatta. Who are you, unselfish friend?

Monk. You do not remember me, sir. I am that shampooer, who once was happy to rub your feet. When I fell into the hands of certain gamblers, this sister in Buddha, upon hearing that I had been your servant, bought my freedom with her jewels. Thereupon I grew tired of the gambler’s life, and became a Buddhist monk. Now this lady made a mistake in her bullock-cart, and so came to the old garden Pushpakaranda. But when that unworthy wretch learned that she would not love him, he murdered her by strangling. And I found her there.

P. 283.11]

Loud voices behind the scenes.

Unending victory to Shiva be,
Who Daksha’s offering foiled;
And victory may Kārttikeya see,
Who Krauncha smote and spoiled;
And victory to Aryaka the king—
His mighty foe he kills—
Far over all the earth’s expansive ring,
That earth her joyous flag abroad may fling,
The snowy banner of Kailāsa’s hills.45

[Enter hurriedly Sharvilaka.]

Sharv.

Yes, Pālaka, the royal wretch, I slew,
Anointing Aryaka good king and true;
And now, like sacrificial flowers, I wed
The king’s commandment to my bended head,
To give sad Chārudatta life anew.46
The foe whose powers and friends had fled, he slew,
Consoled and comforted his subjects true;
And earth’s broad sovereignty has gladly wed
His power, and bent to him her lowly head,
Who toward his foe plays Indra’s part anew.47

[He looks before him.] Ah! There he will be found, where the people are thus gathered together. Oh, that this deed of King Aryaka might be crowned with the rescued life of noble Chārudatta! [He quickens his steps.] Make way, you rascals! [He discovers Chārudatta. Joyfully.] Is Chārudatta yet living, and Vasantasenā? Truly, our sovereign’s wishes are fulfilled.

Now, thanks to heaven, from sorrow’s shoreless sea
I see him saved by her he loved, set free
By that sweet bark, that knew her course to steer
With virtue’s tackle and with goodness’ gear.
He seems the moon, whose light shines clear at last,
When all the sad eclipse is overpast.48

Yet how shall I approach him, who have so grievously sinned against him? But no! Honesty is always honorable. [He approaches and folds his hands. Aloud.] O noble Chārudatta!

Chārudatta. Who are you, sir?

[174.13. S.

Sharvilaka.

I forced your house in manner base,
And stole the gems there left behind;
But though this sin oppress my mind,
I throw myself upon your grace.49

Chārudatta. Not so, my friend. Thereby you showed your faith in me. [He embraces him.]

Sharvilaka. And one thing more:

The very noble Aryaka,
To save his family and name,
Has slain the wretched Pālaka,
A victim at the altar’s flame.50

Chārudatta. What say you?

Sharvilaka.

‘T was your cart helped him on his way,
Who sought the shelter of your name;
He slew King Pālaka to-day,
A victim at the altar’s flame.51

Chārudatta. Sharvilaka, did you set free that Aryaka, whom Pālaka took from his hamlet, and confined without cause in the tower?

Sharvilaka. I did.

Chārudatta. This is indeed most welcome tidings.

Sharvilaka. Scarcely was your friend Aryaka established in Ujjayinī, when he bestowed upon you the throne of Kushāvatī, on the bank of the Venā. May you graciously receive this first token of his love. [He turns around.] Come, lead hither that rascal, that villain, the brother-in-law of the king!

Voices behind the scenes. We will, Sharvilaka.

Sharvilaka. Sir, King Aryaka declares that he won this kingdom through your virtues, and that you are therefore to have some benefit from it.

Chārudatta. The kingdom won through my virtues?


Voices behind the scenes. Come on, brother-in-law of the king, and reap the reward of your insolence. [Enter Sansthānaka, guarded, with his hands tied behind his back.]

P. 285.18]

Sansthānaka. Goodnessh gracious!

It came to pass, I ran away
Like any ass, and had my day.
They drag me round, a prishoner,
As if they ‘d found a naughty cur.52

[He looks about him.] They crowd around me, though I ‘m a relative of the king’s. To whom shall I go for help in my helplesshnessh? [He reflects.] Good! I ‘ll go to the man who gives help and shows mercy to the shuppliant. [He approaches.] Noble Chārudatta, protect me, protect me! [He falls at his feet.]

Voices behind the scenes. Noble Chārudatta, leave him to us! let us kill him!

Sansthānaka. [To Chārudatta.] O helper of the helplessh, protect me!

Chārudatta. [Mercifully.] Yes, yes. He who seeks protection shall be safe.

Sharvilaka. [Impatiently.] Confound him! Take him away from Chārudatta! [To Chārudatta.] Tell me. What shall be done with the wretch?

Shall he be bound and dragged until he dies?
Shall dogs devour the scoundrel as he lies?
If he should be impaled, ‘t would be no blunder,
Nor if we had the rascal sawn asunder.53

Chārudatta. Will you do as I say?

Sharvilaka. How can you doubt it?

Sansthānaka. Chārudatta! Mashter! I sheek your protection. Protect me, protect me! Do shomething worthy of yourshelf. I ‘ll never do it again!

Voices of citizens behind the scenes. Kill him! Why should the wretch be allowed to live?

[176.8. S.

[Vasantasenā takes the garland of death from Chārudatta’s neck, and throws it upon Sansthānaka.]

Sansthānaka. You shlave-wench, be merciful, be merciful! I ‘ll never murder you again. Protect me!

Sharvilaka. Come, take him away! Noble Chārudatta, say what shall be done with the wretch.

Chārudatta. Will you do as I say?

Sharvilaka. How can you doubt it?

Chārudatta. Really?

Sharvilaka. Really.

Chārudatta. Then let him be immediately—

Sharvilaka. Killed?

Chārudatta. No, no! Set free.

Sharvilaka. What for?

Chārud.

The humbled foe who seeks thine aid,
Thou mayst not smite with steely blade—

Sharvilaka. All right. We will have the dogs eat him alive.

Chārudatta. No, no!

Be cruelty with kindness paid.54

Sharvilaka. Wonderful! What shall I do? Tell me, sir.

Chārudatta. Why, set him free.

Sharvilaka. It shall be done.

Sansthānaka. Hooray! I breathe again.[Exit, with the guards.

Sharvilaka. Mistress Vasantasenā, the king is pleased to bestow upon you the title “wedded wife.”

Vasantasenā. Sir, I desire no more.

Sharvilaka. upon Vasantasenā. To Chārudatta.] Sir, what shall be done for this monk?

Chārudatta. Monk, what do you most desire?

Monk. When I see this example of the uncertainty of all things, I am twice content to be a monk.

P. 292.16]

Chārudatta. His purpose is not to be changed, my friend. Let him be appointed spiritual father over all the monasteries in the land.

Sharvilaka. It shall be done.

Monk. It is all that I desire.

Vasantasenā. Now I am indeed brought back to life.

Sharvilaka. What shall be done for Sthāvaraka?

Chārudatta. Let the good fellow be given his freedom. Let those headsmen be appointed chiefs of all the headsmen. Let Chandanaka be appointed chief of all the police in the land. Let the brother-in-law of the king continue to act exactly as he acted in the past.

Sharvilaka. It shall be done. Only that man—leave him to me, and I ‘ll kill him.

Chārudatta.

He who seeks protection shall be safe.
The humbled foe who seeks thine aid,
Thou mayst not smite with steely blade.
Be cruelty with kindness paid.(54)

Sharvilaka. Then tell me what I may yet do for you.

Chārudatta. Can there be more than this?

I kept unstained my virtue’s even worth,
Granted my enemy his abject suit;
Friend Aryaka destroyed his foeman’s root,
And rules a king o’er all the steadfast earth.
This dear-loved maiden is at last mine own,
And you united with me as a friend.
And shall I ask for further mercies, shown
To me, who cannot sound these mercies’ end?58
Fate plays with us like buckets at the well,
Where one is filled, and one an empty shell,
Where one is rising, while another falls;
And shows how life is change—now heaven, now hell.59

Yet may the wishes of our epilogue be fulfilled.

EPILOGUE

[178.9. S.

May kine yield streaming milk, the earth her grain,
And may the heaven give never-failing rain,
The winds waft happiness to all that breathes,
And all that lives, live free from every pain.
In paths of righteousness may Brahmans tread,
And high esteem their high deserving wed;
May kings in justice’ ways be ever led,
And earth, submissive, bend her grateful head.60

[Exeunt omnes.]

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Development of Theatre 1: Classical - Neoclassical Forms by Teresa Focarile and Monica Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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