'T IS a story told by Kalidasa —
Hindoo poet — in melodious rhyme,
How with train of maidens, young Urvasi
Came to keep great Indra’s festal time.
’T was her part in worshipful confession
Of the god-name on that sacred day,
Walking flower-crowned in the long procession,
“I love Puru-shotta-ma” to say.
Pure as snow on Himalayan ranges,
Heaven-descended, soon to heaven withdrawn,
Fairer than the moon-flower of the Ganges,
Was Urvasi, Daughter of the Dawn.
But it happened that the gentle maiden
Loved one Puru-avas,—fateful name! —
And her heart, with its sweet secret laden,
Faltered when her time of utterance came.
“ I love” — then she stopped, and people wondered;
“ I love ”—she must guard her secret well;
Then from sweetest lips that ever blundered,
“I love Puru-avas” — trembling fell.
Ah, what terror seized on poor Urvasi!
Misty grew the violets of her eyes,
And her form bent like a broken daisy,
While around her rose the mocking cries.
But great Indra said, “ The maid shall marry
Him whose image in her faithful heart
She so near to that of God doth carry,
Scarce her lips can keep their names apart.”
Call it then not weakness or dissembling,
If, in striving the high name to reach,
Through our voices runs the tender trembling
Of an earthly name too dear for speech!
Ever dwells the lesser in the greater;
In God’s love the human: we by these
Know he holds Love’s simplest stammering sweeter
Than cold praise of wordy Pharisees.
Helen Barron Bostwick.