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download shakuntala kalidasa pdf

Kalidasa
Shakuntala
translated by
Arthur W. Ryder
In parentheses Publications
Sanskrit Series
Cambridge, Ontario 1999
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
King Dushyanta.
Bharata, nicknamed All-tamer, his son.
Madhavya, a clown, his companion.
His charioteer.
Raivataka, a door-keeper.
Bhadrasena, a general.
Karabhaka, a servant.
Parvatayana, a chamberlain.
Somarata, a chaplain.
Kanva, hermit-father.
Sharngarava, Sharadvata, Harita, his pupils.
Durvasas, an irascible sage.
The chief of police.
Suchaka, Januka, Policemen.
A fisherman.
Shakuntala, foster-child of Kanva.
Anusuya, Priyamvada, her friends.
Gautami, hermit-mother.
Kashyapa, father of the gods.
Aditi, mother of the gods.
Matali, charioteer of heavenÕs king.
Galava, a Pupil in heaven.
Mishrakeshi, a heavenly nymph.
Stage-director and actress (in the prologue), hermits and hermit-women, two
court poets, palace attendants, invisible fairies.
The first four acts pass in KanvaÕs forest hermitage; acts five and six
in the kingÕs palace; act seven on a heavenly mountain. The time is
perhaps seven years.
2
PROLOGUE
BENEDICTION UPON THE AUDIENCE
Eight forms has Shiva, lord of all and king:
And these are water, first created thing;
And fire, which speeds the sacrifice begun;
The priest; and timeÕs dividers, moon and sun;
The all-embracing ether, path of sound;
The earth, wherein all seeds of life are found;
And air, the breath of life: may he draw near,
Revealed in these, and bless those gathered here.
The stage-director. Enough of this! (Turning toward the dressing-room.)
Madam, if you are ready, pray come here.
(Enter an actress.)
Actress. Here I am, sir. What am I to do?
Director. Our audience is very discriminating, and we are to offer
them a new play, called Shakuntala and the ring of recognition, written by
the famous Kalidasa. Every member of the cast must be on his mettle.
Actress. Your arrangements are perfect. Nothing will go wrong.
Director (smiling). To tell the truth, madam,
Until the wise are satisfied,
I cannot feel that skill is shown;
The best-trained mind requires support,
And does not trust itself alone.
Actress. True. What shall we do first?
Director. First, you must sing something to please the ears of the
audience.
3
Actress. What season of the year shall I sing about?
Director. Why, sing about the pleasant summer which has just begun.
For at this time of year
A mid-day plunge will temper heat;
The breeze is rich with forest flowers.
To slumber in the shade is sweet;
And charming are the twilight hours.
Actress (sings).
The siris-blossoms fair,
With pollen laden,
Are plucked to deck her hair
By many a maiden,
But gently; flowers like these
Are kissed by eager bees.
Director. Well done! The whole theatre is captivated by your song,
and sits as if painted. What play shall we give them to keep their
good-will?
Actress. Why, you just told me we were to give a new play called
Shakuntala and the ring.
Director. Thank you for reminding me. For the moment I had quite
forgotten.
Your charming song had carried me away
As the deer enticed the hero of our play.
(Exeunt ambo.)
4
ACT I
THE HUNT
(Enter, in a chariot, pursuing a deer, King Dushyanta,
bow and arrow in hand; and a charioteer.)
Charioteer (looking at the king and the deer). Your Majesty,
I see you hunt the spotted deer
With shafts to end his race,
As though God Shiva should appear
In his immortal chase.
King. Charioteer, the deer has led us a long chase. And even now
His neck in beauty bends