Urvashi -- English Translation

Rabindranath Tagore

Neither a mother nor a daughter
Nor even a wife in an earthly home
O fair Urvashi
You are a denizen of heaven!
Drawing a golden veil
When evening descends on the meadows
You do not light up a lamp
In the corner of a home
In the middle of a silent night
With a tremulous heart and bashful eyes
In shy halting steps you do not go
To the chamber of a groom
For your first union.
Like the light of dawn
You wear no veil
You are never coy
And hesitation you have none.
Like a flower in full bloom
Growing without any stem
When did you blossom on your own!
With a cup of honey in your right hand
And a cup of poison in your left
In the primeval spring you sprang
Out of the churning oceans
Whose waves like charmed snakes
Laid at your feet their thousand hoods
And the king of gods
Paid homage to your naked form
Blemishlessly white as a white flower.
Like a bud yet to break
Were you never a small child
O you Urvashi forever young!
Where did you spend your childhood days
Under the seas unseen
Playing with pearls and gems
And sleeping on a coral bed
The moment you rose above
You appeared fully grown
And in full bloom.
From the time without a beginning
To the whole world
You have been an object of desire
O fair Urvashi without compare!
Sages have offered at your feet
All the fruits of their meditation
By your insinuating glance
The world stirs up in youthful vigor
The winds like messengers blind
Carry your intoxicating scent
All around
Like greedy bees
Intoxicated by honey
The poets hum rhapsodic songs
Restless like lightning
Jingling your anklets
You glide past them all.
In the heavenly hall
When you dance in wild ecstasy
O you fleet-footed Urvashi!
In waves the oceans dance
In her waving cornfields
The earth expresses her thrills
In the skies
Like gems of your necklace
Pendant on your breast
The stars fall
The horizons are exposed bare
When you are careless with your dress
And from your waist
It suddenly slips.
Like the dawn
That dawns on heaven's eastern mounts
You have kept the world ever spellbound!
Your slim beautiful body
Is washed by world's tears
And your feet its blood beautifies
O you naked one with hair flowing free!
The lust of this world is a lotus
On it your feet you have lightly placed
In the universal mind
You are the playful partner of its dreams.
For you all the world wails
Do you hear
O you Urvashi deaf and cruel!
Will the time when you first appeared
Ever return
And you will rise again
>From the depths of shoreless seas
On a fresh morning
We will see your fresh form
And all your limbs will cry
>From wounds
Made by lustful glances of our eyes
And in breaking waves
The oceans will sing a song in your praise?
No, no, such a time will never return
O Urvashi
Like the setting sun
You are forever gone
Even the happiest moments of spring
Are now mixed with sighs
Of someone's eternal separation
In the full moon
When everything smiles
A sad tune like a long forgotten memory
Saddens our mind.
Yet a forlorn hope remains
In our cries and cravings for one
Who defies all bonds.

Last updated January 14, 2019