The Little Clay Cart - Mrcchakatika
by (Attributed To) King Shudraka
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Volume Nine


Published by Harvard University


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A Hindu Drama








Published by Harvard University



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With the battle of the Sea of Japan another turning-point in the brief course of recorded human history has been reached. Whatever the outcome of the negotiations for peace, one thing is sure: for better, for worse, and whether we will or no, the West must know the East, and the East must know the West. With that knowledge will inevitably come an interchange of potent influences, of influences that will affect profoundly the religion and morals, the philosophy, the literature, the art, in short, all the elements that make up the civilizations of the two hemispheres. It is a part of the responsibility resting upon the molders and leaders of the thought and life of our time, and upon our Universities in particular, to see to it that these new forces, mighty for good or for evil, are directed aright.

The fruitfulness of those scions of Western civilization which the Japanese have grafted upon their own stock is to-day the admiration of the world. In our wonder, let us not forget that that stock is the growth of centuries, and that it is rooted in a soil of racial character informed by ethical ideals which we are wont to regard, with arrogant self-complacency, as exclusively proper to Christianity, but which were, in fact, inculcated twenty-four centuries ago through precept and example by Gotama the Enlightened, or, as the Hindus called him, Gotama the Buddha. It has often been said that India has never influenced the development of humanity as a whole. Be that as it may, it now seems no less probable than strange that she is yet destined to do so, on the one hand, indirectly, through the influence of Indian Buddhism upon Japan, and, on the other, directly, by the diffusion in the West of a knowledge of her sacred writings, especially those of Vedantism and Buddhism. To judge the East aright, we must know not only what she is, but also how she has become what she is; know, in short, some of the principal phases of her spiritual history as they are reflected in her ancient literature, especially that of India. To interpret to the West the thought of the East, to bring her best and noblest achievements to bear upon our life,—that is to-day the problem of Oriental philology.

The Harvard Oriental Series embodies an attempt to present to Western scholars, in trustworthy texts and translations, some of the greatest works of the Hindu literature and philosophy and religion, together with certain instruments, such as the Vedic Concordance or the History of the Beast-fable, for their critical study or elucidation. Some account of the volumes completed or in progress may be found at the end of this book. Dr. Ryder, passing by for the present the more momentous themes of religion and philosophy, has in this volume attempted to show what the Indian genius, in its strength and in its weakness, could do in the field of literature pure and simple. The timeliness of the Series as a whole is an eloquent tribute to the discernment of my loved and unforgotten pupil and friend, Henry Clarke Warren. In him were united not only the will and the ability to establish such a publication as this, but also the learning and insight which enabled him to forecast in a general way its possibilities of usefulness. He knew that the East had many a lesson to teach the West; but whether the lesson be repose of spirit or hygiene of the soldier in the field, whether it be the divine immanence or simplicity of life or the overcoming of evil with good, he knew that the first lesson to be taught us was the teachable habit of mind.

C. R. L.

June, 1905


The text chosen as the basis of this translation is that given in the edition of Parab,[1] and I have chosen it for the following reasons. Parab's edition is the most recent, and its editor is a most admirable Sanskrit scholar, who, it seems to me, has in several places understood the real meaning of the text better than his predecessors. This edition contains the comment of Prthvidhara; it is far freer from misprints than many texts printed in India, and, in respect to arrangement and typography, it is clear and convenient. Besides, it is easily obtainable and very cheap. This last consideration may prove to be of importance, if the present translation should be found helpful in the class-room. For the sake of cataloguers, I note that the proper transliteration of the Sanskrit names of this title according to the rules laid down by the American Library Association in its Journal for 1885, is as follows: Mrcchakatika; Cudraka; Prthvidhara; Kacinatha Panduranga Paraba; Nirnaya-Sagara.

The verse-numeration of each act follows the edition of Parab; fortunately, it is almost identical with the numeration in the editions of Godabole and Jivananda. For the convenience of those who may desire to consult this book in connection with Stenzler's edition, I have added references at the top of the page to that edition as well as to the edition of Parab. In these references, the letter P. stands for Parab, the letter S. for Stenzler.

There are a few passages in which I have deviated from Parab's text. A list of such passages is given on page 177. From this list I have omitted a few minor matters, such as slight misprints and what seem to me to be errors in the chaya; these matters, and the passages of unusual interest or difficulty, I shall treat in a series of notes on the play, which I hope soon to publish in the Journal of the American Oriental Society. It is hardly necessary to give reasons for the omission of the passage inserted by Nilakantha in the tenth act (Parab. 288.3-292.9). This passage is explicitly declared by tradition to be an interpolation by another hand, and it is clearly shown to be such by internal evidence. It will be noticed that the omission of this passage causes a break in the verse-numeration of the tenth act, where the verse-number 54 is followed by the number 58.

Of the books which have been useful to me in the present work, I desire to mention especially the editions of Stenzler, Godabole, Jivananda Vidyasagara, and Parab; the commentaries of Prthvidhara, Lalladiksita, and Jivananda; further, the translations of Wilson, Regnaud, and Boehtlingk.

A number of friends were kind enough to read my manuscript, and each contributed something. I wish to mention especially my friend and pupil, Mr. Walter E. Clark, of Harvard University, whose careful reading of both text and translation was fruitful of many good suggestions.

But by far my greatest personal indebtedness is to Professor Lanman, whose generous interest in my work has never flagged from the day when I began the study of Sanskrit under his guidance. He has criticized this translation with the utmost rigor; indeed, the pages are few which have not witnessed some improvement from his hand. It is to him also that I owe the accuracy and beauty which characterize the printed book: nothing has been hard enough to weary him, nothing small enough to escape him. And more than all else, I am grateful to him for the opportunity of publishing in the Harvard Oriental Series; for this series is that enterprise which, since the death of Professor Whitney, most honorably upholds in this country the standards of accurate scholarship set by the greatest of American Sanskritists.


Harvard University

May 23, 1905


[Footnote 1: The Mrichchhakatika of Sudraka with the commentary of Prthvidhara. Edited by Kashinath Pandurang Parab. Bombay: Nirnaya-Sagar Press. 1900. Price 1 Rupee. It may be had of O. Harrassowitz in Leipzig for 2-1/2 Marks.]



Concerning the life, the date, and the very identity[2] of King Shudraka, the reputed author of The Little Clay Cart, we are curiously ignorant. No other work is ascribed to him, and we have no direct information about him, beyond the somewhat fanciful statements of the Prologue to this play. There are, to be sure, many tales which cluster about the name of King Shudraka, but none of them represents him as an author. Yet our very lack of information may prove, to some extent at least, a disguised blessing. For our ignorance of external fact compels a closer study of the text, if we would find out what manner of man it was who wrote the play. And the case of King Shudraka is by no means unique in India; in regard to every great Sanskrit writer,—so bare is Sanskrit literature of biography,—we are forced to concentrate attention on the man as he reveals himself in his works. First, however, it may be worth while to compare Shudraka with two other great dramatists of India, and thus to discover, if we may, in what ways he excels them or is excelled by them.

Kalidasa, Shudraka, Bhavabhuti—assuredly, these are the greatest names in the history of the Indian drama. So different are these men, and so great, that it is not possible to assert for any one of them such supremacy as Shakspere holds in the English drama. It is true that Kalidasa's dramatic masterpiece, the Shakuntala, is the most widely known of the Indian plays. It is true that the tender and elegant Kalidasa has been called, with a not wholly fortunate enthusiasm, the "Shakspere of India." But this rather exclusive admiration of the Shakuntala results from lack of information about the other great Indian dramas. Indeed, it is partly due to the accident that only the Shakuntala became known in translation at a time when romantic Europe was in full sympathy with the literature of India.

Bhavabhuti, too, is far less widely known than Kalidasa; and for this the reason is deeper-seated. The austerity of Bhavabhuti's style, his lack of humor, his insistent grandeur, are qualities which prevent his being a truly popular poet. With reference to Kalidasa, he holds a position such as Aeschylus holds with reference to Euripides. He will always seem to minds that sympathize with his grandeur[3] the greatest of Indian poets; while by other equally discerning minds of another order he will be admired, but not passionately loved.

Yet however great the difference between Kalidasa, "the grace of poetry,"[4] and Bhavabhuti, "the master of eloquence,"[5] these two authors are far more intimately allied in spirit than is either of them with the author of The Little Clay Cart. Kalidasa and Bhavabhuti are Hindus of the Hindus; the Shakuntala and the Latter Acts of Rama could have been written nowhere save in India: but Shudraka, alone in the long line of Indian dramatists, has a cosmopolitan character. Shakuntala is a Hindu maid, Madhava is a Hindu hero; but Sansthanaka and Maitreya and Madanika are citizens of the world. In some of the more striking characteristics of Sanskrit literature—in its fondness for system, its elaboration of style, its love of epigram—Kalidasa and Bhavabhuti are far truer to their native land than is Shudraka. In Shudraka we find few of those splendid phrases in which, as the Chinese[6] say, "it is only the words which stop, the sense goes on,"—phrases like Kalidasa's[7] "there are doors of the inevitable everywhere," or Bhavabhuti's[8] "for causeless love there is no remedy." As regards the predominance of swift-moving action over the poetical expression of great truths, The Little Clay Cart stands related to the Latter Acts of Rama as Macbeth does to Hamlet. Again, Shudraka's style is simple and direct, a rare quality in a Hindu; and although this style, in the passages of higher emotion, is of an exquisite simplicity, yet Shudraka cannot infuse into mere language the charm which we find in Kalidasa or the majesty which we find in Bhavabhuti.

Yet Shudraka's limitations in regard to stylistic power are not without their compensation. For love of style slowly strangled originality and enterprise in Indian poets, and ultimately proved the death of Sanskrit literature. Now just at this point, where other Hindu writers are weak, Shudraka stands forth preeminent. Nowhere else in the hundreds of Sanskrit dramas do we find such variety, and such drawing of character, as in The Little Clay Cart; and nowhere else, in the drama at least, is there such humor. Let us consider, a little more in detail, these three characteristics of our author; his variety, his skill in the drawing of character, his humor.

To gain a rough idea of Shudraka's variety, we have only to recall the names of the acts of the play. Here The Shampooer who Gambled and The Hole in the Wall are shortly followed by The Storm; and The Swapping of the Bullock-carts is closely succeeded by The Strangling of Vasantasena. From farce to tragedy, from satire to pathos, runs the story, with a breadth truly Shaksperian. Here we have philosophy:

The lack of money is the root of all evil. (i. 14)

And pathos:

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. (x. 3)

And nature description:

But mistress, do not scold the lightning. She is your friend, This golden cord that trembles on the breast Of great Airavata; upon the crest Of rocky hills this banner all ablaze; This lamp tn Indra's palace; but most blest As telling where your most beloved stays. (v. 33)

And genuine bitterness:

Pride and tricks and lies and fraud Are in your face; False playground of the lustful god, Such is your face; The wench's stock in trade, in fine, Epitome of joys divine, I mean your face— For sale! the price is courtesy. I trust you'll find a man to buy Your face. (v. 36)

It is natural that Shudraka should choose for the expression of matters so diverse that type of drama which gives the greatest scope to the author's creative power. This type is the so-called "drama of invention,"[9] a category curiously subordinated in India to the heroic drama, the plot of which is drawn from history or mythology. Indeed, The Little Clay Cart is the only extant drama which fulfils the spirit of the drama of invention, as defined by the Sanskrit canons of dramaturgy. The plot of the "Malati and Madhava," or of the "Mallika and Maruta," is in no true sense the invention of the author; and The Little Clay Cart is the only drama of invention which is "full of rascals."[10]

But a spirit so powerful as that of King Shudraka could not be confined within the strait-jacket of the minute, and sometimes puerile, rules of the technical works. In the very title of the drama, he has disregarded the rule[11] that the name of a drama of invention should be formed by compounding the names of heroine and hero.[12] Again, the books prescribe[13] that the hero shall appear in every act; yet Charudatta does not appear in acts ii., iv., vi., and viii. And further, various characters, Vasantasena, Maitreya, the courtier, and others, have vastly gained because they do not conform too closely to the technical definitions.

The characters of The Little Clay Cart are living men and women. Even when the type makes no strong appeal to Western minds, as in the case of Charudatta, the character lives, in a sense in which Dushyanta[14] or even Rama[15] can hardly be said to live. Shudraka's men are better individualized than his women; this fact alone differentiates him sharply from other Indian dramatists. He draws on every class of society, from the high-souled Brahman to the executioner and the housemaid.

His greatest character is unquestionably Sansthanaka, this combination of ignorant conceit, brutal lust, and cunning, this greater than Cloten, who, after strangling an innocent woman, can say:[16] "Oh, come! Let's go and play in the pond." Most attractive characters are the five[17] conspirators, men whose home is "east of Suez and the ten commandments." They live from hand to mouth, ready at any moment to steal a gem-casket or to take part in a revolution, and preserving through it all their character as gentlemen and their irresistible conceit. And side by side with them moves the hero Charudatta, the Buddhist beau-ideal of manhood,

A tree of life to them whose sorrows grow, Beneath its fruit of virtue bending low. (i. 48)

To him, life itself is not dear, but only honor.[18] He values wealth only as it supplies him with the means of serving others. We may, with some justice, compare him with Antonio in The Merchant of Venice. There is some inconsistency, from our point of view, in making such a character the hero of a love-drama; and indeed, it is Vasantasena who does most of the love-making.[19]

Vasantasena is a character with neither the girlish charm of Shakuntala[20] nor the mature womanly dignity of Sita.[21] She is more admirable than lovable. Witty and wise she is, and in her love as true as steel; this too, in a social position which makes such constancy difficult. Yet she cannot be called a great character; she does not seem so true to life as her clever maid, Madanika. In making the heroine of his play a courtezan, Shudraka follows a suggestion of the technical works on the drama; he does not thereby cast any imputation of ill on Vasantasena's character. The courtezan class in India corresponded roughly to the hetaerae of ancient Greece or the geishas of Japan; it was possible to be a courtezan and retain one's self-respect. Yet the inherited[22] way of life proves distasteful to Vasantasena; her one desire is to escape its limitations and its dangers by becoming a legal wife.[23]

In Maitreya, the Vidushaka, we find an instance of our author's masterly skill in giving life to the dry bones of a rhetorical definition. The Vidushaka is a stock character who has something in common with a jester; and in Maitreya the essential traits of the character—eagerness for good food and other creature comforts, and blundering devotion to his friend—are retained, to be sure, but clarified and elevated by his quaint humor and his readiness to follow Charudatta even in death. The grosser traits of the typical Vidushaka are lacking. Maitreya is neither a glutton nor a fool, but a simple-minded, whole-hearted friend.

The courtier is another character suggested by the technical works, and transformed by the genius of Shudraka. He is a man not only of education and social refinement, but also of real nobility of nature. But he is in a false position from the first, this true gentleman at the wretched court of King Palaka; at last he finds the courage to break away, and risks life, and all that makes life attractive, by backing Aryaka. Of all the conspirators, it is he who runs the greatest risk. To his protection of Vasantasena is added a touch of infinite pathos when we remember that he was himself in love with her.[24] Only when Vasantasena leaves him[25] without a thought, to enter Charudatta's house, does he realize how much he loves her; then, indeed, he breaks forth in words of the most passionate jealousy. We need not linger over the other characters, except to observe that each has his marked individuality, and that each helps to make vivid this picture of a society that seems at first so remote.

Shudraka's humor is the third of his vitally distinguishing qualities. This humor has an American flavor, both in its puns and in its situations. The plays on words can seldom be adequately reproduced in translation, but the situations are independent of language. And Shudraka's humor runs the whole gamut, from grim to farcical, from satirical to quaint. Its variety and keenness are such that King Shudraka need not fear a comparison with the greatest of Occidental writers of comedies.

It remains to say a word about the construction of the play. Obviously, it is too long. More than this, the main action halts through acts ii. to v., and during these episodic acts we almost forget that the main plot concerns the love of Vasantasena and Charudatta. Indeed, we have in The Little Clay Cart the material for two plays. The larger part of act i. forms with acts vi. to x. a consistent and ingenious plot; while the remainder of act i. might be combined with acts iii. to v. to make a pleasing comedy of lighter tone. The second act, clever as it is, has little real connection either with the main plot or with the story of the gems. The breadth of treatment which is observable in this play is found in many other specimens of the Sanskrit drama, which has set itself an ideal different from that of our own drama. The lack of dramatic unity and consistency is often compensated, indeed, by lyrical beauty and charms of style; but it suggests the question whether we might not more justly speak of the Sanskrit plays as dramatic poems than as dramas. In The Little Clay Cart, at any rate, we could ill afford to spare a single scene, even though the very richness and variety of the play remove it from the class of the world's greatest dramas.


The following translation is sufficiently different from previous translations of Indian plays to require a word of explanation. The difference consists chiefly in the manner in which I have endeavored to preserve the form of the original. The Indian plays are written in mingled prose and verse; and the verse portion forms so large a part of the whole that the manner in which it is rendered is of much importance. Now this verse is not analogous to the iambic trimeter of Sophocles or the blank verse of Shakspere, but roughly corresponds to the Greek choruses or the occasional rhymed songs of the Elizabethan stage. In other words, the verse portion of a Sanskrit drama is not narrative; it is sometimes descriptive, but more commonly lyrical: each stanza sums up the emotional impression which the preceding action or dialogue has made upon one of the actors. Such matter is in English cast into the form of the rhymed stanza; and so, although rhymed verse is very rarely employed in classical Sanskrit, it seems the most appropriate vehicle for the translation of the stanzas of a Sanskrit drama. It is true that we occasionally find stanzas which might fitly be rendered in English blank verse, and, more frequently, stanzas which are so prosaic as not to deserve a rendering in English verse at all.[26] But, as the present translation may be regarded as in some sort an experiment, I have preferred to hold rigidly to the distinction found in the original between simple prose and types of stanza which seem to me to correspond to English rhymed verse.

It is obvious that a translation into verse, and especially into rhymed verse, cannot be as literal as a translation into prose; this disadvantage I have used my best pains to minimize. I hope it may be said that nothing of real moment has been omitted from the verses; and where lack of metrical skill has compelled expansion, I have striven to make the additions as insignificant as possible.

There is another point, however, in which it is hardly feasible to imitate the original; this is the difference in the dialects used by the various characters. In The Little Clay Cart, as in other Indian dramas, some of the characters speak Sanskrit, others Prakrit. Now Prakrit is the generic name for a number of dialects derived from the Sanskrit and closely akin to it. The inferior personages of an Indian play, and, with rare exceptions, all the women, speak one or another of these Prakrits. Of the thirty characters of this play, for example, only five (Charudatta, the courtier, Aryaka, Sharvilaka, and the judge) speak Sanskrit;[27] the others speak various Prakrit dialects. Only in the case of Sansthanaka have I made a rude attempt to suggest the dialect by substituting sh for s as he does. And the grandiloquence of Sharvilaka's Sanskrit in the satirical portion of the third act I have endeavored to imitate.

Whenever the language of the original is at all technical, the translator labors under peculiar difficulty. Thus the legal terms found in the ninth act are inadequately rendered, and, to some extent at least, inevitably so; for the legal forms, or lack of forms, pictured there were never contemplated by the makers of the English legal vocabulary. It may be added here that in rendering from a literature so artificial as the Sanskrit, one must lose not only the sensuous beauty of the verse, but also many plays on words.

In regard to the not infrequent repetitions found in the text, I have used my best judgment. Such repetitions have been given in full where it seemed to me that the force or unity of the passage gained by such treatment, or where the original repeats in full, as in the case of v. 7, which is identical with iii. 29. Elsewhere, I have merely indicated the repetition after the manner of the original.

The reader will notice that there was little effort to attain realism in the presentation of an Indian play. He need not be surprised therefore to find (page 145) that Viraka leaves the court-room, mounts a horse, rides to the suburbs, makes an investigation and returns—all within the limits of a stage-direction. The simplicity of presentation also makes possible sudden shifts of scene. In the first act, for example, there are six scenes, which take place alternately in Charudatta's house and in the street outside. In those cases where a character enters "seated" or "asleep," I have substituted the verb "appear" for the verb "enter"; yet I am not sure that this concession to realism is wise.

The system of transliteration which I have adopted is intended to render the pronunciation of proper names as simple as may be to the English reader. The consonants are to be pronounced as in English,[28] the vowels as in Italian. Diacritical marks have been avoided, with the exception of the macron. This sign has been used consistently[29] to mark long vowels except e and o, which are always long. Three rules suffice for the placing of the accent. A long penult is accented: Maitreya, Charudatta. If the penult is short, the antepenult is accented provided it be long: Sansthanaka. If both penult and antepenult of a four-syllabled word are short, the pre-antepenultimate receives the accent: Madanika, Sthavaraka.


ACT I., entitled The Gems are left Behind. Evening of the first day.—After the prologue, Charudatta, who is within his house, converses with his friend Maitreya, and deplores his poverty. While they are speaking, Vasantasena appears in the street outside. She is pursued by the courtier and Sansthanaka; the latter makes her degrading offers of his love, which she indignantly rejects. Charudatta sends Maitreya from the house to offer sacrifice, and through the open door Vasantasena slips unobserved into the house. Maitreya returns after an altercation with Sansthanaka, and recognizes Vasantasena. Vasantasena leaves a casket of gems in the house for safe keeping and returns to her home.

ACT II., entitled The Shampooer who Gambled. Second day.—The act opens in Vasantasena's house. Vasantasena confesses to her maid Madanika her love for Charudatta. Then a shampooer appears in the street, pursued by the gambling-master and a gambler, who demand of him ten gold-pieces which he has lost in the gambling-house. At this point Darduraka enters, and engages the gambling-master and the gambler in an angry discussion, during which the shampooer escapes into Vasantasena's house. When Vasantasena learns that the shampooer had once served Charudatta, she pays his debt; the grateful shampooer resolves to turn monk. As he leaves the house he is attacked by a runaway elephant, and saved by Karnapuraka, a servant of Vasantasena.

ACT III., entitled The Hole in the Wall. The night following the second day.—Charudatta and Maitreya return home after midnight from a concert, and go to sleep. Maitreya has in his hand the gem-casket which Vasantasena has left behind. Sharvilaka enters. He is in love with Madanika, a maid of Vasantasena's, and is resolved to acquire by theft the means of buying her freedom. He makes a hole in the wall of the house, enters, and steals the casket of gems which Vasantasena had left. Charudatta wakes to find casket and thief gone. His wife gives him her pearl necklace with which to make restitution.

ACT IV., entitled Madanika and Sharvilaka. Third day.—Sharvilaka comes to Vasantasena's house to buy Madanika's freedom. Vasantasena overhears the facts concerning the theft of her gem-casket from Charudatta's house, but accepts the casket, and gives Madanika her freedom. As Sharvilaka leaves the house, he hears that his friend Aryaka, who had been imprisoned by the king, has escaped and is being pursued. Sharvilaka departs to help him. Maitreya comes from Charudatta with the pearl necklace, to repay Vasantasena for the gem-casket. She accepts the necklace also, as giving her an excuse for a visit to Charudatta.

ACT V., entitled The Storm. Evening of the third day.—Charudatta appears in the garden of his house. Here he receives a servant of Vasantasena, who announces that Vasantasena is on her way to visit him. Vasantasena then appears in the street with the courtier; the two describe alternately the violence and beauty of the storm which has suddenly arisen. Vasantasena dismisses the courtier, enters the garden, and explains to Charudatta how she has again come into possession of the gem-casket. Meanwhile, the storm has so increased in violence that she is compelled to spend the night at Charudatta's house.

ACT VI., entitled The Swapping of the Bullock-carts. Morning of the fourth day.—Here she meets Charudatta's little son, Rohasena. The boy is peevish because he can now have only a little clay cart to play with, instead of finer toys. Vasantasena gives him her gems to buy a toy cart of gold. Charudatta's servant drives up to take Vasantasena in Charudatta's bullock-cart to the park, where she is to meet Charudatta; but while Vasantasena is making ready, he drives away to get a cushion. Then Sansthanaka's servant drives up with his master's cart, which Vasantasena enters by mistake. Soon after, Charudatta's servant returns with his cart. Then the escaped prisoner Aryaka appears and enters Charudatta's cart. Two policemen come on the scene; they are searching for Aryaka. One of them looks into the cart and discovers Aryaka, but agrees to protect him. This he does by deceiving and finally maltreating his companion.

ACT VII., entitled Aryaka's Escape. Fourth day.—Charudatta is awaiting Vasantasena in the park. His cart, in which Aryaka lies hidden, appears. Charudatta discovers the fugitive, removes his fetters, lends him the cart, and leaves the park.

ACT VIII., entitled The Strangling of Vasantasena. Fourth day.—A Buddhist monk, the shampooer of the second act, enters the park. He has difficulty in escaping from Sansthanaka, who appears with the courtier. Sansthanaka's servant drives in with the cart which Vasantasena had entered by mistake. She is discovered by Sansthanaka, who pursues her with insulting offers of love. When she repulses him, Sansthanaka gets rid of all witnesses, strangles her, and leaves her for dead. The Buddhist monk enters again, revives Vasantasena, and conducts her to a monastery.

ACT IX., entitled The Trial. Fifth day.—Sansthanaka accuses Charudatta of murdering Vasantasena for her money. In the course of the trial, it appears that Vasantasena had spent the night of the storm at Charudatta's house; that she had left the house the next morning to meet Charudatta in the park; that there had been a struggle in the park, which apparently ended in the murder of a woman. Charudatta's friend, Maitreya, enters with the gems which Vasantasena had left to buy Charudatta's son a toy cart of gold. These gems fall to the floor during a scuffle between Maitreya and Sansthanaka. In view of Charudatta's poverty, this seems to establish the motive for the crime, and Charudatta is condemned to death.

ACT X., entitled The End. Sixth day.—Two headsmen are conducting Charudatta to the place of execution. Charudatta takes his last leave of his son and his friend Maitreya. But Sansthanaka's servant escapes from confinement and betrays the truth; yet he is not believed, owing to the cunning displayed by his master. The headsmen are preparing to execute Charudatta, when Vasantasena herself appears upon the scene, accompanied by the Buddhist monk. Her appearance puts a summary end to the proceedings. Then news is brought that Aryaka has killed and supplanted the former king, that he wishes to reward Charudatta, and that he has by royal edict freed Vasantasena from the necessity of living as a courtezan. Sansthanaka is brought before Charudatta for sentence, but is pardoned by the man whom he had so grievously injured. The play ends with the usual Epilogue.


[Footnote 2: For an illuminating discussion of these matters, the reader is referred to Sylvain Levi's admirable work, Le Theatre Indien, Paris, 1890, pages 196-211.]

[Footnote 3: In his Malatimadhava, i. 8, he says: "Whoever they may be who now proclaim their contempt for me,—they know something, but this work was not for them. Yet there will arise a man of nature like mine own; for time is endless, and the world is wide." This seems prophetic of John Milton.]

[Footnote 4: Prasannaraghava, i. 22.]

[Footnote 5: Mahaviracarita, i. 4.]

[Footnote 6: History of Chinese Literature, by H. A. Giles, pages 145-146.]

[Footnote 7: Shakuntala, i. 15.]

[Footnote 8: Latter Acts of Rama, v. 17.]

[Footnote 9: Prakarana.]

[Footnote 10: Dhurtasamkula: Dacarupa, iii. 38.]

[Footnote 11: Sahityadarpana, 428.]

[Footnote 12: As in Malati-madhava.]

[Footnote 13: Dacarupa, iii. 33.]

[Footnote 14: In Kalidasa's Shakuntala.]

[Footnote 15: In Bhavabhuti's Latter Acts of Rama.]

[Footnote 16: See page 128.]

[Footnote 17: Aryaka, Darduraka, Chandanaka, Sharvilaka, and the courtier.]

[Footnote 18: See x. 27.]

[Footnote 19: See v. 46 and the following stage-direction.]

[Footnote 20: In Kalidasa's play of that name.]

[Footnote 21: In Bhavabhuti's Latter Acts of Rama.]

[Footnote 22: See viii. 43.]

[Footnote 23: See pages 65-66 and page 174.]

[Footnote 24: See viii. 38 and compare the words, "Yet love bids me prattle," on page 86.]

[Footnote 25: Page 87.]

[Footnote 26: Stanzas of the latter sort in The Little Clay Cart are vii. 2 and viii. 5.]

[Footnote 27: This statement requires a slight limitation; compare, for example, the footnote to page 82.]

[Footnote 28: But the combination th should be pronounced as in ant-hill, not as in thin or this; similarly dh as in mad-house; bh as in abhor.]

[Footnote 29: Except in the names Aryaka and Ahinta, where typographical considerations have led to the omission of the macron over the initial letter; and except also in head-lines.]


CHARUDATTA, a Brahman merchant

ROHASENA, his son

MAITREYA, his friend

VARDHAMANAKA, a servant in his house

SANSTHANAKA, brother-in-law of King PALAKA

STHAVARAKA, his servant

Another Servant of SANSTHANAKA

A Courtier

ARYAKA, a herdsman who becomes king

SHARVILAKA, a Brahman, in love with MADANIKA

A Shampooer, who becomes a Buddhist monk

MATHURA, a gambling-master

DARDURAKA, a gambler

Another Gambler



GOHA } AHINTA } headsmen

Bastard pages, in VASANTASENA'S house

A Judge, a Gild-warden, a Clerk, and a Beadle

VASANTASENA, a courtezan

Her Mother


Another Maid to VASANTASENA


RADANIKA, a maid in CHARUDATTA'S house


UJJAYINI (called also AVANTI) and its Environs



Benediction upon the audience

His bended knees the knotted girdle holds, Fashioned by doubling of a serpent's folds; His sensive organs, so he checks his breath, Are numbed, till consciousness seems sunk in death; Within himself, with eye of truth, he sees The All-soul, free from all activities. May His, may Shiva's meditation be Your strong defense; on the Great Self thinks he, Knowing full well the world's vacuity. 1

And again:

May Shiva's neck shield you from every harm, That seems a threatening thunder-cloud, whereon, Bright as the lightning-flash, lies Gauri's arm. 2

Stage-director. Enough of this tedious work, which fritters away the interest of the audience! Let me then most reverently salute the honorable gentlemen, and announce our intention to produce a drama called "The Little Clay Cart." Its author was a man

Who vied with elephants in lordly grace; Whose eyes were those of the chakora bird That feeds on moonbeams; glorious his face As the full moon; his person, all have heard, Was altogether lovely. First in worth Among the twice-born was this poet, known As Shudraka far over all the earth, His virtue's depth unfathomed and alone. 3

[1.14. S.

And again:

The Samaveda, the Rigveda too, The science mathematical, he knew; The arts wherein fair courtezans excel, And all the lore of elephants as well. Through Shiva's grace, his eye was never dim; He saw his son a king in place of him. The difficult horse-sacrifice he tried Successfully; entered the fiery tide, One hundred years and ten days old, and died. 4

And yet again:

Eager for battle; sloth's determined foe; Of scholars chief, who to the Veda cling; Rich in the riches that ascetics know; Glad, gainst the foeman's elephant to show His valor;—such was Shudraka, the king. 5

And in this work of his,

Within the town, Avanti named, Dwells one called Charudatta, famed No less for youth than poverty; A merchant's son and Brahman, he.

His virtues have the power to move Vasantasena's inmost love; Fair as the springtime's radiancy, And yet a courtezan is she. 6

So here king Shudraka the tale imparts Of love's pure festival in these two hearts, Of prudent acts, a lawsuit's wrong and hate, A rascal's nature, and the course of fate. 7

[He walks about and looks around him.] Why, this music-room of ours is empty. I wonder where the actors have gone. [Reflecting.] Ah, I understand.

P. 4.7]

Empty his house, to whom no child was born; Thrice empty his, who lacks true friends and sure; To fools, the world is empty and forlorn; But all that is, is empty to the poor. 8

I have finished the concert. And I've been practising so long that the pupils of my eyes are dancing, and I'm so hungry that my eyes are crackling like a lotus-seed, dried up by the fiercest rays of the summer sun. I'll just call my wife and ask whether there is anything for breakfast or not.

Hello! here I am—but no! Both the particular occasion and the general custom demand that I speak Prakrit. [Speaking in Prakrit.] Confound it! I've been practising so long and I'm so hungry that my limbs are as weak as dried-up lotus-stalks. Suppose I go home and see whether my good wife has got anything ready or not. [He walks about and looks around him.] Here I am at home. I'll just go in. [He enters and looks about.] Merciful heavens! Why in the world is everything in our house turned upside down? A long stream of rice-water is flowing down the street. The ground, spotted black where the iron kettle has been rubbed clean, is as lovely as a girl with the beauty-marks of black cosmetic on her face. It smells so good that my hunger seems to blaze up and hurts me more than ever. Has some hidden treasure come to light? or am I hungry enough to think the whole world is made of rice? There surely isn't any breakfast in our house, and I'm starved to death. But everything seems topsyturvy here. One girl is preparing cosmetics, another is weaving garlands of flowers. [Reflecting.] What does it all mean? Well, I'll call my good wife and learn the truth. [He looks toward the dressing-room.] Mistress, will you come here a moment?

[Enter an actress.]

Actress. Here I am, sir.

Director. You are very welcome, mistress.

Actress. Command me, sir. What am I to do?

[3.8. S.

Director. Mistress, I've been practising so long and I'm so hungry that my limbs are as weak as dried-up lotus-stalks. Is there anything to eat in the house or not?

Actress. There's everything, sir.

Director. Well, what?

Actress. For instance—there's rice with sugar, melted butter, curdled milk, rice; and, all together, it makes you a dish fit for heaven. May the gods always be thus gracious to you!

Director. All that in our house? or are you joking?

Actress. [Aside.] Yes, I will have my joke. [Aloud.] It's in the market-place, sir.

Director. [Angrily.] You wretched woman, thus shall your own hope be cut off! And death shall find you out! For my expectations, like a scaffolding, have been raised so high, only to fall again.

Actress. Forgive me, sir, forgive me! It was only a joke.

Director. But what do these unusual preparations mean? One girl is preparing cosmetics, another is weaving garlands, and the very ground is adorned with sacrificial flowers of five different colors.

Actress. This is a fast day, sir.

Director. What fast?

Actress. The fast for a handsome husband.

Director. In this world, mistress, or the next?

Actress. In the next world, sir.

Director. [Wrathfully.] Gentlemen! look at this. She is sacrificing my food to get herself a husband in the next world.

Actress. Don't be angry, sir. I am fasting in the hope that you may be my husband in my next birth, too.

Director. But who suggested this fast to you?

Actress. Your own dear friend Jurnavriddha.

Director. [Angrily.] Ah, Jurnavriddha, son of a slave-wench! When, oh, when shall I see King Palaka angry with you? Then you will be parted, as surely as the scented hair of some young bride.

P. 8.10]

Actress. Don't be angry, sir. It is only that I may have you in the next world that I celebrate this fast. [She falls at his feet.]

Director. Stand up, mistress, and tell me who is to officiate at this fast.

Actress. Some Brahman of our own sort whom we must invite.

Director. You may go then. And I will invite some Brahman of our own sort.

Actress. Very well, sir. [Exit.

Director. [Walking about.] Good heavens! In this rich city of Ujjayini how am I to find a Brahman of our own sort? [He looks about him.] Ah, here comes Charudatta's friend Maitreya. Good! I'll ask him. Maitreya, you must be the first to break bread in our house to-day.

A voice behind the scenes. You must invite some other Brahman. I am busy.

Director. But, man, the feast is set and you have it all to yourself. Besides, you shall have a present.

The voice. I said no once. Why should you keep on urging me?

Director. He says no. Well, I must invite some other Brahman.





[Enter, with a cloak in his hand, Maitreya.]


"You must invite some other Brahman. I am busy." And yet I really ought to be seeking invitations from a stranger. Oh, what a wretched state of affairs! When good Charudatta was still wealthy, I used to eat my fill of the most deliciously fragrant sweetmeats, prepared day and night with the greatest of care. I would sit at the door of the courtyard, where I was surrounded by hundreds of dishes, and there, like a painter with his paint-boxes, I would simply touch them with my fingers and thrust them aside. I would stand chewing my cud like a bull in the city market. And now he is so poor that I have to run here, there, and everywhere, and come home, like the pigeons, only to roost. Now here is this jasmine-scented cloak, which Charudatta's good friend Jurnavriddha has sent him. He bade me give it to Charudatta, as soon as he had finished his devotions. So now I will look for Charudatta. [He walks about and looks around him.] Charudatta has finished his devotions, and here he comes with an offering for the divinities of the house.

[Enter Charudatta as described, and Radanika.]

Charudatta. [Looking up and sighing wearily.]

Upon my threshold, where the offering Was straightway seized by swans and flocking cranes, The grass grows now, and these poor seeds I fling Fall where the mouth of worms their sweetness stains. 9

[He walks about very slowly and seats himself.]

Maitreya. Charudatta is here. I must go and speak to him. [Approaching.] My greetings to you. May happiness be yours.

P. 13.1]

Charudatta. Ah, it is my constant friend Maitreya. You are very welcome, my friend. Pray be seated.

Maitreya. Thank you. [He seats himself.] Well, comrade, here is a jasmine-scented cloak which your good friend Jurnavriddha has sent. He bade me give it you as soon as you had finished your devotions. [He presents the cloak. Charudatta takes it and remains sunk in thought.] Well, what are you thinking about?

Charudatta. My good friend,

A candle shining through the deepest dark Is happiness that follows sorrow's strife; But after bliss when man bears sorrow's mark, His body lives a very death-in-life. 10

Maitreya. Well, which would you rather, be dead or be poor?

Charudatta. Ah, my friend,

Far better death than sorrows sure and slow; Some passing suffering from death may flow, But poverty brings never-ending woe. 11

Maitreya. My dear friend, be not thus cast down. Your wealth has been conveyed to them you love, and like the moon, after she has yielded her nectar to the gods, your waning fortunes win an added charm.

Charudatta. Comrade, I do not grieve for my ruined fortunes. But

This is my sorrow. They whom I Would greet as guests, now pass me by. "This is a poor man's house," they cry.

As flitting bees, the season o'er, Desert the elephant, whose store Of ichor[30] spent, attracts no more. 12

Maitreya. Oh, confound the money! It is a trifle not worth thinking about. It is like a cattle-boy in the woods afraid of wasps; it doesn't stay anywhere where it is used for food.

[8.5. S.

Charud. Believe me, friend. My sorrow does not spring

From simple loss of gold; For fortune is a fickle, changing thing, Whose favors do not hold; But he whose sometime wealth has taken wing, Finds bosom-friends grow cold. 13

Then too:

A poor man is a man ashamed; from shame Springs want of dignity and worthy fame; Such want gives rise to insults hard to bear; Thence comes despondency; and thence, despair; Despair breeds folly; death is folly's fruit— Ah! the lack of money is all evils root! 14

Maitreya. But just remember what a trifle money is, after all, and be more cheerful.

Charudatta. My friend, the poverty of a man is to him

A home of cares, a shame that haunts the mind, Another form of warfare with mankind; The abhorrence of his friends, a source of hate From strangers, and from each once-loving mate; But if his wife despise him, then 't were meet In some lone wood to seek a safe retreat. The flame of sorrow, torturing his soul, Burns fiercely, yet contrives to leave him whole. 15

Comrade, I have made my offering to the divinities of the house. Do you too go and offer sacrifice to the Divine Mothers at a place where four roads meet.

Maitreya. No!

Charudatta. Why not?

Maitreya. Because the gods are not gracious to you even when thus honored. So what is the use of worshiping?

P. 16.8]

Charudatta. Not so, my friend, not so! This is the constant duty of a householder.

The gods feel ever glad content In the gifts, and the self-chastisement, The meditations, and the prayers, Of those who banish worldly cares. 16

Why then do you hesitate? Go and offer sacrifice to the Mothers.

Maitreya. No, I'm not going. You must send somebody else. Anyway, everything seems to go wrong with me, poor Brahman that I am! It's like a reflection in a mirror; the right side becomes the left, and the left becomes the right. Besides, at this hour of the evening, people are abroad upon the king's highway—courtezans, courtiers, servants, and royal favorites. They will take me now for fair prey, just as the black-snake out frog-hunting snaps up the mouse in his path. But what will you do sitting here?

Charudatta. Good then, remain; and I will finish my devotions.

* * * * *

Voices behind the scenes. Stop, Vasantasena, stop!

[Enter Vasantasena, pursued by the courtier, by Sansthanaka, and the servant.]

Courtier. Vasantasena! Stop, stop!

Ah, why should fear transform your tenderness? Why should the dainty feet feel such distress, That twinkle in the dance so prettily? Why should your eyes, thus startled into fear, Dart sidelong looks? Why, like the timid deer Before pursuing hunters, should you flee? 17

Sansthanaka. Shtop,[31] Vasantasena, shtop!

Why flee? and run? and shtumble in your turning? Be kind! You shall not die. Oh, shtop your feet! With love, shweet girl, my tortured heart is burning. As on a heap of coals a piece of meat. 18

[10.2 S.

Servant. Stop, courtezan, stop!

In fear you flee Away from me, As a summer peahen should; But my lord and master Struts fast and faster, Like a woodcock in the wood. 19

Courtier. Vasantasena! Stop, stop!

Why should you tremble, should you flee, A-quiver like the plantain tree? Your garment's border, red and fair, Is all a-shiver in the air; Now and again, a lotus-bud Falls to the ground, as red as blood. A red realgar[32] vein you seem, Whence, smitten, drops of crimson stream. 20

Sansthanaka. Shtop. Vasantasena, shtop!

You wake my passion, my desire, my love; You drive away my shleep in bed at night; Both fear and terror sheem your heart to move; You trip and shtumble in your headlong flight. But Ravana forced Kunti[33] to his will; Jusht sho shall I enjoy you to the fill. 21

Courtier. Ah, Vasantasena,

Why should your fleeter flight Outstrip my flying feet? Why, like a snake in fright Before the bird-king's might, Thus seek to flee, my sweet? Could I not catch the storm-wind in his flight? Yet would not seize upon you, though I might. 22

P. 19.9]

Sansthanaka. Lishten to me, shir!

Thish whip of robber Love, thish dancing-girl, Eater of fish, deshtroyer of her kin, Thish shnubnose, shtubborn, love-box, courtezan, Thish clothes-line, wanton creature, maid of sin— I gave her ten shweet names, and shtill She will not bend her to my will. 23


As courtier's fingers strike the lute's tense string, The dancing ear-ring smites your wounded cheek. Why should you flee, with dreadful terror weak, As flees the crane when heaven's thunders ring? 24


Your jingling gems, girl, clink like anything; Like Draupadi you flee, when Rama kisshed her. I'll sheize you quick, as once the monkey-king Sheized Subhadra, Vishvavasu's shweet shishter. 25


He's the royal protege; Do whatever he may say. And you shall have good fish and flesh to eat. For when dogs have all the fish And the flesh that they can wish, Even carrion seems to them no longer sweet. 26

Courtier. Mistress Vasantasena,

The girdle drooping low upon your hips Flashes as brilliant as the shining stars; The wondrous terror of your fleeing mars Your charms; for red realgar, loosened, slips As on an imaged god, from cheek and lips. 27


We're chasing you with all our main and might, As dogs a jackal when they hunt and find it; But you are quick and nimble in your flight, And shteal my heart with all the roots that bind it. 28

[11.23. S.

Vasantasena. Pallavaka! Parabhritika!

Sansthanaka. Mashter! a man! a man!

Courtier. Don't be a coward.

Vasantasena. Madhavika! Madhavika!

Courtier. [Laughing.] Fool! She is calling her servants.

Sansthanaka. Mashter! Is she calling a woman?

Courtier. Why, of course.

Sansthanaka. Women! I kill hundreds of 'em. I'm a brave man.

Vasantasena. [Seeing that no one answers.] Alas, how comes it that my very servants have fallen away from me? I shall have to defend myself by mother-wit.

Courtier. Don't stop the search.

Sansthanaka. Shqueal, Vasantasena, shqueal for your cuckoo Parabhritika, or for your blosshom Pallavaka or for all the month of May! Who's going to save you when I'm chasing you?

Why shpeak of Bhimasena? Or the shon Of Jamadagni, that thrice-mighty one? The ten-necked ogre? Shon of Kunti fair? Jusht look at me! My fingers in your hair, Jusht like Duhshasana, I'll tear, and tear. 29

Look, look!

My shword is sharp; good-by, poor head! Let's chop it off, or kill you dead. Then do not try my wrath to shun; When you musht die, your life is done. 30

Vasantasena. Sir, I am a weak woman.

Courtier. That is why you are still alive.

Sansthanaka. That is why you're not murdered.

Vasantasena. [Aside.] Oh! his very courtesy frightens me. Come, I will try this. [Aloud.] Sir, what do you expect from this pursuit? my jewels?

P. 24.7]

Courtier. Heaven forbid! A garden creeper, mistress Vasantasena, should not be robbed of its blossoms. Say no more about the jewels.

Vasantasena. What is then your desire?

Sansthanaka. I'm a man, a big man, a regular Vasudeva.[34] You musht love me.

Vasantasena. [Indignantly.] Heavens! You weary me. Come, leave me! Your words are an insult.

Sansthanaka. [Laughing and clapping his hands.] Look, mashter, look! The courtezan's daughter is mighty affectionate with me, isn't she? Here she says "Come on! Heavens, you're weary. You're tired!" No, I haven't been walking to another village or another city. No, little mishtress, I shwear by the gentleman's head, I shwear by my own feet! It's only by chasing about at your heels that I've grown tired and weary.

Courtier. [Aside.] What! is it possible that the idiot does not understand when she says "You weary me"? [Aloud.] Vasantasena, your words have no place in the dwelling of a courtezan,

Which, as you know, is friend to every youth; Remember, you are common as the flower That grows beside the road; in bitter truth, Your body has its price; your beauty's dower Is his, who pays the market's current rate: Then serve the man you love, and him you hate. 31

And again:

The wisest Brahman and the meanest fool Bathe in the selfsame pool; Beneath the peacock, flowering plants bend low, No less beneath the crow; The Brahman, warrior, merchant, sail along With all the vulgar throng. You are the pool, the flowering plant, the boat; And on your beauty every man may dote. 32

[13.22 S.

Vasantasena. Yet true love would be won by virtue, not violence.

Sansthanaka. But, mashter, ever since the shlave-wench went into the park where Kama's[35] temple shtands, she has been in love with a poor man, with Charudatta, and she doesn't love me any more. His house is to the left. Look out and don't let her shlip out of our hands.

Courtier. [Aside.] Poor fool, he has said the very thing he should have concealed. So Vasantasena is in love with Charudatta? The proverb is right. Pearl suits with pearl. Well, I have had enough of this fool. [Aloud.] Did you say the good merchant's house was to the left, you jackass?

Sansthanaka. Yes. His house is to the left.

Vasantasena. [Aside.] Oh, wonderful! If his house is really at my left hand, then the scoundrel has helped me in the very act of hurting me, for he has guided me to my love.

Sansthanaka. But mashter, it's pitch dark and it's like hunting for a grain of soot in a pile of shpotted beans. Now you shee Vasantasena and now you don't.

Courtier. Pitch dark it is indeed.

The sudden darkness seems to steal The keenness of my sight; My open eyes, as with a seal, Are closed by blackest night. 33

And again:

Darkness anoints my body, and the sky Drops ointment of thick darkness, till mine eye Is all unprofitable grown to me, Like service done to them who cheat and lie. 34

Sansthanaka. Mashter, I'm looking for Vasantasena.

Courtier. Is there anything you can trace her by, jackass?

Sansthanaka. Like what, for inshtance?

P. 28.3]

Courtier. Like the tinkling of her jewels, for instance, or the fragrance of her garlands.

Sansthanaka. I hear the shmell of her garlands, but my nose is shtuffed so full of darkness that I don't shee the shound of her jewels very clearly.

Courtier. [To Vasantasena. Aside.] Vasantasena,

'T is true, the night is dark, O timid maid, And like the lightning hidden in the cloud, You are not seen; yet you will be betrayed By fragrant garlands and by anklets loud. 35

Have you heard me, Vasantasena?

Vasantasena. [To herself.] Heard and understood. [She removes the ankle-rings, lays aside the garlands, and takes a few steps, feeling her way.] I can feel the wall of the house, and here is a side-entrance. But alas! my fingers tell me that the door is shut.

* * * * *

Charudatta [who is within the house]. Comrade, my prayer is done. Go now and offer sacrifice to the Mothers.

Maitreya. No, I'm not going.

Charudatta. Alas!

The poor man's kinsmen do not heed his will; The friends who loved him once, now stand afar; His sorrows multiply; his strength is nil; Behold! his character's bright-shining star Fades like the waning moon; and deeds of ill That others do, are counted to him still. 36

And again:

No man holds converse with him; none will greet With due respect the poor man when they meet. Where rich men hold a feast, if he draw near, He meets with scornful looks for looks of cheer.

[15.19. S.

Where vulgar throngs are gathered, 't is the same; His scanty raiment wakes his heartfelt shame. Five are the deadly sins[36] we knew before; Alas! I find the sixth is—to be poor. 37

And yet again:

Ah, Poverty, I pity thee, that so To me thou clingest, as thy dearest friend; When my poor life has met its woeful end, I sadly wonder, whither thou wilt go. 38

Maitreya. [Betraying his embarrassment.] Well, comrade, if I must go, at least let Radanika go with me, to keep me company.

Charudatta. Radanika, you are to accompany Maitreya.

Radanika. Yes, sir.

Maitreya. Mistress Radanika, do you take the offering and the candle while I open the side-door. [He does so.]

Vasantasena. It seems as if the door took pity on me and opened of itself. I will lose no time, but enter. [She looks in.] What? a candle? Oh dear, oh dear! [She puts it out with her skirt and enters.]

Charudatta. What was that, Maitreya?

Maitreya. I opened the side-door and the wind came through all in a lump and blew out the candle. Suppose you go out by the side-door, Radanika, and I will follow as soon as I have gone into the courtyard and lighted the candle again. [Exit.

Sansthanaka. Mashter! mashter! I'm looking for Vasantasena.

Courtier. Keep on looking, keep on looking!

Sansthanaka. [Does so.] Mashter! mashter! I've caught her! I've caught her!

Courtier. Idiot, you've caught me.

Sansthanaka. You shtand right here, mashter, and shtay where you're put. [He renews the search and seizes the servant.] Mashter! mashter! I've caught her! I've caught her!

P. 31.3]

Servant. Master, you've caught me, your servant.

Sansthanaka. Mashter here, shervant here! Mashter, shervant; shervant, mashter. Now shtay where you're put, both of you. [He renews the search and seizes Radanika by the hair.] Mashter! mashter! Thish time I've caught her! I've caught Vasantasena!

Through the black night she fled, fled she; Her garland's shmell betrayed her; Like Chanakya caught Draupadi, I caught her hair and shtayed her. 39


Ah, proud to be so young, so fair! Too high thy love must not aspire; For now thy blossom-fragrant hair, That merits richest gems and rare, Serves but to drag thee through the mire. 40


I've got your head, girl, got it tight, By the hair, the locks, and the curls, too. Now shcream, shqueak, shqueal with all your might "Shiva! Ishvara! Shankara! Shambhu!"[37] 41

Radanika. [In terror.] Oh, sirs, what does this mean?

Courtier. You jackass! It's another voice.

Sansthanaka. Mashter, the wench has changed her voice, the way a cat changes her voice, when she wants shome cream of curdled milk.

Courtier. Changed her voice? Strange! Yet why so strange?

She trod the stage; she learned the arts; She studied to deceive our hearts; And now she practises her parts. 42

[Enter Maitreya.]

Maitreya. Look! In the gentle evening breeze the flame of the candle is fluttering like the heart of a goat that goes to the altar.

[He approaches and discovers Radanika.] Mistress Radanika!

[17.17. S.

Sansthanaka. Mashter, mashter! A man! a man!

Maitreya. This is right, this is perfectly right, that strangers should force their way into the house, just because Charudatta is poor.

Radanika. Oh, Maitreya, see how they insult me.

Maitreya. What! insult you? No, they are insulting us.

Radanika. Very well. They are insulting you, then.

Maitreya. But they aren't using violence?

Radanika. Yes, yes!

Maitreya. Really?

Radanika. Really.

Maitreya. [Raising his staff angrily.] No, sir! Man, a dog will show his teeth in his own kennel, and I am a Brahman! My staff is crooked as my fortunes, but it can still split a dry bamboo or a rascal's pate.

Courtier. Have mercy, O great Brahman, have mercy.

Maitreya. [Discovers the courtier.] He is not the sinner. [Discovers Sansthanaka.] Ah, here is the sinner. Well, you brother-in-law to the king, Sansthanaka, you scoundrel, you coward, this is perfectly proper, isn't it? Charudatta the good is a poor man now—true, but are not his virtues an ornament to Ujjayini? And so men break into his house and insult his servants!

Insult not him, laid low by poverty; For none are counted poor by mighty fate: Yet he who falls from virtue's high estate, Though he be rich, no man is poor as he. 43

Courtier. [Betraying his embarrassment.] Have mercy, O great Brahman, have mercy. We intended no insolence; we merely mistook this lady for another. For

We sought an amorous maiden,

Maitreya. What! this one?

Courtier. Heaven forbid!

one whose youth Is in the guidance of her own sweet will; She disappeared: unconscious of the truth, We did what seems a purposed deed of ill. 44

P. 35.4]

I pray you, accept this all-in-all of humblest supplication. [He drops his sword, folds his hands, and falls at Maitreya's feet.]

Maitreya. Good man, rise, rise. When I reviled you, I did not know you. Now I know you and I ask your pardon.

Courtier. It is I who should ask pardon. I will rise on one condition.

Maitreya. And that is—

Courtier. That you will not tell Charudatta what has happened here.

Maitreya. I will be silent.


Brahman, this gracious act of thine I bow my neck to bear; For never could this sword of mine With virtue's steel compare. 45

Sansthanaka. [Indignantly.] But mashter, what makes you fold your hands sho helplesshly and fall at the feet of thish manikin?

Courtier. I was afraid.

Sansthanaka. What were you afraid of?

Courtier. Of Charudatta's virtues.

Sansthanaka. Virtues? He? You can go into his houshe and not find a thing to eat.

Courtier. No, no.

His loving-kindness unto such as we Has brought him low at last; From him could no man learn what insults be, Or e'er his wealth was past. This well-filled pool, that in its summer day Gave others drink, itself is dried away. 46

Sansthanaka. [Impatiently.] Who is the shon of a shlave-wench anyway?

Brave Shvetaketu is he, Pandu's child? Or Radha's shon, the ten-necked ogre wild? Or Indradatta? or again, is he Shon of brave Rama and of fair Kunti? Or Dharmaputra? Ashvatthaman bold? Perhaps Jatayu's shelf, that vulture old? 47

[19.19. S.

Courtier. Fool! I will tell you who Charudatta is.

A tree of life to them whose sorrows grow, Beneath its fruit of virtue bending low; Father to good men; virtue's touchstone he; The mirror of the learned; and the sea Where all the tides of character unite; A righteous man, whom pride could never blight; A treasure-house, with human virtues stored; Courtesy's essence, honor's precious hoard. He doth to life its fullest meaning give, So good is he; we others breathe, not live. 48

Let us be gone.

Sansthanaka. Without Vasantasena?

Courtier. Vasantasena has disappeared.

Sansthanaka. How?


Like sick men's strength, or like the blind man's sight, Like the fool's judgment, like the sluggard's might, Like thoughtless scoundrels' store of wisdom's light, Like love, when foemen fan our slumbering wrath, So did she vanish, when you crossed her path. 49

Sansthanaka. I'm not going without Vasantasena.

Courtier. And did you never hear this?

To hold a horse, you need a rein; To hold an elephant, a chain; To hold a woman, use a heart; And if you haven't one, depart. 50

Sansthanaka. If you're going, go along. I'm not going.

Courtier. Very well. I will go. [Exit.

P. 38.2]

Sansthanaka. Mashter's gone, sure enough. [To Maitreya.] Well, you man with the head that looks like a caret, you manikin, take a sheat, take a sheat.

Maitreya. We have already been invited to take a seat.

Sansthanaka. By whom?

Maitreya. By destiny.

Sansthanaka. Shtand up, then, shtand up!

Maitreya. We shall.

Sansthanaka. When?

Maitreya. When fate is kind again.

Sansthanaka. Weep, then, weep!

Maitreya. We have wept.

Sansthanaka. Who made you?

Maitreya. Poverty.

Sansthanaka. Laugh, then, laugh!

Maitreya. Laugh we shall.

Sansthanaka. When?

Maitreya. When Charudatta is happy once more.

Sansthanaka. You manikin, give poor little Charudatta thish messhage from me. "Thish wench with golden ornaments and golden jewels, thish female shtage-manager looking after the rehearsal of a new play, thish Vasantasena—she has been in love with you ever shince she went into the park where Kama's temple shtands. And when we tried to conciliate her by force, she went into your houshe. Now if you shend her away yourshelf and hand her over to me, if you reshtore her at once, without any lawshuit in court, then I'll be friends with you forever. But if you don't reshtore her, there will be a fight to the death." Remember:

Shmear a pumpkin-shtalk with cow-dung; Keep your vegetables dried; Cook your rice in winter evenings; And be sure your meat is fried. Then let 'em shtand, and they will not Bothershomely shmell and rot. 51

[21.17. S.

Tell it to him prettily, tell it to him craftily. Tell it to him sho that I can hear it as I roosht in the dove-cote on the top of my own palace. If you shay it different, I'll chew your head like an apple caught in the crack of a door.

Maitreya. Very well. I shall tell him.

Sansthanaka. [Aside.] Tell me, shervant. Is mashter really gone?

Servant. Yes, sir.

Sansthanaka. Then we will go as quickly as we can.

Servant. Then take your sword, master.

Sansthanaka. You can keep it.

Servant. Here it is, master. Take your sword, master.

Sansthanaka. [Taking it by the wrong end.]

My shword, red as a radish shkin, Ne'er finds the time to molder; Shee how it shleeps its sheath within! I put it on my shoulder. While curs and bitches yelp at me, I roam, Like a hunted jackal, home. 52

[Sansthanaka and the servant walk about, then exeunt.

Maitreya. Mistress Radanika, you must not tell good Charudatta of this outrage. I am sure you would only add to the poor man's sorrows.

Radanika. Good Maitreya, you know Radanika. Her lips are sealed.

Maitreya. So be it.

* * * * *

Charudatta. [To Vasantasena.] Radanika, Rohasena likes the fresh air, but he will be cold in the evening chill. Pray bring him into the house, and cover him with this mantle. [He gives her the mantle.]

P. 49.19]

Vasantasena. [To herself.] See! He thinks I am his servant. [She takes the mantle and perceives its perfume. Ardently to herself.] Oh, beautiful! The mantle is fragrant with jasmine. His youthful days are not wholly indifferent to the pleasures of the world. [She wraps it about her, without letting Charudatta see.]

Charudatta. Come, Radanika, take Rohasena and enter the heart of the house.

Vasantasena. [To herself.] Ah me unhappy, that have little part or lot in your heart!

Charudatta. Come, Radanika, will you not even answer? Alas!

When man once sees that miserable day, When fate almighty sweeps his wealth away, Then ancient friendships will no longer hold, Then all his former bosom-friends grow cold. 53

Maitreya. [Drawing near to Radanika.] Sir, here is Radanika.

Charudatta. Here is Radanika? Who then is this—

This unknown lady, by my robe Thus clinging, desecrated,

Vasantasena. [To herself.] Say rather "consecrated."

Charudatta. Until she seems the crescent moon. With clouds of autumn[38] mated? 54

But no! I may not gaze upon another's wife.

Maitreya. Oh, you need not fear that you are looking at another man's wife. This is Vasantasena, who has been in love with you ever since she saw you in the garden where Kama's temple stands.

Charudatta. What! this is Vasantasena? [Aside.]

My love for whom—my fortune spent— My wretched self in twain has rent. Like coward's anger, inward bent. 55

[23. 19. S.

Maitreya. My friend, that brother-in-law of the king says—

Charudatta. Well?

Maitreya. "This wench with golden ornaments and golden jewels, this female stage-manager looking after the rehearsal of a new play, this Vasantasena—she has been in love with you ever since she went into the park where Kama's temple stands. And when we tried to conciliate her by force, she went into your house."

Vasantasena. [To herself.] "Tried to conciliate me by force"—truly, I am honored by these words.

Maitreya. "Now if you send her away yourself and hand her over to me, if you restore her at once, without any lawsuit in court, then I'll be friends with you forever. Otherwise, there will be a fight to the death."

Charudatta. [Contemptuously.] He is a fool. [To himself.] How is this maiden worthy of the worship that we pay a goddess! For now

Although I bade her enter, yet she seeks To spare my poverty, nor enters here; Though men are known to her, yet all she speaks Contains no word to wound a modest ear. 56

[Aloud.] Mistress Vasantasena, I have unwittingly made myself guilty of an offense; for I greeted as a servant one whom I did not recognize. I bend my neck to ask your pardon.

Vasantasena. It is I who have offended by this unseemly intrusion. I bow my head to seek your forgiveness.

Maitreya. Yes, with your pretty bows you two have knocked your heads together, till they look like a couple of rice-fields. I also bow my head like a camel colt's knee and beseech you both to stand up. [He does so, then rises.]

Charudatta. Very well, let us no longer trouble ourselves with conventions.

Vasantasena. [To herself.] What a delightfully clever hint! But it would hardly be proper to spend the night, considering how I came hither. Well, I will at least say this much. [Aloud.] If I am to receive thus much of your favor, sir, I should be glad to leave these jewels in your house. It was for the sake of the jewels that those scoundrels pursued me.

P. 45.14]

Charudatta. This house is not worthy of the trust.

Vasantasena. You mistake, sir! It is to men that treasures are entrusted, not to houses.

Charudatta. Maitreya, will you receive the jewels?

Vasantasena. I am much indebted to you. [She hands him the jewels.]

Maitreya. [Receiving them.] Heaven bless you, madam.

Charudatta. Fool! They are only entrusted to us.

Maitreya. [Aside.] Then the thieves may take them, for all I care.

Charudatta. In a very short time—

Maitreya. What she has entrusted to us, belongs to us.

Charudatta. I shall restore them.

Vasantasena. I should be grateful, sir, if this gentleman would accompany me home.

Charudatta. Maitreya, pray accompany our guest.

Maitreya. She walks as gracefully as a female swan, and you are the gay flamingo to accompany her. But I am only a poor Brahman, and wherever I go, the people will fall upon me just as dogs will snap at a victim dragged to the cross-roads.

Charudatta. Very well. I will accompany her myself. Let the torches be lighted, to ensure our safety on the highway.

Maitreya. Vardhamanaka, light the torches.

Vardhamanaka. [Aside to Maitreya.] What! light torches without oil?

Maitreya. [Aside to Charudatta.] These torches of ours are like courtezans who despise their poor lovers. They won't light up unless you feed them.

[25.23. S.

Charudatta. Enough, Maitreya! We need no torches. See, we have a lamp upon the king's highway.

Attended by her starry servants all, And pale to see as a loving maiden's cheeks, Rises before our eyes the moon's bright ball, Whose pure beams on the high-piled darkness fall Like streaming milk that dried-up marshes seeks. 57

[His voice betraying his passion.] Mistress Vasantasena, we have reached your home. Pray enter. [Vasantasena gazes ardently at him, then exit.] Comrade, Vasantasena is gone. Come, let us go home.

All creatures from the highway take their flight; The watchmen pace their rounds before our sight; To forestall treachery, is just and right, For many sins find shelter in the night. 58

[He walks about.] And you shall guard this golden casket by night, and Vardhamanaka by day.

Maitreya. Very well. [Exeunt ambo.


[Footnote 30: During the mating season, a fragrant liquor exudes from the forehead of the elephant. Of this liquor bees are very fond.]

[Footnote 31: The most striking peculiarity of Sansthanaka's dialect—his substitution of sh for s—I have tried to imitate in the translation.]

[Footnote 32: Red arsenic, used as a cosmetic.]

[Footnote 33: Here, as elsewhere, Sansthanaka's mythology is wildly confused. To a Hindu the effect must be ludicrous enough; but the humor is necessarily lost in a translation. It therefore seems hardly worth while to explain his mythological vagaries in detail.]

[Footnote 34: A name of Krishna, who is perhaps the most amorous character in Indian story.]

[Footnote 35: Cupid.]

[Footnote 36: The five deadly sins are: the slaying of a Brahman, the drinking of wine, theft, adultery with the wife of one's teacher, and association with one guilty of these crimes.]

[Footnote 37: These are all epithets of the same god.]

[Footnote 38: Which look pretty, but do not rain. He doubtless means to suggest that the cloak, belonging to a strange man, is as useless to Vasantasena as the veil of autumn clouds to the earth.]



[Enter a maid.]


I am sent with a message to my mistress by her mother. I must go in and find my mistress. [She walks about and looks around her.] There is my mistress. She is painting a picture, and putting her whole heart into it. I must go and speak to her.

[Then appear the love-lorn Vasantasena, seated, and Madanika.]

Vasantasena. Well, girl, and then—

Madanika. But mistress, you were not speaking of anything. What do you mean?

Vasantasena. Why, what did I say?

Madanika. You said, "and then"—

Vasantasena. [Puckering her brows.] Oh, yes. So I did.

Maid. [Approaching.] Mistress, your mother sends word that you should bathe and then offer worship to the gods.

Vasantasena. You may tell my mother that I shall not take the ceremonial bath to-day. A Brahman must offer worship in my place.

Maid. Yes, mistress. [Exit.

Madanika. My dear mistress, it is love, not naughtiness, that asks the question—but what does this mean?

Vasantasena. Tell me, Madanika. How do I seem to you?

Madanika. My mistress is so absent-minded that I know her heart is filled with longing for somebody.

Vasantasena. Well guessed. My Madanika is quick to fathom another's heart.

Madanika. I am very, very glad. Yes, Kama is indeed mighty, and his great festival is welcome when one is young. But tell me, mistress, is it a king, or a king's favorite, whom you worship?

[28.1. S.

Vasantasena. Girl, I wish to love, not to worship.

Madanika. Is it a Brahman that excites your passion, some youth distinguished for very particular learning?

Vasantasena. A Brahman I should have to reverence.

Madanika. Or is it some young merchant, grown enormously wealthy from visiting many cities?

Vasantasena. A merchant, girl, must go to other countries and leave you behind, no matter how much you love him. And the separation makes you very sad.

Madanika. It isn't a king, nor a favorite, nor a Brahman, nor a merchant. Who is it then that the princess loves?

Vasantasena. Girl! Girl! You went with me to the park where Kama's temple stands?

Madanika. Yes, mistress.

Vasantasena. And yet you ask, as if you were a perfect stranger.

Madanika. Now I know. Is it the man who comforted you when you asked to be protected?

Vasantasena. Well, what was his name?

Madanika. Why, he lives in the merchants' quarter.

Vasantasena. But I asked you for his name.

Madanika. His name, mistress, is a good omen in itself. His name is Charudatta.

Vasantasena. [Joyfully.] Good, Madanika, good. You have guessed it.

Madanika. [Aside.] So much for that. [Aloud.] Mistress, they say he is poor.

Vasantasena. That is the very reason why I love him. For a courtezan who sets her heart on a poor man is blameless in the eyes of the world.

P. 59.14]

Madanika. But mistress, do the butterflies visit the mango-tree when its blossoms have fallen?

Vasantasena. That is just why we call that sort of a girl a butterfly.

Madanika. Well, mistress, if you love him, why don't you go and visit him at once?

Vasantasena. Girl, if I should visit him at once, then, because he can't make any return—no, I don't mean that, but it would be hard to see him.

Madanika. Is that the reason why you left your jewels with him?

Vasantasena. You have guessed it.

* * * * *

A voice[40] behind the scenes. Oh, sir, a shampooer owes me ten gold-pieces, and he got away from us. Hold him, hold him! [To the fleeing shampooer.] Stop, stop! I see you from here. [Enter hurriedly a frightened shampooer.]

Shampooer. Oh, confound this gambling business!

Freed from its tether, the ace— I might better say "ass"—how it kicks me! And the cast of the dice called the "spear" Proves true to its name; for it sticks me. 1

The keeper's whole attention Was busy with the score; So it took no great invention To vanish through the door. But I cannot stand forever In the unprotected street. Is there no one to deliver? I would fall before his feet. 2

While the keeper and the gambler are looking somewhere else for me, I'll just walk backwards into this empty temple and turn goddess. [He makes all sorts of gestures, takes his place, and waits.]

[Enter Mathura and the gambler.]

[30.1. S.

Mathura. Oh, sir, a shampooer owes me ten gold-pieces, and he got away from us. Hold him, hold him! Stop, stop! I see you from here.


You may run to hell, if they'll take you in; With Indra, the god, you may stay: For there's never a god can save your skin. While Mathura wants his pay. 3


Oh, whither flee you, nimble rambler. You that cheat an honest gambler? You that shake with fear and shiver. All a-tremble, all a-quiver; You that cannot trip enough. On the level ground and rough; You that stain your social station, Family, and reputation! 4

Gambler. [Examining the footprints.] Here he goes. And here the tracks are lost.

Mathura. [Gazes at the footprints. Reflectively.] Look! The feet are turned around. And the temple hasn't any image. [After a moment's thought.] That rogue of a shampooer has gone into the temple with his feet turned around.

Gambler. Let's follow him.

Mathura. All right. [They enter the temple and take a good look, then make signs to each other.]

Gambler. What! a wooden image?

Mathura. Of course not. It's stone. [He shakes it with all his might, then makes signs.] What do we care? Come, let's have a game. [He starts to gamble as hard as he can.]

Shampooer. [Trying with all his might to repress the gambling fever. Aside.] Oh, oh!

Oh, the rattle of dice is a charming thing, When you haven't a copper left; It works like a drum on the heart of a king, Of all his realm bereft. 5

For gamblers leap down a mountain steep— I know I shall not play. Yet the rattle of dice is as sweet as the peep Of nightingales in May. 6

Gambler. My turn, my turn!

P. 56.10]

Mathura. Not much! it's my turn.

Shampooer. [Coming up quickly from behind.] Isn't it my turn?

Gambler. We've got our man.

Mathura. [Seizing him.] You jail-bird, you're caught. Pay me my ten gold-pieces.

Shampooer. I'll pay you this very day.

Mathura. Pay me this very minute!

Shampooer. I'll pay you. Only have mercy!

Mathura. Come, will you pay me now?

Shampooer. My head is getting dizzy. [He falls to the ground. The others beat him with all their might.]

Mathura. There [drawing the gamblers ring] you're bound by the gamblers' ring.

Shampooer. [Rises. Despairingly.] What! bound by the gamblers' ring? Confound it! That is a limit which we gamblers can't pass. Where can I get the money to pay him?

Mathura. Well then, you must give surety.

Shampooer. I have an idea. [He nudges the gambler.] I'll give you half, if you'll forgive me the other half.

Gambler. All right.

Shampooer. [To Mathura.] I'll give you surety for a half. You might forgive me the other half.

Mathura. All right. Where's the harm?

Shampooer. [Aloud.] You forgave me a half, sir?

[31.24. S.

Mathura. Yes.

Shampooer. [To the gambler.] And you forgave me a half?

Gambler. Yes.

Shampooer. Then I think I'll be going.

Mathura. Pay me my ten gold-pieces! Where are you going?

Shampooer. Look at this, gentlemen, look at this! Here I just gave surety to one of them for a half, and the other forgave me a half. And even after that he is dunning me, poor helpless me!

Mathura. [Seizing him.] My name is Mathura, the clever swindler, and you're not going to swindle me this time. Pay up, jail-bird, every bit of my money, and this minute, too.

Shampooer. How can I pay?

Mathura. Sell your father and pay.

Shampooer. Where can I get a father?

Mathura. Sell your mother and pay.

Shampooer. Where can I get a mother?

Mathura. Sell yourself and pay.

Shampooer. Have mercy! Lead me to the king's highway.

Mathura. Go ahead.

Shampooer. If it must be. [He walks about.] Gentlemen, will you buy me for ten gold-pieces from this gambling-master? [He sees a passer-by and calls out.] What is that? You wish to know what I can do? I will be your house-servant. What! he has gone without even answering. Well, here's another. I'll speak to him. [He repeats his offer.] What! this one too takes no notice of me. He is gone. Confound it! I've had hard luck ever since Charudatta lost his fortune.

Mathura. Will you pay?

Shampooer. How can I pay? [He falls down. Mathura drags him about.] Good gentlemen, save me, save me! [Enter Darduraka.]

P. 61.5]

Darduraka. Yes, gambling is a kingdom without a throne.

You do not mind defeat at all; Great are the sums you spend and win; While kingly revenues roll in, Rich men, like slaves, before you fall. 7

And again:

You earn your coin by gambling, Your friends and wife by gambling, Your gifts and food by gambling; Your last cent goes by gambling. 8

And again:

My cash was taken by the trey; The deuce then took my health away; The ace then set me on the street; The four completed my defeat. 9

[He looks before him.] Here comes Mathura, our sometime gambling-master. Well, as I can't escape, I think I'll put on my veil. [He makes any number of gestures with his cloak, then examines it.]

This cloth is sadly indigent in thread; This lovely cloth lets in a lot of light; This cloth's protective power is nearly fled; This cloth is pretty when it's rolled up tight. 10

Yet after all, what more could a poor saint do? For you see,

One foot I've planted in the sky, The other on the ground must lie.[41] The elevation's rather high, But the sun stands it. Why can't I? 11

Mathura. Pay, pay!

Shampooer. How can I pay? [Mathura drags him about.]

Darduraka. Well, well, what is this I see? [He addresses a bystander.] What did you say, sir? "This shampooer is being maltreated by the gambling-master, and no one will save him"? I'll save him myself. [He presses forward.] Stand back, stand back!

[33.25. S.

[He takes a look.] Well, if this isn't that swindler Mathura. And here is the poor saintly shampooer; a saint to be sure,

Who does not hang with bended head Rigid till set of sun, Who does not rub his back with sand Till boils begin to run, Whose shins dogs may not browse upon, As they pass him in their rambling.[42] Why should this tall and dainty man Be so in love with gambling? 12

Well, I must pacify Mathura. [He approaches.] How do you do, Mathura? [Mathura returns the greeting.]

Darduraka. What does this mean?

Mathura. He owes me ten gold-pieces.

Darduraka. A mere bagatelle!

Mathura. [Pulling the rolled-up cloak from under Darduraka's arm.] Look, gentlemen, look! The man in the ragged cloak calls ten gold-pieces a mere bagatelle.

Darduraka. My good fool, don't I risk ten gold-pieces on a cast of the dice? Suppose a man has money—is that any reason why he should put it in his bosom and show it? But you,

You'll lose your caste, you'll lose your soul, For ten gold-pieces that he stole, To kill a man that's sound and whole, With five good senses in him. 13

Mathura. Ten gold-pieces may be a mere bagatelle to you, sir. To me they are a fortune.

Darduraka. Well then, listen to me. Just give him ten more, and let him go to gambling again.

Mathura. And what then?

Darduraka. If he wins, he will pay you.

P. 63.12]

Mathura. And if he doesn't win?

Darduraka. Then he won't pay you.

Mathura. This is no time for nonsense. If you say that, you can give him the money yourself. My name is Mathura. I'm a swindler and I play a crooked game, and I'm not afraid of anybody. You are an immoral scoundrel.

Darduraka. Who did you say was immoral?

Mathura. You're immoral.

Darduraka. Your father is immoral. [He gives the shampooer a sign to escape.]

Mathura. You cur! That is just the way that you gamble.

Darduraka. That is the way I gamble?

Mathura. Come, shampooer, pay me my ten gold-pieces.

Shampooer. I'll pay you this very day. I'll pay at once. [Mathura drags him about.]

Darduraka. Fool! You may maltreat him when I am away, but not before my eyes.

[Mathura seizes the shampooer and hits him on the nose. The shampooer bleeds, faints, and falls flat. Darduraka approaches and interferes. Mathura strikes Darduraka, and Darduraka strikes back.]

Mathura. Oh, oh, you accursed hound! But I'll pay you for this.

Darduraka. My good fool, I was walking peaceably along the street, and you struck me. If you strike me to-morrow in court, then you will open your eyes.

Mathura. Yes, I'll open my eyes.

Darduraka. How will you open your eyes?

Mathura. [Opening his eyes wide.] This is the way I'll open my eyes.

[Darduraka throws dust in Mathura's eyes, and gives the shampooer a sign to escape. Mathura shuts his eyes and falls down. The shampooer escapes.]

[35.20. S.

Darduraka. [Aside.] I have made an enemy of the influential gambling-master Mathura. I had better not stay here. Besides, my good friend Sharvilaka told me that a young herdsman named Aryaka has been designated by a soothsayer as our future king. Now everybody in my condition is running after him. I think I will join myself to him. [Exit.

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