They stood shamefast, with indignation stirred,
And answering his doctrine, thus replied,
“O son of Nanda, O thou lotus-eyed!
It ill beseems your worthy dignity,
Of pious vows to mar the sanctity;
As noble Nanda’s son you are our prince,
How is it you have lost your righteous sense?
We are your handmaids, ready to fulfill
What you command, and carry out your will,
But give us back our garments, we implore!
That we in order laid upon the shore;
And if you don’t return to us our weeds,
We’ll tell the king, your father, of your deeds!”
The maidens in the chilly water stayed,
But smiles and looks their secret love betrayed,
And unto them Govinda, smiling, said,
“Well if you be my hand maids, as ye say,
You should, methinks, in this my will obey;
Come forth with folded palms, prostration make,
And then you may your silken garments take.”
Enamored of his beauty and his charm,
Which Love, the flower archer, would disarm,
The cowherd maids with bashful glances came
Forth, and did each her own silk garment claim;
With descent modesty and pious haste,
Their own garments on their bodies placed.
And through their eyes they drew him to the heart,
And fain would not from his dear presence part.
When he perceived the ardour of their love,
Krishna did all their fasts and vows approve,
And promised that he would their faith requite,
Upon some future fair bright moon lit night.
Hearing his promise, merciful and kind,
His handsome form impressed upon their mind,
Reluctantly, they made their way back home,
While Krishna with his friends, proceeded on.
And when they came beneath the shady trees,
Krishna addressed his friends in words like these:
“O Subal, Amsu, Arjun, and the rest!
Mark how the stately trees are highly blest.
How, by their generosity, maintain
Others, and offer shelter from the rain.
On likewise human life is truly blest,
By gifts and timely aid to the distressed.”