Jayadeva, Excerpt from Gita Govinda - World Poetry - 500 AP English Literature Questions to know by test day

500 AP English Literature Questions to know by test day

CHAPTER 3. World Poetry


Passage 2. Jayadeva, Excerpt from Gita Govinda


Beautiful Radha, jasmine-bosomed Radha,

All in the Spring-time waited by the wood

For Krishna fair, Krishna the all-forgetful,—

Krishna with earthly love’s false fire consuming—

And some one of her maidens sang this song:—


I know where Krishna tarries in these early days of Spring,

When every wind from warm Malay brings fragrance on its wing;

Brings fragrance stolen far away from thickets of the clove,

In jungles where the bees hum and the Koil flutes her love;

He dances with the dancers of a merry morrice one,

All in the budding Spring-time, for ’tis sad to be alone.


I know how Krishna passes these hours of blue and gold

When parted lovers sigh to meet and greet and closely hold

Hand fast in hand; and every branch upon the Vakul-tree

Droops downward with a hundred blooms, in every bloom a bee;

He is dancing with the dancers to a laughter-moving tone,

In the soft awakening Spring-time, when ’tis hard to live alone.


Where Kroona-flowers, that open at a lover’s lightest tread,

Break, and, for shame at what they hear, from white blush modest red;

And all the spears on all the boughs of all the Ketuk-glades

Seem ready darts to pierce the hearts of wandering youths and maids;

Tis there thy Krishna dances till the merry drum is done,

All in the sunny Spring-time, when who can live alone?


Where the breaking forth of blossom on the yellow Keshra-sprays

Dazzles like Kama’s sceptre, whom all the world obeys;

And Patal-buds fill drowsy bees from pink delicious bowls,

As Kama’s nectared goblet steeps in languor human souls;

There he dances with the dancers, and of Radha thinketh none,

All in the warm new Spring-tide, when none will live alone.


Where the breath of waving Madhvi pours incense through the grove,

And silken Mogras lull the sense with essences of love,—

The silken-soft pale Mogra, whose perfume fine and faint

Can melt the coldness of a maid, the sternness of a saint—

There dances with those dancers thine other self, thine Own,

All in the languorous Spring-time, when none will live alone.


Where—as if warm lips touched sealed eyes and waked them—all the bloom

Opens upon the mangoes to feel the sunshine come;

And Atimuktas wind their arms of softest green about,

Clasping the stems, while calm and clear great Jumna spreadeth out;

There dances and there laughs thy Love, with damsels many a one,

In the rosy days of Spring-time, for he will not live alone.