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.