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Chitra, a play in one act

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THE CHARACTERS GODS:MADANA (Eros).VASANTA (Lycoris).MORTALS:CHITRA, daughter of the King of Manipur.ARJUNA, a prince of the house of the Kurus. He is of theKshatriya or "warrior caste," and during the action is living asa Hermit retired in the forest.VILLAGERS from an outlying district of Manipur.NOTE.—The dramatic poem "Chitra" has been performed in Indiawithout scenery—the actors being surrounded by the audience.Proposals for its production here having been made to him, hewent through this translation and provided stage directions, butwished these omitted if it were printed as a book.

SCENE I ChitraART thou the god with the five darts, the Lord of Love? MadanaI am he who was the first born in the heart of the Creator. Ibind in bonds of pain and bliss the lives of men and women! ChitraI know, I know what that pain is and those bonds.—And who artthou, my lord? VasantaI am his friend—Vasanta—the King of the Seasons. Death anddecrepitude would wear the world to the bone but that I followthem and constantly attack them. I am Eternal Youth. ChitraI bow to thee, Lord Vasanta. MadanaBut what stern vow is thine, fair stranger? Why dost thou witherthy fresh youth with penance and mortification? Such a sacrificeis not fit for the worship of love. Who art thou and what is thyprayer? ChitraI am Chitra, the daughter of the kingly house of Manipur. Withgodlike grace Lord Shiva promised to my royal grandsire anunbroken line of male descent. Nevertheless, the divine wordproved powerless to change the spark of life in my mother's womb—so invincible was my nature, woman though I be. MadanaI know, that is why thy father brings thee up as his son. He hastaught thee the use of the bow and all the duties of a king. ChitraYes, that is why I am dressed in man's attire and have left theseclusion of a woman's chamber. I know no feminine wiles forwinning hearts. My hands are strong to bend the bow, but I havenever learnt Cupid's archery, the play of eyes. MadanaThat requires no schooling, fair one. The eye does its workuntaught, and he knows how well, who is struck in the heart. ChitraOne day in search of game I roved alone to the forest on the bankof the Purna river. Tying my horse to a tree trunk I entered adense thicket on the track of a deer. I found a narrow sinuouspath meandering through the dusk of the entangled boughs, thefoliage vibrated with the chirping of crickets, when of a suddenI came upon a man lying on a bed of dried leaves, across my path.I asked him haughtily to move aside, but he heeded not. Thenwith the sharp end of my bow I pricked him in contempt.Instantly he leapt up with straight, tall limbs, like a suddentongue of fire from a heap of ashes. An amused smile flickeredround the corners of his mouth, perhaps at the sight of my boyishcountenance. Then for the first time in my life I felt myself awoman, and knew that a man was before me. MadanaAt the auspicious hour I teach the man and the woman this supremelesson to know themselves....