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Short poem

Romesh Chunder Dutt (1848-1909)

Agni, or the Fire

              1   Lighted Agni flames forth high,
              2   Flings a radiance on the sky,
              3   And his lustre, glorious, bright,
              4   Mingles with the morning light.
              5And Visvavārā chants her holy prayer,
              6Faces the east, and brings her gifts to Fire!

              7   Lord of Eternity! Lord of skies!
              8   Presiding Lord of sacrifice!
              9   Agni! Whoso worships thee,
            10   By him with thy blessings be!
            11Whose blazing altar sacred Agni lights, --
            12Affluence dwells with him and pious rites.

            13   Agni! On the altar shine,
            14   Flames and radiance bright be thine!
            15   Grant us wealth with thy red flame,
            16   Quell our foes, increase our fame!
            17Invest our homes with blessings from above,
            18And link our men and wives in bonds of love!

            19   Agni! On the altar shine,
            20   Flames and radiance bright be thine!
            21   And I lift my pious hymn
            22   To thy bright effulgent beam!
            23Bounteous god! Red lustre e'er be thine,
            24Flame on our altar, glorious and divine!

            25   With pious hands we light thy flame,
            26   With pious lips we chant thy name!
            27   Invoke unto our sacrifice
            28   The glorious bright gods of the skies!
            29For thou art Priest in every pious rite,
            30And makest gifts to gods with radiance bright!

            31   Then let us unto Agni pray,
            32   And he our offerings will convey!
            33   And let us unto Agni sing,
            34   And he the radiant gods will bring!
            35Priest and God! to thee we humbly pray,
            36Our pious offerings to the gods convey!


1] "Rig Veda, V. 28" (Dutt's note.)
"Agni is the god of Fire; the Ignis of the Latins, the Ogni of the Sclavonians." -- Muir's Sanscrit Texts.
"All the names of the Fire and the Fire-gods were carried away by the Western Aryans; and we have Prometheus answering to Pramantha, Phoronus to Bharanyu, and the Latin Vulcanus to the Sanscrit Ulka." -- Cox's Mythology of Aryan Nations.
The hymn translated below is one of peculiar interest, because it is said to have been composed by a pious lady, Visvavârâ." (Dutt's notes.)

29] "`As no sacrifice could be performed without fire, Agni, or fire, was called the invoker of the gods.' -- Civilisation in Ancient India, vol. i. p. 85." (Dutt's note.)

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Romesh Chunder Dutt, Lays of Ancient India: Selections from Indian Poetry Rendered into English Verse (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1894): 20-22. British Library 2318.h.9
First publication date: 1894
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14

Rhyme: aabbcc

Other poems by Romesh Chunder Dutt