This is my translation of Rabindranath Tagore's famous poem "Nidrita". Rabindranath Tagore (1861- 1941) was a Bengali poet, writer, music composer, and painter from Indian subcontinent. He reshaped Bengali literature and music, and Indian art as well. He was the first non-European to receive Nobel prize in Literature in 1913.
A Sleeping Beauty
Once at night in the dawn of my youth
I got up from a dream, startled.
Came outside and stood there
Gazed at all the world around.
The morning star had become very thin,
The darkness was being wiped away in the east.
In the corner of the sky the awakening had begun
Down in the Earth, the slumber was still unbroken.
In my front, lay the wide avenue for the royals,
On both sides, tall trees were lined up,
Opened my eyes, and viewed far away,
Pondered to myself –
At the break of the sun-smitten dawn, ending this night,
In a new country in the world,
Adorning a bed as white as foamy milk,
Dreamed a Princess in her sleep!
At once galloped out on my horseback,
Crossed so many countries, near and far,
Once in a grey evening
Spotted the entranceway to a country sleeping by.
No one was moving there, everyone was lying motionless,
Not a single soul was awake,
Beside a river, amid the resonance of flowing water,
The stately mansion was in a slumber!
Felt hesitant to step in there,
In case the whole country rose in a moment,
Entered the palace with caution,
An worried me strode inside.
The King was in slumber, the Queen was in slumber too,
The King’s brother slept with the Prince,
A treasured candle burned in one room,
In there the Princess dreamed a dream.
In a velvety-soft lotus-bed,
Lay her dainty body like a creeper,
Beheld at her face, not taking off eyes for a moment,
My heart felt an agony like a pang with bliss.
Strands of her hair reminded clouds,
Cloaked her shoulders heavily,
One arm of hers was lying on her breast,
The other arm retreated on her side.
The veil had tumbled on the floor,
The blouse was almost unlaced,
As if shielded by a cluster of leaves,
Were two untouched flowers of devotion.
I witnessed her, she was incomparably mesmerizing,
It was a dream in a country of slumber,
The Princess retired in a fascinating bed,
Enthralled with her own sheer charm.
Pressed my both arms, on my trembling heart,
There was no barrier to the quivering of my soul,
Seated myself on the ground, bowed my head,
Kissed on the eyes which were closed.
The two concealed stars behind those eye-lids,
Gazed intently on them,
As if wished to find out,
What were there inside a shrouded abode.
With black eye-colour, on a tree-leaf ,
Inscribed my name, where I lived,
Wrote, ” Oh my Darling, sleep-embracing Angel,
I dedicate my heart to you.”
With enormous care, with a golden thread,
Tied my message to the precious necklace of gems,
The Princess slept in the country of Slumber,
I placed the garland on her neck.
Copyright © Malabika Ray Choudhury | Year Posted 2020