Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Gardener   By: (1861-1941)

Book cover

First Page:

THE GARDENER

By Rabindranath Tagore

Translated by the author from the original Bengali

1915

[Frontispiece: Rabindranath Tagore. Age 16 see tagore.jpg]

To W. B. Yeats

Thanks are due to the editor of Poetry, a Magazine of Verse , for permission to reprint eight poems in this volume.

Preface

Most of the lyrics of love and life, the translations of which from Bengali are published in this book, were written much earlier than the series of religious poems contained in the book named Gitanjali . The translations are not always literal the originals being sometimes abridged and sometimes paraphrased.

Rabindranath Tagore.

1

SERVANT. Have mercy upon your servant, my queen!

QUEEN. The assembly is over and my servants are all gone. Why do you come at this late hour?

SERVANT. When you have finished with others, that is my time. I come to ask what remains for your last servant to do.

QUEEN. What can you expect when it is too late?

SERVANT. Make me the gardener of your flower garden.

QUEEN. What folly is this?

SERVANT. I will give up my other work. I will throw my swords and lances down in the dust. Do not send me to distant courts; do not bid me undertake new conquests. But make me the gardener of your flower garden.

QUEEN. What will your duties be?

SERVANT. The service of your idle days. I will keep fresh the grassy path where you walk in the morning, where your feet will be greeted with praise at every step by the flowers eager for death. I will swing you in a swing among the branches of the saptaparna , where the early evening moon will struggle to kiss your skirt through the leaves. I will replenish with scented oil the lamp that burns by your bedside, and decorate your footstool with sandal and saffron paste in wondrous designs.

QUEEN. What will you have for your reward?

SERVANT. To be allowed to hold your little fists like tender lotus buds and slip flower chains over your wrists; to tinge the soles of your feet with the red juice of ashoka petals and kiss away the speck of dust that may chance to linger there.

QUEEN. Your prayers are granted, my servant, you will be the gardener of my flower garden.

2

"Ah, poet, the evening draws near; your hair is turning grey. "Do you in your lonely musing hear the message of the hereafter?"

"It is evening," the poet said, "and I am listening because some one may call from the village, late though it be. "I watch if young straying hearts meet together, and two pairs of eager eyes beg for music to break their silence and speak for them. "Who is there to weave their passionate songs, if I sit on the shore of life and contemplate death and the beyond?

"The early evening star disappears. "The glow of a funeral pyre slowly dies by the silent river. "Jackals cry in chorus from the courtyard of the deserted house in the light of the worn out moon. "If some wanderer, leaving home, come here to watch the night and with bowed head listen to the murmur of the darkness, who is there to whisper the secrets of life into his ears if I, shutting my doors, should try to free myself from mortal bonds?

"It is a trifle that my hair is turning grey. "I am ever as young or as old as the youngest and the oldest of this village. "Some have smiles, sweet and simple, and some a sly twinkle in their eyes. "Some have tears that well up in the daylight, and others tears that are hidden in the gloom. They all have need for me, and I have no time to brood over the afterlife. "I am of an age with each, what matter if my hair turns grey?"

3

In the morning I cast my net into the sea. I dragged up from the dark abyss things of strange aspect and strange beauty some shone like a smile, some glistened like tears, and some were flushed like the cheeks of a bride. When with the day's burden I went home, my love was sitting in the garden idly tearing the leaves of a flower... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books