Sanskrit Messenger poems evoke the pain of separated sweethearts through the formula of an estranged lover pleading with a messenger to take a message to his or her beloved. The plea includes a lyrical description of the route the messenger will take and the message itself. The first was the Cloud Messenger, composed by Sanskrit’s finest poet, Kali·dasa, in the fifth century CE. This inspired the next, the Wind Messenger, composed in praise of King Lákshmana·sena of Gauda (Bengal) in the twelfth century by Dhoyi, one of his court poets. Numerous more followed, including the third in the CSL selection, the sixteenth-century Swan Messenger, composed in Bengal by Rupa Go·svamin, a devotee of Krishna.
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