Sarojini Naidu's "A Song in Spring" begins like this:

Wild bees that rifle the mango blossom,
Set free awhile from the love-god's string,
Wild birds that sway in the citron branches,
Drunk with the rich, red honey of spring,

In the first half of that stanza, the "wild bees" are "set free" from the "love-god's string".

What is the "love-god's string"? What love god is being referred to here, and what is their string? Why do the wild bees need to be "set free" from this string?

What's this line referring to?

  • If this was a Western poem, I would say that string was a typo for sting, which would clearly refer to Cupid's arrow. But for Naidu, maybe there's an Indian reference I'm missing.
    – Peter Shor
    Sep 13 at 19:57
  • 1
    And Googling shows that there is indeed a Hindu reference I'm missing
    – Peter Shor
    Sep 13 at 20:04

1 Answer 1


This is a reference to the Hindu god of love, Kama, who, like Cupid, has a magical bow with magical arrows. (Comma overload)

Here is a line from the Shiva Purana as a scriptural reference for this:

Kāma said:—


I have only five arrows that are soft and flowery. My bow is of three types. That too is flowery. The bowstring consists of bees.

So, in your line, the bees have been set free from the bow of Lord Kama. There isn't really any scriptural story where the bees escape, nor are they described as having been in captivity, so I think this is just Naidu being (as she often is) flowery.

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