In his poetic translation of the Mahabharata called The Mahabharata: The Epic of Ancient India, Romesh Chunder Dutt (1848 – 1909) gives an account of Draupadi’s svayamvara (the ceremony in which a girl of royal bloodline and marriageable age selects a husband from a group of eligible suitors). Draupadi rejects Karna by declaring that she would not wed a lowborn—thus, Karna was denied the opportunity to prove his talent in archery.
Here’s an excerpt from Dutt’s translation:
"Uprose Karna‚ peerless archer, proudest of the archers he, And he went and strung the weapon, fixed the arrows gallantly,
Stood like Surya in his splendor and like Agni in his flame,—
Pandu's sons in terror whispered, Karna sure must hit the aim!
But in proud and queenly accents Drupad's queenly daughter said: 'Monarch's daughter, born a Kshatra, Suta's son I will not wed.’
Karna heard with crimsoned forehead, left the emprise almost done, Left the bow already circled, silent gazed upon the Sun!"
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