Page images


No. II.


We British-born are certainly, of primrose now at peep of Spring all the inhabitants of earth, the most shakes its yellow leaflets to gladden highly-favoured children of heaven. the fairies dancing round their Queen, Let us feel that we are so, not in in annual celebration of the melting pride, but in humility; let our gra- of the last wreath of snow. This is titude be love, and our love sym- an age of poetry, and therefore must pathy with the character and genius take delight in poetry-let the strains of all our brethren of mankind, of it loves, whether of higher or of lowwhatever colour, and under every er mood, come whencesoever they climate. Our character and genius, may-whether now first rising from in this the most fortunate of all the isles shadowing the remotest seas of Fortunate Isles, have grown great the sunset, or born long ago in the under the sacred shelter of Trees kingdoms of the Orient, but their and Towers, planted or built by the music brought now over the waves holy hands of Liberty and Religion. to mingle with that of the sweet The sun has not been suffered to singers native to the West. Shall hurt them by day, nor the moon by we not delight in the inspiration of night, so tempered has been the genius that two thousand years ago spirit of our beautiful native sky won the ear of Asia, and charmed, even in its tempests. Wars have with a sweet reflection of their been among us, long and loud, and own country's life, the hearts of blood has flowed like water ; but the Hindus, whose whole history for intervals, neither short nor far seems to us a kind of glimmering between, have the regions assigned poetry, in which interesting realities us by Providence, enjoyed the sun. are too often shrouded in elusive shine and the airs of peace-sun- fancies, but which, in their Drama, shine sometimes settling down as if shews how Fiction can embody aud it would endure for ever-airs often embalm Truth, and preserve it from wandering in their joy, as it every decay, for ever lovely in all eyes spot they visited were itself a home that desire nothing lovelier than the fit for the very sweetestin a perpetual lineaments of nature? paradise. Renovation has been ever That there is a Hindu Drama, and accompanying decay- and out of

a noble one, was hardly known in death, and the ashes of death, have England till Professor H. Wilson arisen, brighter and bolder, new published his Select Specimens; and forms of life. In the spirit of each how few people in England even succeeding age the good and wise now know any thing more about have still felt there was much over it than what we shewed by exwhich to mourn; but Hope never tracts and analysis of the beautiful left our patriot-prophets; their gift- Romance of Vikrama and Urvasi, or ed eyes, piercing the thickest gloom, the Hero and the Nymph ? Many saw"far off the coming shine" of some thousands must have been surprised destined glory; and now, after all to find so much of finest fancy and those alternations, and revolutions of purest feeling in a poetry which which darkened the weak-eyed and they had before supposed was all astounded the faint-hearted, who emptiness or inflation--like air-bubdare say that we are degenerate bles, bright perhaps with variegated from the ancestors whom all the colours, but breaking at a touch-or world called a heroic race--that our like ill-assorted bunches of gaudy present is dimmed by their pastor and flaring flowers, fit only for the deny that it gives promise of a still few hours of a holiday shew, faded greater future ? Imagination dead! and scentless ere nightfall, as 80 You may as well say that all our many weeds. They "wondered to oaks are doddered, and that not a see how genius, in spite of the many

debasing superstitions which they -one of the most solemn rites of thought had killed all genius, bad the Hindus in ancient times,) having there the happy and heaven-taught attained the age of a hundred years art to beautify nature-and that the and ten days, he entered the fatal Hindus have a Shakspeare in their fire. Violent was he in war, and Kalidasa—such a Shakspeare as was ready to encounter with his single possible to humanity so existing-for arm the elephant of his adversary; as the people are so must be their yet he was void of wrath ; eminent poet-his inspiration coming from among those skilled in the Vedas, and communion between his heart and affluent in piety-a Prince was Su. theirs and though we call it hea- dra.” veply—and though in one sense it He wrote the Toy-cart; and when be even so-yet of verity born of did he flourish ? Some think about earth.

the end of the second century after That Drama was of the loves of Christ; the traditional chronology an Apsara, or one of the Nymphs of places him about a century before Heaven, sentenced by a heavenly our era. But Professor Wilson rightcurse to become the consort of a ly observes, that the place which the mortal ; that mortal was Sun-and- Mrichchakati holds in the dramatic Moon descended; his chariot could literature of all nations will be cleave the sky--instinct with spi- thought matter of more interest by rit - like an eagle on the wing most readers than its antiquity or and in his course Pururavas ac- historical importance. That it is a companied the Sun. But now we curious and interesting picture of are on the soil of the common earth, national manners, every one will in "the light of common day,” readily admit; and it is not the less among the life of common creatures valuable in this respect, that it is -and you will wonder to feel that free from all exterior influence or you are yourself a Hindu. Yes, you adulteration. It is a portrait purely are a Brahman-your name is Cha. Indian. rudatta-and you are the hero-10 The Manager, in the Prelude, tells great hero after all-of the Toy. us that in Avanti lived a young Brahcart. Nay, what is better-a man, man of distinguished rank, but of and a good one-and fit to shew your exceeding poverty-by name Chaface either by the Hoogley or the rudatta. Of his many excellences, Ganges, the Tweed or the Thames. a courtezan, Vasantasena by name, For on the banks of one and all-in became enamoured; and the story spite of all jugglery-it is felt that of their loves is the subject of King An honest man's the noblest work of

Sudra's Drama, which will exhibit

" the infamy of wickedness, the vilGod.”

lany of law, the efficacy of virtue, But who wrote the Drama with and the triumph of faithful love." the magnificent name of the Toy- What better ends can the legitimate cart? A King. For hear the Manager drama bave in view ? And it is a lein the Prelude.“ There was a poet gitimate drama, in Ten Acts, giving whose gait was that of an elephant, a picture of Hindu domestic life-its whose eyes resembled those of the manners and its morals--in much difchakora (the Greek partridge), ferent from ours, but exhibiting the whose countenance was like the full power of the same passions, for moon, and who was of stately person, good or for evil, and the authority amiable manners, and profound ve- of Conscience presiding over theni racity; of the Kshetriya race, and all--and that, too, majestically, in distinguished by the appellation Su- the midst of the most trying and DRA; he was well versed in the Rig appalling miseries. The state of and the SamaVedas, in mathematical society represented is one, Mr Wilsciences, in the elegant arts, and the son says, “sufficiently advanced to management of elephants. By the be luxurious and corrupt, and is favour of Siva he enjoyed eyes certainly very far from offering a uninvaded by darkness, and beheld flattering similitude, although not his son seated on the throne; after without some attractive features.” performing the exalted Aswamedha, There is meanness, baseness, cow, (the emblematic sacrifice of a horse ardice, and cruelty'; but generosity too, honour, courage, and a forgiving own poverty, and believes that he is spirit; and at the close, we cannot despised; a natural mistake in the but feel that Sudra deserves to stand mind of a magnanimous man, who had high among Royal authors—and that once been munificent. For knowing happy must have been the subjects of that the source of his bounties bad such a King. Gibbon, we think it been dried up, and that the streams was, who sneeringly said that 'twas could flow no more, he doubted uot, not easy to believe that the wisdom from his knowledge of the ingratiof Solomon could have been pos- tude of human nature, that the past sessed by one who was a Jew and a would be forgotten, and contempt King. Sudra was a Hindu and a accumulate on the head of one once King, and lived in a palace; but of so rich and now so poor, For pubhis own high heart he bad learned lic opinion is shaken by such a the same wisdom, that“ from heaven change. Yet he is as far as may descended on the low-roofd house be from a misanthrope ; and it is of Socrates.” He taught in the Toy, manifest that were he again wealthy, cart, that nothing was good but vir- his hand would be as lavish as ever. tue. The character of Charudatta is He is very sensitive, but not in throughout preserved in all he says, the least soured; and his strength does, or suffers, and without the of mind under all trials shews that slightest tendency to exaggeration; misfortune had not taken away the the charm of the whole being a props on which his character had sinple single-mindedness, and a been borne up, but merely the means trustful integrity which never for of being in outward act what he still a moment is he in danger of let. is in his own inward spirit--a man ting go, and which being in him re- whose happiness lies in making others ligion, appears in worst extremities happy-and what higher happiness sublime. Environed with death and can there be either for Brahman or its most frightful accompaniments, Christian' on that side of the grave he appears - Hindu as he is-sup- where all miseries grow rankly, and ported by the resignation and faith their seed seems sometimes to be almost of a Christian martyr. When- scattered far and wide over the fairever he appears, during the progress est fields where what we call joys are of the drama, all ranks of men, and trying to grow-even by airs so soft all kinds of characters, do honour to and sweet, that one might well behis virtues; and his name is never lieve they were breathed from heaonce mentioned from beginning to end but with praise. Yet he is de- Here is the Brahman: pressed by the consciousness of his (The scene is supposed to represent a street on one side, and on the other the first

court of Charudatta's house. The outside of the house is also seen in the part next the street.)

MAITREYA enters the court with a piece of cloth in his hand. Truly, Maitreya, your condition is sad enough, and well qualified to subject you to be picked up in the street, and sed by strangers. In the days of Charudatta's prosperity, I was accustomed to stuff myself, till I could eat no more, on scented dishes, until I breathed perfume; and sat lolling at yonder gateway, dyeing my fingers like a painter's by dabbling amongst the coloured comfits, or cbewing the cud at leisure, like a high-fed city bull. Now in the season of his poverty, I wander about from house to house, like a tame pigeon, to pick up such crumbs as I can get. I am now sent by his dear friend Churabuddha, with this garment that has, lain amongst jasmine Aowers, till it is quite scented by them : it is for Charudatta's wearing, when he has finished his devotions-Oh, here be comes; he is presenting the oblation to the Household Gods.


Char. (With a sigh.) Alas, how changed; the offering to the Gods,

That swans and stately storks, in better time
About my threshold flocking, bore away,
Now a scant tribute to the insect tribe,

1 Falls midst rank grass, by worms to be devour'd. (Sits down.) Mai. I will approach the respectable Charudatta : Health to you, may you prosper.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Char, Maitreya, friend of all seasons, welcome, sit you down, Mai. As you command. (Sits down.) This garment, perfumed by the jasmines it has lain among t, is sent to you, by your friend Churabuddha, to be worn by you at the close of your devotions,

Char. (Takes it, and appears thoughtful.)
Mai. On what do you meditate ?
Char. My friend

The happiness that follows close on sorrow,
Shows like a lamp that breaks upon the night.
But he that falls from affluence to poverty

May wear the human semblance, but exists

A vifeless form alone.
Mai. Which think you preferable, then-death or poverty ?
Char. Had I the choice,

Death, and not poverty, were my election :
To die is transient suffering; to be poor

Interminable anguish. Mai. Nay, never heed--it is but a trial-you will become more eminent than ever, and although your kind friends have consumed your property, it may recover, like the moon, which grows to fulness from the slender fragments to which the daily draughes of the Gods for half a month reduce it. Char. I do not, trust me, grieve for my lost wealth: /,

But that the guest no longer seeks the dwelling, vaniļ
Wnence wealth bas vanisb’d, does, I own, amict metab, kuin y
Like the ungrateful bees, who wanton dy 1974,17
The elephant's broad front, when thick congeals with it is I

The dried up dew, they visit me no more, in Mai. Tie sons of slaves! Your guest is ever ready to make a morning meal of a fortune. He is like the cow.boy, who, apprehensive of the virana grass, drives his herds from place to place in the thicket, and sets them feed always in fresh pasa ture.

si fe, ubuill --164/46 11! Char. "Tis true. I think not of my wasted fortune. As fale decrees, so riches come and vanish, w 141181 bisrinda to Bengali

I Donibi91 511

1:10 But I lament to find the love of friends Hangs all unstrung, because a man is

12 1{ silt inh 169qq6 911 19 / > And then with poverty comes disrespect ;

mon to exubi llocsmoth 4.11 to From disrespect does self-dependence fail;

O'Tod ob ,31910816d to chui ! Then scorn and sorrow, following, overwhelm 7160 ou bas : a90thy vi The intellect; and when the judgment fails, nav 4 most heroitiran na

The being perishes : and thus from poverty 3d 147 9-ing How thirt Dilan Each ill that pains humanity proceeds.

o marion-103 gitt yd 692470 Mai. Ah, well, it is but waste of thought to send it after the wealth hunters-we bave had enough of this subject. Char. But poverty is aye the curse of thought.

It is our enemy's reproach-the theme
Oí scorn to our best friends and dearest kin.
I had abjured the world, and sought the hermitage,
Bat that my wife had shared in my distress-
Alas! the fires of sorrow in the heart
Glow impotent; they pain, but burn not.
My friend, I have already made oblation
Unto the Household Gods-Go you to where
The four roads meet, and there present it

To the Great Mothers.
Mai. Not I indeed.
u Char. Why not?

Mai. Of what use is it? You have worshipped the Gods : What have they done for you? It is labour in vain to bestow upon them adoration. Char. Speak not profanely. It is our duty-.

and the Gods
Undoubtedly are pleased with what is offer’d
In lowliness of spirit, and with reverence
In thought, and deed, and pious self-denial :
Go, therefore, and present the offering.




Maitreya, who is also a Brahman, thus describes the profession of Vathe friend and companion of Charu- santasena. “ Why, you are quite datta, and the Vidushaka or Gracioso out of character : the dwelling of a of the piece, (a character of mixed harlot is the free resort of youth ; a shrewdness and simplicity, with an courtezan is like a creeper that affectionate disposition,) hesitates to grows by the road-side-her person go, alleging that the royal road is is an article for sale-her love a thing crowded with loose persons, with that money will buy, and her wel. cut-throats, courtiers, and courte- come is equally bestowed upon the zans—and that amongst such a set amiable and disgusting. The sage he will fare like the unhappy mouse and the idiot, the Brahman and the that fell into the clutches of thesnake, outcast, all bathe in the same stream, which was lying in ambush for the and the crow and the peacock perch frog. Cries are heard behind the upon the branches of the same scenes, and Vasantasena appears, creeper. The Brahmar, the Kshepursued by Samsthanaka, the king's triya, the Vaisya, and all of every brother-in-law, along with the Vita, caste are ferried over in the same or parasite companion and minis. boat, and like the boat, the creeper, ter of his pleasures, and his ser- and the stream, the courtezan is vant. This Prince, an ignorant, equally accessible to all." frivolous, and cruel coxcomb,” is And is this the heroine of a moral enamoured of the beautiful Cour. drama? Even so-the heroine of tezan, and wooes hier after a royal the Toy-cart; and despicable a thing fashion. “I have called her," quoth as you may think her, even from he to the Vita," the taper lash of your eyes, before all the play is over, that filcher of broad pieces, Kama; haply she may draw tears. To these the blue-bottle, the figurante, the brutal words she meekly replies, puy-nosed untameable shrew. I have " What you say may be just-but termed her love's dining dish-the believe me, merit alone, not brutal gulf of the poor man's substance- violence, inspires love." the walking frippery--the hussey- Vasantasena is a courtezan; but the baggage_the wanton. I have ad- we are not, says the learned and dressed her by all these pretty names, enlightened Translator, “ to underand yet she will have nothing to say stand by that name a female who to me." The Vita, too, wastes his disregarded the obligations of law eloquence in vain. “You fly like or the lessons of virtue; but a chathe female crane that starts away racter reared by the state of manners from the sound of thunder. The unfriendly to the admission of wedtrembling pendants in your ears toss ded females into society, and opening agitated against your cheeks, and it only at the expense of reputation make such music as the lute to a to women, who were trained for as. master's touch. Believe me, you sociation with men, by personal and look like the guardian goddess of the mental accomplishments to which the city, as round your slender waist matron was a stranger. The Vesya sparkles with starlike gems that tink of the Hindus was the Hetera of the ling zone-and your countenance is Greeks. Without the talents of Aspapale with terror.” The poor girl calls sia, or the profligacy of Lais, Vasanfor her female attendants—“Pullava! tasena is a gentle, affectionate being, Parapuria !” and the King's brotherwho, with the conventions of society in in-law, much alarmed, says to the her favour, unites, as the Hetera often Vita, "Eh! sir! sir! Men? men ?" did, accomplishments calculated to Buton being assured that they are wo- dazzle, with qualities of the heart, men-women-he heroically draws which raise her above the contempt his sword, and exclaims, " Who is that, in spite of all precaution, falls upafraid I am a hero-a match for a on her situation. The defective eduhundred of them-I would take them cation of the virtuous portion of the like Duhsasana, by the hair, and, as sex, and their consequent uninterestyou shall see, with one touch of ing character, held out an inducemy well-sharpened sword, ofl

' goes ment to the unprincipled masters your head.” She implores mercy, both of Greek and Hindu society, to and he answers, “ You may live. rear a class of females who should The Vita again uses his arts, and supply those wants which rendered

« PreviousContinue »