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Late, gloomy winter chill'd the sullen air, his corporeal nature, and reducing him to a mental Till Soliman arose, and all was fair.
essence; and hence his chief dominion is over the Soft in his reign, the notes of love resound, minds of mortals, or such deities as he is permitted to And pleasure's rosy cup goes freely round.
subdue. Here on the hank, which mantling vines o'ershade,
THE HYMN. Be gay : too soon the flowers of spring will fade.
What potent god from Agra's orient bowers † May this rude lay from age to age remain, Floats through the lucid air, whilst living flowers A true memorial of this lovely train.
With sunny twine the vocal arbours wreath,
With gems of dew his musky tresses.
And hallow thee, and kiss thy shrine.
“Know'st thou not me?" Celestial sounds I hear!
* Know'st thou not me?” Ah, spare a mortal ear! THE ARGUMENT.
Behold”—My swimming eyes entranced I raise The Hindoo god, to whom the following poein is ad. But O! they sink before th' excessive blaze. dressed, appears evidently the same with the Grecian Yes, son of Maya, yes I know Eros and the Roman Cupido; but the Indian description Thy bloomy shafts and cany bow, of his person and arms, his family, attendants, and attri- Cheeks with youthful glory beaming butes, has new and peculiar beauties.
Locks in braids ethereal streaming, According to the mythology of Hindoostan, he was Thy scaly standard, thy mysterious arms, he son of Maya, or the general attracting power, and married to Retty, or Affection; and his bosom friend is And all thy pains and all thy charms. Bessent or Spring: he is represented as a beautiful God of each lovely sight, each lovely sound, youth, sometimes conversing with his mother and con: sort, in the midst of his gardens and temples; sometimes Soul-kindling, world-inflaming, stary-crown'd, riding by moonlight on a parrot or lory, and attended by Eternal Cama! Or doth Smara bright, dancing girls or nymphs, the foremost of whom bears Or proud Ananga give thee more delight? bis colours, which are a fish on a red ground. His fa. Whate'er thy seat, whate'er thy name, rourite place of resort is a large tract of country round Seas, earth, and air, thy reign proclaim : Agra, and principally the plains of Matra, where Krishen
Wreathy smiles and roseate pleasures also, and the nine Gopia, who are clearly the Apollo and mouses of the Greeks, usually spend the night with
Are thy richest, sweetest treasures. Lusic and dance. His bow of sugar-cane, or flowers All animals to thee their tribute bring, with a string of bees, and his five arrows, each pointed And hail thee universal king with an Indian blossom of a heating quality, are allegories equally new and beautiful. He has at least twenty. Thy consort mild, Affection ever true, three names, most of which are introduced in the hymn: Graces thy side, her vest of glowing hue ; that of Cam, or Cama, signifies desire, a sense which it And in her train twelve blnoming girls advance, also bears in ancient and modern Persian ; and it is pos. Touch golden strings, and knit the mirthful dance sible that the words Dipuc and Cupid, which have the
Thy dreaded implements they bear, seine signification, may have the same origin, since
And wave them in the scented air, se know that the old Hetruscans, from whom great part of the Roman language and religion was derived, and
Each with pearls her neck adorning, whose system had a near affinity with that of the Per.
Brighter than the tears of morning. sians and Indians, used to write their lines alternately Thy crimson ensign, which before them flies, forwards and backwards, as furrows are made by the Decks with new stars the sapphire skies. plough; and, though the two last letters of Cupido may only be the grammatical termination as in libido and God of the flowery shafts and flowery bow, capedo, yet the primary root of cupio is contained in the Delight of all above and all below! first three letters. The seventh stanza alludes to the Thy loved companion, constant from his birth, bold attempt of this deity to wound the great god Maha.
In heaven clep'd Bessent, and gay Spring on earth, deo, for which he was punished by a flame consuming
Weaves thy green robe and flaunting bowers,
(Sweet the gift, and sweet the giver!) *** Whoever thou art, know that the black gusts of And bids the many-plumed warbling throng autumn had seized the garden ; but the king of the Bursi the pent blossoms with their song, world again appeared, dispensing justice to all: in his reign the happy cupbearer desired and obtained the He bends the luscious cane, and twists the string dowing wine. Be cheerful," &c.
With bees, how sweet! but ah, how keen their ^ "By these strains I hoped to celebrate this delightful valley: may they be a memorial to its inhabitants, He with five flowerets tips thy ruthless darts,
sting! and remind them of this assembly, and these fair maids ! Thou art a nightingale with a sweet voice, 0 Mesihi,
Which through five senses pierce enraptured when thou walkest with the damsels, whose cheeks are
hearts : like roses. Be cheerful; be full of mirth; for the Strong Chumpa, rich in odorous gold, spring passes soon away; it will not last !"
Warm Amer, nursed in heavenly mould,
Dry Nagkeser, in silver smiling,
several books of Tasso, and to the dramas of Metastasio, Hot Kiticum our sense beguiling,
are obvious instances; but, that any interest may be And last, to kindle fierce the scorching flame,
taken in the two hymns addressed to Pracriti, under Loveshaft, which gods bright Bela name.
different names, it is necessary to render them intelligible
by a previous explanation of the mythological allusions, Can men resist thy power, when Krishen yields,
which could not but occur in them. Krishen, who still in Matra's holy fields
Iswara, or Isa, and Isani, or Isi, are unquestionably
the Osiris and Isis of Egypt; for, though neither a Tunes harps immortal, and to strains divine
resemblance of names, nor a similarity of character, Dances by moonlight with the Gopia nine ? would separately prove the identity of Indian and Egyp. But, when thy daring arm untamed
tian deities, yet, when they both concur, with the addition At Mahadeo a loveshaft aim'd,
of numberless corroborating circumstances, they form Heaven shook, and, smit with stony wonder,
a proof little short of demonstration. The female divi. Told his deep dread in bursts of thunder,
nity, in the mythological systems in the East, represents
the active power of the male; and that Isi means active Whilst on thy beauteous limbs an azure fire Blazed forth, which never must expire.
nature appears evidently from the word s'acta, which is derived from s'acti, or power, and applied to those
Hindoos who direct their adoration principally to that O thou for ages born, yet ever young
goddess: this feminine character of Pracriti, or created For ages may thy Brahmin's lay be sung !
nature, is so familiar in most languages, and even in And, when thy lory spreads his emerald wings our own, that the gravest English writers, on the most To waft thee high above the towers of kings, serious subjects of religion and philosophy, speak of her
Whilst o'er thy throne the moon's pale light operations as if she were actually an animated being; Pours her soft radiance through the night,
but such personifications are easily misconceived by the And to each floating cloud discovers
multitude, and have a strong tendency to polytheism.
The principal operations of nature are, not the absolute The haunts of bless'd or joyless lovers,
annihilation and new creation of what we call material Thy mildest influence to thy bard impart,
substances, but the temporary extinction and reproducTo warm, but not consume, his heart.
tion, or rather, in one word, the transmutation of forms:
united with Isi, represent the secondary causes, whatever TWO HYMNS TO PRACRITI.
they may be, of natural phenomena, and principally those
of temporary destruction and regeneration ; but the THE ARGUMENT.
Indian Isis appears in a variety of characters, especially In all ou
conversations with learned Hindoos, we find in those of Parvati, Cali, Durga, and Bhavani, which bear them enthusiastic admirers of poetry, which they con.
a strong resemblance to the Juno of Homer, to Hecate, sider as a divine art, that had been practised for number.
to the armed Pallas, and to the Lucretian Venus. less ages in heaven, before it was revealed on earth by
The name Parvati took its rise from a wild poetical fic Valmic, whose great heroic poem is fortunately pre
tion. Himalaya, or the Mansion of Snow, is the title given served: the Brahmins of course prefer that poetry, by the Hindoos to that vast chain of inountains, which which they believe to have been actually inspired; litnits India to the north, and embraces it with its eastern while the Vaidyas, (who are in general perfect gramma.
and western arms, both extending to the Ocean; the for. rians and good poets, but are not suffered to read any of mer of those arms is called Chandrasec'hara, or the the sacred writings except the Ayurveda, or Body of Moon's Rock; and the second, which reaches as far Medical Tracts) speak with rapture of their innumera.
west as the mouths of the Indus, was named by the an. ble popular poems, epic, lyric, and dramatic. which cients Montes Parveti. These hills are held sacred by were composed by men not literally inspired, but called, the Indians, who suppose them to be the terrestrial metaphorically, the sons of Sereswati, or Minerva;
haunt of the god Iswara. The mountain Himalaya, being among whom the Pandits of all sects, nations, and de- per sonified, is represented as a powerful monarch, whose grees, are unanimous in giving the prize of glory to Ca.
wife was Mena : their daughter is named Parvati, or lidasa, who Nourished in the court of Vicramaditya, Mountain-born, and Durga, or of difficult access; but the fifty-seven years before Christ. He wrote several dra Hindoos believe her to have been married to Siva in a mas, one of which, entitled Sacontala, is in my posses. pre-existent state, when she bore the name of Sati. The sion; and the subject of it appears to be as interesting daughter of Himalaya had two sons; Ganesa, or the Lorul as the composition is beautiful; besides these he pub of Spirits, adored as the wisest of deities, and always lished the Meghaduta, or cloud-messenger, and the invoked at the beginning of every literary work, and Nalodaya, or rise of Nala, both elegant love tales: the Cumara, Scanda, or Carticeya, commander of the celes
tial armies. Raghuvansa, an heroic poem; and the Cumara Sambhava, or birth of Cumara, which supplied me with ma
The pleasing fiction of Cama, the Indian Cupid, and his terials for the first of the following odes. I have not friend Vasanta, or the spring, has been the subject of indeed yet read it; since it could not be correctly copied another poem: and here it must be remembered, that the for me during the short interval in which it is in my pow. god of Love is named also Smara, Candarpa, and Ananga. er to amuse myself with literature : but I have heard One of his arrows is called Mellica, the Nyctanthes of the story told, both in Sanscrit and Persian, by many
our botanists, who very unadvisedly reject the vernacular Pandits, who had no communication with each other; names of most Asiatic plants: it is beautifully introduced and their outline of it coincided so perfectly, that I ara by Cálidasa into this lively couplet ; convinced of its correctness: that outline is here filled
Mellicamucule bhati gunjanmattamadhuvratah, up, and exhibited in a lyric form, partly in the Indian,
Prayane panchacanasya sanc'bamapurayanniva. partly in the Grecian taste; and great will be my pleasure, " The intoxicated bee shines and murmurs in the fresh when I can again find time for such amusements, in read blown Mellica, like him who gives breath to a white conch ing the whole poem of Calidassa, and in comparing my in the procession of the god with five arrows." descriptions with the original composition. To anticipate A critic to whom Cálidasa repeated this verse, observed, the story in a preface, would be to destroy the interest that the comparison was not exact: since the bee sits that may be taken in the poem: a disadvantage attending on the blossoin itself, and does not murmur at the end of all prefatory arguments, of which those prefixed to the the tube, like him who blows a conch. "I was aware a
that," said the poet, "and, therefore, described the bee as own language, I cannot refrain from subjoining the first intoxicated : a drunken musician would blow the shell at Nemean Ode,* not only in the same measure as nearly as the wrong end." There was more than wit in this answer; possible, but almost word for word with the original; it was a just rebuke to a dull critic; for poetry delights those epithets and phrases only being necessarily added, in general images, and is so far from being a perfect imi. which are printed in Italic letters. tation, that a scrupulous exactness of descriptions and situiles, by leaving nothing for the imagination to supply, never fails to diminish or destroy the pleasure of every
TO DURGA. reader who has an imagination to be gratified. It may here be observed, that Nymphæa, not Lotos, is
I. I. the generic name in Europe of the flower consecrated to From thee begins the solemn air, Isis: the Persians know by the name of Nilufer that species of it which the botanists ridiculously call Nelum Adored Ganésá ; next, thy sire we praise, bo, and which is remarkable for its curious pericarpium, (Him, from whose red clustering hair where each of the seeds contains in miniature the leaves A new-born crescent sheds propitious rays, of a perfect vegetable. The lotos of Homer was probably Fair as Gangá's curling foam,) the sugar-cane, and that of Linnæus is a papilionaceous Dread Iswara ; who loved o'er awful mountains, plant ; but he gives the same name to another species of Rapt in prescience deep, to roam, the Nymphæa; and the word is so constantly applied But chiefly those, whence holy rivers gush, among us in India to the Nilufer, that any other would be bardly intelligible : the blue lotos grows in Cashmir Bright from their secret fountains, and in Persia, but not in Bengal, where we see only the And o'er the realms of Brahmá rush. red and white; and hence occasion is taken to feign, that the lotus of Hindoostan was dyed crimson by the blood
Rock above rock they ride sublime, Cuvera, mentioned in the fourteenth stanza, is the god And lose their summits in blue fields of day, of seath, supposed to reside in a magnificent city, called Fashion'd first, when rolling time Alaca ; and Vrihaspati, or the genius of the planet Jupi. Vast infant, in his golden cradle lay, ter, is the preceptor of the gods in Swerga or the firma.
Bidding endless ages run, ment: he is usually represented as their orator, when any message is carried from them to one of their superior and wreathe their giant heads in snows eternal deities.
Gilt by each revolving sun; The lamentations of Reti, the wife of Cama, fill a whole Though neither morning beam, nor noontide glare, boek in the Sanscrit poem, as I am informed by my teach. In wintry sign or vernal, er, a learned Vaidya; who is restrained only from read. Their adamantine strength impair ; ing the book, which contains a description of the nuptials ; for the ceremonies of a marriage where Brahma himself
I. 3. officiated as the father of the bridegroom, are too holy to
Nor e'en the fiercest summer heat be known by any but Brahmins.
The achievements of Durga in her martial character Could thrill the palace, where their monarch reign'd as the patroness of Virtue, and her battle with a demon On his frost impearled seat, in the shape of a buffalo, are the subject of many episodes (Such height had unremitted virtue gain'd!) ie the Puranas and Cávyas, or sacred and popular poems; Himálaya, to whom a lovely child ; bue a full account of them would have destroyed the Sweet Parvati, sage Ména bore, unity of the ode, and they are barely alluded to in the Who now in earliest bloom, saw heaven adore last stanza.
Her charms; earth languish, till she smiled. It seemed proper to change the measure, when the goddess was to be addressed as Bhavani, or the power
II. 1. of secundity; but such a change, though very common in Sanxerit, has its inconveniences in European poetry : & But she to love no tribute paid ; distinct hymn is therefore appropriated to her in that Great Iswara her pious cares engaged : capacity; for the explanation of which we need only Him, who gods and fiends dismay'd, premise, that Lacshmi is the goddess of abundance; that She sooth'd with offerings meek, when most be the Cetata is a fragrant and beautiful plant of the Diæcian
raged. kind, known to botanists by the name Pandanus; and that the Durgótsava, or great festival of Bhavani at the On a morn, when, edged with light, close of the rains, ends in throwing the image of the god. The lake-born flowers their sapphire cups expanded dess into the Ganges, or other sacred waters.
Laughing at the scatter'd night, I am not conscious of having left unexplained any A vale remote and silent pool she sought, dificult allusion in the two poems; and have only to add Smooth-footed, lotos-handed, (legt European critics should consider a few of the images And braids of sacred blossoms wrought; as inapplicable to Indian manners) that the ideas of snow and ice are familiar to the Hindoos; that the mountains
II. 2. of Higálaga may be clearly discerned from a part of Bengal; that the Grecian Hæmus is the Sanscrit word Not for her neck, which, unadornd, kainas, meaning snowy; and that funeral urns may be Bade envying antelopes their beauties hide: Been perpetually on the banks of the river.
Art she knew not, or she scorn'd; The two hymns are neither translations from any Nor had her language e'en a name for pride, other poems, nor imitations of any; and have nothing of To the god, who, fix'd in thought, Pindar in them except the measures, which are nearly Sat in a crystal cave new worlds designing, the same, syllable for syllable, with those of the first and Softly sweet her gift she brought, second Nemean Odes: more musical stanzas might per. haps have been formed; but in every art, variety and And spread the garland o'er his shoulders broad, horely are considerable sources of pleasure. The Where serpenis huge lay twining, style and manner of Pindar have been greatly mistaken; Whose hiss the round creation awed. and that a distinct idea of them may be conceived by such, as have not access to that inimitable poet in his
•See p. 58.
IV. 3. lle view'd, hals-smiling, half-severe,
There on a crag whose icy rift The prostrate maid-that moment through the rocks Hurl'd night and horror o'er the pool profound, He who decks the purple year,
That with madding eddy swift Vasanta, vain of odoriserous locks,
Revengeful bark'd his rugged base around, With Cama, horsed on infant breezes flew . The beauteous hermit sat; but soon perceived (Who knows not Cama, nature's king?)
A Brahmin old before her stand,
Who, faltering, ask'd for whom she grieved.
“What graceful youth, with accen
cents mild, That Smara pointed with transcendant art, Eyes like twin stars, and lips like early mom, Glanced with unimagined speed,
Has thy pensive heart beguiled ?" And tinged its blooming barb in Siva's heart : “No mortal youth (she said, with modest scorn) Glorious flower, in heaven proclaim'd
E'er beguiled my guiltless heart :
Bloom celestial could impart.
Dread Siva, source of glory,
Which on these rocks must gleam no more!"
“ Rare object of a damsel's love, But nature felt the pain : heaven's blazing eye (The wizard bold replied,) who, rude and wild, Sank absorb’d in sad eclipse,
Leaves eternal bliss above,
Mounted on his milk-white bull!
Who from vases ever full
Rich caves, and mansion glorious
Of young Cuvera, loved by all ;
“But spurn that sullen wayward god, Accomplice rash, a thundering voice decreed : That three-eyed monster, hideous, fierce, untamed “Withering live in joyless gloom,
Unattired, ill-girt, anshod_" While ten gay signs the dancing seasons lead. "Such fell impiety, (the nymph exclaim'd,) Thy flowers, perennial once, now annual made, Who speaks, must agonize; who hears, must die; The fish and ram shall still adorn:
Nor can this vital frame sustain
Death may atone the blasphemy."
She spoke, and o'er the risted rocks But Siva from terrestrial haunts had fled :
Her lovely form with pious frenzy threw;
But beneath her floating locks
Knitting close their silky plumes,
Till in clouds of rich perfumes
Where streams of glory shedding,
The well-feign’d Bráhmin, Siva, stood.
Gods alone to gods reveal
In what stupendous notes th' immortals woo. But nor art nor counsel sage,
Straight the sons of light prepared
Which th' empyreal army shared ;
With aged eyes beholding
His daughter, empress of the spheres.
VIII 3 Whilst every lip with nectar glow'd,
Tumultuous passions whilst he spoke The bridegroom blithe his transformation told ; In heavenly bosoms mix'd their bursting fire, Round the mirthful goblet flow'd,
Scorning frigid Wisdom's yoke.
Not Siva could the charm resist;
The pearls that gush'd from Durga's eyes.
That instant through the bless'd abode, Beyond red Mangala's terrific sphere,
His youthful charms renew'd, Ananga came: Wandering o'er cerulean plains :
High on emerald plumes he rode
Nor could young Vasanta mourn
(Officious friend !) his darling lord attending, Envious of supernal powers,
Though of annual beauty shorn : Had menaced long old Meru's golden head, “Love-shasts enow one season shall supply, And Indra's beaming regions
He menaced unoffending,
To rule the rulers of the sky."
With shouts the boundless mansion rang; In routed squadrons, and his help deplored ; And, in sublime accord, the radiant choir Sons! (he said) from vengeance due
Strains of bridal rapture sang, The fiend must wield secure his fiery sword, With glowing conquest join'd and martial ire : (Thus th' unerring Will ordains)
Spring to life, triumphant son,
Helm and flaming habergeon
And edge with keen blue thunder
The blade, that shall th' oppressor cleave." VII. 3.
IX. 3. " Who bright in arms of heavenly proof,
O Durga, thou hast deign'd to shield His crest a blazing star, his diamond mail
Man's feeble virtue with celostial might, Colour'd in the rainbow's woof,
Gliding from yon jasper field, The rash invaders fiercely shall assail,
And, on a lion borne, hast braved the fight And, on a stately peacock borne, shall rush For, when the demon Nice thy realms defied, Against the dragon of the deop;
And arm'd with death each arched horn, Nor shall his thundering mace insatiate sleep, Thy golden lance, O goddess, mountain-born, Till their infernal chief it crush.”
Touch'd but the pest-He roar'd and died.
WHEN time was drown'd in sacred sleep,
And raven darkness brooded o'er the deep, At Indra's wish appear'd the soul's inflamer
Reposing on primeval pillows And, in vernal arms array'd,
Of tossing billows, Engaged (ah, thoughtless!) in the bold emprise
The forms of animated nature lay ; To tame wide nature's tamer,
Till o'er the wide abyss, where love And soften Him who shakes the skies.
Sat like a nestling dove,
From heaven's dun concave shot a golden ray. VIII. 2.
Still brighter and more bright it stream'd, See now the God, whom all adored,
Then, like a thousand suns, resistless gleam'd An ashy heap, the jest of every gale!
Whilst on the placid waters blooming,
The sky perfuming,
His azure skirts and vase of gold,
While o'er his foliage rollid
Drops, that impart Bhavani's orient bed.
Mother of gods, rich nature's queen,
Thy genial fire emblazed the bursting sceno ;