페이지 이미지
PDF

and feeling as has been evinced in the royal warrant which settles the rank and precedence of the other sex.

I would however remind ray fair countrywomen, that although it may be necessary to assign a proper rank to them in India, yet when they return to thejr native country all thisdesire of superiority can no longer be gratified. The lady governess and the wife of the chief justice may find it very proper amusement to contend for the upper hand while their husbands are absent from the Presidency, but in England the wives of John Bull, though glittering in the diamonds of Golconda, or wrapped in the shawls of Tibet, must be content to be elbowed with at least an equal proportion of citizens and right honourable dames.

The question under reference appears to be as to the respective . stations of those ladies who rank in England according to their birth,' and those who are entitled to rank in right of their husbands only. I confess I can see nothing anoma

lous in a peeress or daughter of a peer retaining the rank in India she would hold in England, although her husband's rank might be inferior, provided such precedence does not take place of the wives of the members of government. Besides these right honourable ladies must carry their rank with them in returning to England, but those who- possess rank only in right of their husbands must resign it immediately on leaving India. In whatever way therefore the sovereign may be pleased to -settle the point in reference, it is hoped that the difficulty of the task will be duly considered by the ladies, and that if royal wisdom itself fail to give universal satisfaction to those dear absentees, let them remember that there are those in England who are waiting to give them in their own country that homage to their virtues and minds which no rank can command and which no warrant can create. I am, Sir, &c.

Bath, Carnaticus.

Nov. 1, 1816.

To the Editor of the Asiatic Journal.

1 am at a loss whether the challenge you allude to, in your address to correspondents, be the free translation from Sadi, or the imitation from Hafiz; but to make sure I shall answer ft from both authors. Sadlk is a familiar signature with me of old; but he could quote his original, when 1 formerly knew him. The signature of Shiraz is new; his author Sadi has long been a favourite with me; and I have had translations . of his Gulistan, Bustan, and other parts of his Kullat lying by me for upwards of twenty years. Sadi passed a long life, one hundred and sixteen lunar years, in poverty; haying travelled during thirty of them over great part of the habitable world, six hundred and fifty years ago, as a dervise, and having spent liis last sixty years as a reli

gious recluse ; yet in a dispute between him and a fellow dervise, he took the side of the rich in opposition to the poor man; and argued that, from his easy circumstances, he is likely to be the most pious, moral, and of course charitable of the two, as having the means of being so. 1 could quote twenty passages from Sadi's works, that would agree in the sentiment expressed in the lines of Shiraz ; but both he and Sadik are, I fear, too paraphrastical to furnish me with a clew, and I would recommend their at least giving the first hemistic, if a Ghaz'l, which in Persian answers as an index,. either in the original or an English character. For the present I must content myself with giving you an apologue, the last of the ninth chapter, of Sadi's Bustan; wherein the au

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Having occasion some time ago to send my literal translation of the above, as a part of a specimen of a life of Sadi I have also lying by me, to an old Bengal friend, his son, now preparing to go out to India as a writer in the Hon. Company's service, returned me lately a poetical version of it; which I shall now copy with some few alterations and additions, after my own literal translation :—

"In the land of Sanaa (the capital of Yemen or Arabia Felix) 1 lost a son by «leatli, how am I to describe the affliction 1 suffered for his salie: fate never ordaiiiKl a beautifnl form like that of Joseph, ■which the fishes of the grave (i. e. the worms) have not devoured, as the whale swallowed Jonas : in this garden (the present life) no stately cypress yet flourished, which the desolating storm of death has not torn up by the roots: no wonder, that roses should spring from that earth, under which so many rose-bodied charmers lie buried! I said in my heart, die, oh reprobate! for infants depart from life -BBocent, and old men contaminated with

sin: In my melancholy and disconsolate recollection of his lovely form, 1 tore off the stone that closed up the entrance of his sepulchre; and in this my desperate plight I entered that gloomy and narrow vault, with a gait bewildered and a face inflamed: when my reason had recovered itself from this state of desolation, 1 fancied that my soul-deluding boy was whispering in my ear: " if despair overwhelmed thee in this abode of gloom, be wise and prepare for thyself a place of greater cheerfulness; wishett thou, that the night of the grave might be luminous as day ? then carry with thee ready trimmed the lamp of good works." The majority of mankind entertain the sordid hope, that they can reap the harvest without having sown the seed: hut he, oh Sadi! can eat the fruit of that tree, which himself had planted, and that person must gather the harvest, who had sown the seed.

In Sanaa once my happy land,
Torn from a doting parent's hand

Which nurtur'd and which fad i -
My son, the comfort of my years,
Departed from this vale rff-tears,

And in his grave was laid:

The cypress, empress of the groves,
By gentle zephyrs graceful moves,

Yet levelled is by storms:
So Joseph, iu his grave laid low,
Like Jonah in the fish's maw,

Is eaten up by worms:
No wonder, that this venlnnt earth
To sweetest fruits and flowers gives birth,

The pomegranate and rose;
For thus enrich'd with many a flower.
Cut off in youth and beauty's hour.

It's gratitude it shows:
Alas! how wearisome is life,
It's never-ceasing cares and strife,

Its bitter cup of tears,
How envied are the happy few,
Who youthful sorrows never knew,

Nor age's ling'riug years:
With spotless purity and worth
The infant quits this ball of earth,

Its pleasure aiwt its pain; While foul corruption's blackened train Or tyrant vices impious rejgn

The close df life oft stain.
With throbbing heart and beatiug breast,
And*oul with care and grief opprcst,

I sought his lonely grave;
Reflecting on his early doom
His forward youth and rosy bloom,

Unable all to save:
Collet "ting my disordcr'd pace.
Now that alone I'd reached the place,

And tomb-stone put away.
When lo 1 I thought that form divine,
Looked up with countenance benign,

Aud spoke or seem'd to say:

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

"If doubts and fears thy soul corrode. Quick, leave this dark, this drear abode,

Be prudent aud depart;
Let virtue and religion kind
Enlighten still aud cheer thy mind,

And wisdom rule thy heart.
Oh seek and let FaitU'i steady ray
Illuminate thy dubious way,

Through life's bewild'ring road j The gloom of sin let Hope disperse Aud through the dark direct thy course

To Charity and good. Forego that expectation vain, Which mankind often entertain,

Foolish and mad indeed;
Hoping without the sweat and toil
They'd reap a harvest from the soil

Who had not sown the seed:
For lie, oh Sidi! only he
Can pluck the fruit, who set the tree.

Nor shall another eat;
For him alone the soil shall yield,
Who ploughed the ground and till'd the
field,

Its harvest aud its fruit.

Of my next quotation of a Ghaz'l of Hafiz, many of our best poets, from Shakespear to Dermody's "woodbine's fragrant twine," have given us beautiful imitations; but as none of them is sufficiently apposite, I must nevertheless make bold to offer a new one.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Oh balmy zephyr! hast thou a mistress r <tom her thou must have stolen that musk•hedding pod! take care and make not so free with thy hand, what hast thou to do with her lovely ringlets? Oh rose! how otmt thou rival hex glooming check, tier's

[ocr errors]

sprightliness and thine sick of a qualm? oh cypress ! in the presence of her stately form, what figure canst thou cut in the garden? oh reason! weit thou exposed to the teniptatiou of admiriDg her, what fortitude couldst thou have to resist passion? oh Hafiz! thou might est some day command an interview, if thou hast the power of remaining desirous.

1. Ask me no more, where zephyrs ply, Wafting the musk of Tartary;

I loos'd the ringlets of my fair,
And fragrance filled the ambient air:

2. Ask me no more, where those stars

light,
That downward fall at dead of night;
For in tliiue eyes they set, and there
Can sparkle bright, as in their sphere:

3. Ask me no more, if that bright flower Paints vision's organ in each bower; Before thy tipsy-rolling eye,

Skk of a qualm it lives to die:

4. Ask me no more, if carol's last Of nightingales, when June is past; For in thy silver neck and throat

They winter, and keep warm their note:

5. Ask me no more, when July's gone, Where Flora's queen erects her throne, For in the nipples of thy breasts

The rose within its petals rests:

6. Ask me no more, where atoms stray,
Which in a sun-beam glitt'ring play;
From basils sweet the skies prepare
That dust of gold t' adorn thy hair:

7. Ask not that cypress's graceful state,
Each breeze displays a livelier gait,
Till thou into the garden walk

And ftick't in earth a wither'd stalk:

8. Ask me no more, if east or west
The phoenix Reason builds her nest;
Slie'd sacrifice a thousaud lives
And in thy bosom, God! survives!

In my next, I purpose sending you a translation of Hafiz' famous Sakl-namah, the most finished of all his works, but I must leave it to Sadik to do it into verse; as mine will be only humble and literal prose.

Yours, &c.

Gulchin.

To the Editor of the Asiatic Journal.

Sir,—As it may probably be the fate of many of your readers in this country to traverse the Atlantic, a slight account of the ceremony attendant on crossing the Line, may not prove uninteresting. I transcribe it from a Journal as experienced by myself and many fellow-passengers in an outward bound Indiaman a few years since. I am, &c.

Z.

When the decreasing degrees of latitude announce the ship's approach to the equator, it is truly ludicrous to remark the satisfaction with which all the crew, those only excepted who have not crossed it before, prepare the paraphernalia used on the occasion. Canvass, ropes, and hencoops, are in less than a week transformed into masks, sea weed, and thrones, and honoured by the appearance of the crew; who by means of paint of different colours, with which they plentifully besmear their bodies, make as far as one

can guess, pretty correct representations of the watery deities they are meant to personate.

As it was night when we passed this imaginary line, Neptune only then hailed us; which is to say, that a person, generally the boatswain, habited to represent Neptune, pretends to rise from the sea, and calling through a trumpet desires to know what ship it is that dares iutrude on his dominions? The officer of the watch immediately through another trumpet replies, that it is the ship —— which having many of his visitors* on board, entreats a favourable voyage. The answer returned is, that he will visit the ship early in the morning. Accordingly, he arrives in a triumphal car, supported by his attendants. It draws up before the Cuddy door, and having delivered a speech to the ladies, signifying his will that they should be excused the operation, he retires, and taking his station witli his

• Or in the technical phrase ■ thoie who are te be timed.'

Barber, the ceremony commences. There were twelve of us on board to be shaved; and having a list of our names he called us as suited his pleasure. All those who have not crossed, are compelled to remain below, till called for, when couducted by two of his attendants (or as they are termed constables) with a handkerchief tied across your eyes, you are led by these people to his Serene Majesty; who after enquiring from whence you come, for what reasons you are proceeding to India, and a few other equally trivial questions, desires his Barber to do his duty. Accordingly being seated on a board placed across a large tub full of water, your chin, and lips are of a sudden besmeared with tar, of which having put " quantum sufflcit," he pretends to shave it off with a piece of an iron hoop, notched as a saw. ■ This being done, the board on which you *1t is dexterously slipped from under you, and you are plunged head and heels into the tub, from which having emerged as

well as you can, and the handkerchief taken from your eyes, you are saluted on all sides with tubs of water, by those who have crossed before, and who enjoying the fuii are mostly stationed on the poop for the express purpose. This is conti-' nued until you seize a tub, and pelt again in your own defence. Thus ends this absurd, and ridiculous ceremony, which without the intervention of the Captain no passenger to India, should he not previously have crossed the Line, can possibly avoid. Our Captain chose in this instance to sacrifice the comfort of his passengers to complaisance to his crew ; and although money was offered them to avoid It, we were compelled to undergo the ceremony in all its degradation.^

t I have heard that a passenger recovered ia the Supreme Court ia Calcutta, considerable damages from a Captain for not protecting him. against this outrage. And 1 know that soma have been indebted to the long voyage from the Line to their ultimate destination that they have not been called on to give personal satisfaction..

To the Editor of the Asiatic Journal.

Sir,—In the Asiatic Journal for November, your correspondent, who signs himself " Moderation," was pleased to address a question to me, or to Mr. Wood, on the subject of instructing the native Christians of India. A's no answer has been given to that question, in your number for this month, I would beg leave to offer the information required, as far as my own views, and those of my friends are concerned, being very desirous, that persons, who; like " Moderation," discover so much interest in the propagation of Christian truth' in that portion of the globe, should' have every opportunity of ascertaining the real views and feelings with which that important work is engaged in. I regret, that the statement of a too partial friend, respecting the progress of Christianity at Agra, should have appeared in the form it has, as it tends to throw a shade on the labours of

Asiatic Journ. —No. 13.

the eminently disinterested and laborious Baptist Missionaries. Respecting the state of their mission, I am by no means particularly informed, but I know that many of the natives of Bengal have embraced Christianity through their means, and I am of opinion, that much of the reformation begun among the higher classes of Hindoos in Calcutta, as appears from, the case of the Brahman' Ram Mohun Roy, who has translated and published "the Resolution of all the Vedas," might be traced to the discredit brought upon idolatry, by .the circulation of. tracts and, portions of our Scriptures by those, indefatigable men. . I wish not,. however, to enter upon that subject, but beg leave to state, that I do consider the natives of India, professing Christianity, "as the point to steer from," in endeavouring to communicate the blessings of our religion to the other natives Vol; III. C

« 이전계속 »