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Bubbles of the Foam   By: (1863-1940)

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BUBBLES OF THE FOAM

So Life's sad Sunset prizes What Life's gay Dawn despises, And always Winter wise is When Summer is no more: While Love than lightning fleeter Turns all he touches sweeter, To leave it incompleter Behind him, than before.

AMARA

Years, looking forward, all too slow, Yet looking back, too fast, What is your joy, what is your woe, But scented ash that used to glow, A sandalwood of long ago, A camphor of the past?

SULOCHANA

[Illustration]

BUBBLES OF THE FOAM

([Sanskrit])

TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT

BY

F. W. BAIN

What! Mortal taste Immortal? Earth, kiss Heaven? Confusion elemental!, ah! beware!

SOMADEWA

WITH A FRONTISPIECE

METHUEN & CO. LTD. 36 ESSEX STREET W.C. LONDON

First Published in 1912

DEDICATED

TO

LADY GLENCONNER

CONTENTS

PAGE I. A SPOILED CHILD 1

II. THE THIRST OF AN ANTELOPE 27

I. A DAPPLED DAWN 29

II. A GLAMOUR OF NOON 63

III. THE DESERT AND THE NIGHT 89

INTRODUCTION

Four things are never far from you, in old Hindoo literature: underfoot, all round you, or away on the horizon, there they always are: the Forest, the Desert, the River, and the Hills.

It is never very easy, to understand the Past that really is a past: and the age of Forests, like that of chivalry, is gone. But in the case of ancient India, the chief obstacle to understanding arises from our bad habit of always looking at the map with the North side up. Why this inveterate apotheosis of the North? Would you understand the old Hindoos, you must turn the map of India very nearly upside down, so as to get Peshawar at the bottom, and the Andaman Islands exactly at the top. And then, history lies all before you, right side up, and you get your intellectual bearings, and take in the early situation, at a glance. Entering, like those old nomads, through the Khaibàr, you find yourself suddenly in the Land of Streams: and as you drift along, you go, simply because you must, straight on, down the River "ganging on" ( Gangá ) towards the rising sun, "ahead," (which is the Sanskrit term for East,) all under the colossal wall of Hills, the home of Snow, where the gods live, on your left ( uttara , the North, the heights;) while on the South, (the right hand, dakshina , the Deccan) you are debarred, not by Highlands, but by two not less peremptory rebutters: first, by the Desert, Marusthali , the home of death: and then again, a little farther on, by the Forest of the South: the vast, mysterious, impenetrable Wood, of which the Rámáyana preserves for us the pioneering record and original idea, with its spell of the Unknown and the Adventure (like the Westward Ho! of a later age) with its Ogres and its Sprites, its sandal trees and lonely lotus tarns, its armies of ugly little ape like men, and its legendary Lanka (Ceylon) lost in a kind of halo of shell born pearls, and gems, and their Ten headed Devil King, Ráwana, away, away, at the very end of all: so distant, as to be little more than mythical, little better than a dream. No! Those who wish to see things with the eyes of old Hindoos must not begin, as we did, and do still, with Ceylon, and the adjacent coasts of Coromandel and Malabar. That is the wrong, the other end: it is like starting English history from "the peak in Darien."

But our particular concern, in these pages, is with the Desert. The conventional notion of a desert, as a colourless and empty flat of sand, is curiously unlike the thing itself, which is a constantly changing, kaleidoscopic sea of colour, made up of rainbow stripes, black, golden, red, dazzling white, and blue, with every kind of lights and shadows, strange hazes, transparencies, and gleams... Continue reading book >>




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