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Nala and Damayanti and Other Poems   By: (1791-1868)

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First Page:

Transcriber's note:

1. The spelling, accents, and diacritical marks of Sanskrit words is not consistent through the book. The original spelling, accents, and diacritical marks are retained.

2. The in line notes refer to lines in the poems. These have been converted to footnotes for easy reference. The information regarding the line referred to is however retained.

NALA AND DAMAYANTI

AND OTHER POEMS

TRANSLATED FROM THE SANSCRIT INTO ENGLISH VERSE, WITH MYTHOLOGICAL AND CRITICAL NOTES.

BY THE REV. HENRY HART MILMAN, M. A.

PREBENDARY OF WESTMINSTER; MINISTER OF ST. MARGARET'S; AND LATE PROFESSOR OF POETRY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.

OXFORD: D. A. TALBOYS. M DCCC XXXV

TO MY MOTHER,

TO WHOM THESE TRANSLATIONS HAVE AFFORDED MUCH PLEASURE,

AND TO WHOM, AT HER ADVANCED AGE, TO HAVE AFFORDED PLEASURE

IS THE MOST GRATIFYING REWARD OF LITERARY LABOUR,

THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED,

BY HER AFFECTIONATE SON.

CONTENTS:

NALA AND DAMAYANTI NOTES

THE DEATH OF YAJNADATTA NOTES

THE BRAHMIN'S LAMENT NOTES

THE DELUGE

THE DESCENT OF THE GANGES

PREFACE.

Those friends who have taken an interest in my literary productions may feel some surprise at my appearance in the character of a translator of Sanscrit poetry. To those, and indeed to all who may take up the present volume, I owe some explanation of my pretensions as a faithful interpreter of my original text. Those pretensions are very humble; and I can unfeignedly say, that if the field had been likely to be occupied by others, who might unite poetical powers with a profound knowledge of the sacred language of India, I should have withdrawn at once from the competition. But, in fact, in this country the students of oriental literature, endowed with a taste and feeling for poetry, are so few in number, that any attempt to make known the peculiar character of those remarkable works, the old mythological epics of India, may be received with indulgence by all who are interested in the history of poetry. Mr. Wilson alone, since Sir W. Jones, has united a poetical genius with deep Sanscrit scholarship; but he has in general preferred the later and more polished period that of Kalidasa and the dramatists to the ruder, yet in my opinion, not less curious and poetical strains of the older epic bards.

A brief account of the manner in which I became engaged in these studies, will best explain the extent of my proficiency. During the two last years in which I held the office of Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford, having exhausted the subject which I had chosen for my terminal course, I was at a loss for some materials for the few remaining lectures before my office should expire. I had been led by the ardent curiosity, which I have ever felt to acquire some knowledge of the poetry of all ages and nations to examine some of the publications of French and German, as well as English scholars, on the subject of Indian poetry; chiefly those of the Schlegels, of Bopp, and of De Chezy. I was struck with the singularity and captivated by the extreme beauty, as it appeared to me, of some of the extracts, especially those from the great epic poems, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, in their Homeric simplicity so totally opposite to the ordinary notions entertained of all eastern poetry. I was induced to attempt, without any instruction, and with the few elementary works which could be procured, the Grammars of Wilkins and Bopp, the Glossaries of Bopp and Rosen (Mr. Wilson's Dictionary was then out of print and could not be purchased), to obtain some knowledge of this wonderful and mysterious language. The study grew upon me, and would have been pursued with more ardour, perhaps with more success, but for the constant interruption of more imperative professional and literary avocations... Continue reading book >>




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