Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

partion, they agree pretty well in railing at a residence in Bengal, and give such an idea of its vexations and discom, forts, as would induce any reasonable man to prefer a movlerate competency enjoyed at home, to the niost princely fortune acquired in the East.

The following, perhaps, is as fair a specimen of the author's descriptions, as any we could select. Most of the notes to this passage, which are supplied at the end of the volume, we shall insert below; premising, in order to explain a humorous quotation in the first 110c, that, in the fashionable slang of Calcutta, new-comers for the first year are called griffins. ·

Perhaps at evening, with importance big,
The Course * might see me grinning in my gig ;
E'en senior merchants, flocking dowo to meet
The fair arrivals by an English fleet,
Might view me fill the honorable place,
And gape unpitied at the stranger's face,

A. Your palkee cools beside the shadowing wall,
And eight stout bearerst wait their master's call;
Waked from a sound repose the frisky group
Beneath the labouring poles will joy to stoop,
Try their best trot | along the dusty road,
And puff and groan and grunt s beneath the load,
Yet fiercely darting on the wooden frame,
Each ray shall scorch you as an angry flame,
And cloudless bursts the beam that proudly mocks
The st:fling shelter of your feeble box,
Unseasoned yet, a thicker volume runs
Through your full veins and tempts inflaming suns.

* The favourite place of resort during that short period, when tie avsence of an intolerable sun liberates the captive “ beauty and fashion of the Pre• sidency” from a wearisome day of confinement. It is the scene of various gradations of equestrian grace, and charioteering excellence the very Rotten Row of our Eastern emporium.-Much amusement might be derived from a calm survey of this darling lounge ; but, alaş! the season of peril is not the time for observation and woe to the wheels of the unfortmate speculatist who inculges curiosity to the peglect of bis reins. Danger is never so greatly to be apprehended as on the arrival of a fleet froin England-Jangentur jam gryphes equis. A six months voyage is sufficient to efface every idea of equilibrium on horseback; and the steerage of a gig is a science not to be learned on the deck of an Indiaman.

t Bearers are laborious drowsy beings, employed in varrying the palkee (palankeen), &c. &c. They are richly blessed with an ap::thy and stupidity, that seems proof against all excitements, save from that sordid love of money, which engrosses and debases the Hinuoo character.

I Their ordinary rate may be averaged at four miles in the hour.

Ś The jucessant noise made by the palankeen-bearers cannot fail to be very disagreeable to a person on first arrival, as it gives the idea of great labour and fatigue. A certain kind-hearted man, whose benevolence was wounded by these sounds of distress, very compassionately alighted from his palankeen, in his first expedition in that vehicle, and trudged. on, in a burning sun, to rilieve his groaning followers--who, we may presume, never understood the singular motive by which he was actuated.

And now, with thirst, with heat, with bile o'ercome
How fares the daring sportsman at Dum-dum *, ,
Some zealous youth by keenest ardour led,
Gun in his hand, and chatta to'er his head ?
Fast as he labours in the burning chase,
The frequent handkerchief salutes his face.
O pleasurable toils! O sports divine !"
Exclaim the partners in the funeral line I,
“ Fate sits on every ray around him cast,
And deathful beams his healthy vigour blast."
An iron fraine were fruitlessly bestowed,
When burns and boils within the bilious load;
When rapid fever riots in the rein,
And fierce delirium crowds the tortured brain,
On sickness' couch how dearly shall he pay.
For the short frolic of a burning day-
To fall, perhaps, each vain prescription tried,

For quails and snipes an hapless suicide !' pp. 20, 21, 22. One of the best passages, however, is the descriprion of tribes of insect harpies, which in India form so peculiar an addition in the pleasures of the table.

On every dish the bouncing beetle falls,
The cockroach plays, or caterpillar crawls ;
A thousand shapes of variegated hues
Parade the table, and inspect the stews !
To living walls the swarming hundreds stick,
Or court, a dainty meal, che oily wick,
Heaps over heaps their slimy bodies drench,
Out go the lamps with suffocating stench !
When hideous insects ev'ry plate defile,
The laugh how empty, and how forced the smile!
The knife and fork a quiet moment steal,
Slumber secure, and bless the idle meal ;
The pensive master, leaning in his chair,
With manly patience mutters in despair !
O England ! show, with all thy fibled bliss,

One scene of real happiness like this!' p. 85. The following verses give us a very favourable impression both of the talents and principles of the writer. We hardly need say, that there is no longer any reason for regarding India as the place for unprincipled oppression and sudden wealth.

A station of the artillery, about eight miles from Calcutta, situated in a a neighbourhood abounding with snipes, quails, &c. 7.Chatta, Anglicé umbrella.

One of that sable profession which fattens upon the destruction of the human species deserves notice for his grateful acknowledgements of public patronage. An advertisement in the papers occasionally expresses his deep sense of favours already conferred, and solicits a continuance of support with promises of unceasing attention to the elegance of coftin furniture.

• A time there was, (may Heaven for ever blot.
From England's crimes the foul, the deadly spot!)
Which well might warm with salutary rage
The statesman's rhetoric and the censor's page;
When upstart fiends, a predatory swarm,
Whose vices lurk'd beneath an human form,
To lust and rapine gave the fleeting day,
Fell harpy “ birds of passage and of prey,"
Their ways mysterious, subtle, deep, and dark,
Breathed a foul damp on honor's dying spark;
And forth they rushed, by principle unswayed,
To gold, their god--and robbery, their trade;
Then closing fast a surfeited career,
Home they returned, at native worth to sneer,
To pamper vice as hardy as their own,
And poison scenes where innocence was known :
With sad example kindling as a torch
Th’insatiate flame of ruinous debauch ;
To sit perhaps, how worthy such a cause !
In England's senate, watchful o'er the laws,
Which justly, on themselves had proved their use,
And well condemned them to the hangman's noose.
That day is past; and better 'tis to slave.
For thirty years, than live a wealthy k nave,
Than cast on England's pride a deadly taint,
And furnish cause for trembling and complaint.
Fast by the banks where muddy Hoogly flows
The merchant's seat, a modest factory, rose,
While yet no works of engineering skill
Thundered resistance to a nabob's will,
While yet Bengal an Indian prince obeyed,
And careful factors plied the silken trade,
Content with grants that jealousies prescribe,
And paid theircourt to eunuchs by a bribe.
Not long their bound'ry a Mahrattah ditch *,
When roused by wrong, and burning to be rich;
When fell revenge a cruel coward smote,
And Meerum's + poignard struck Surajah's throat.
To bolder prospects learning to aspire,
The peaceful merchant caught the soldier's fire;
In native squabbles ventured to intrigue,
Revenged another's wrong, or joined a league ;
In self-defence he triumphed o'er his foes,
And courted quarrels # to ensure repose.
A nobler policy, a wiser plan,
Ne'er rear'd a state, nor animated man:

A work of seven iniles, intended for the protection of Calcutia against the predatory incursions of the Mahrattas–Anno 1742.

+ A son of Jaffier, by whose order Surajah Dowlah met with an end well merited by his perfidy and cruelty.

I Particularly in the case of Meer Cossin, 1763. . .

For kings amazed in passing years bebeld
The modest factory to an empire swelled,
The power of India's ancient rulers flown,
And nabobs take a pension * for a throne !
Hence vig'rous commerce, unexampled trade,
Springs from that best of maxinis-to invade; . .
And 'tis far better, spurning all controul,
To stretch an honest hand, and grasp the whole ;
To tax a people ready to obey,
And hug the su eets of universal sway;
Then fix on articles a stated price,

And meanly trade for indigo and rice!' pp, 26-39. The author, however, is far from being insensible of the advantages India now derives from the British ascendancy.

• It is pleasing to observe the substantial atonement that has been made for the injustice of our early ca eer, in the benevolent gracious system of equity that is diffus d over so populcus a tract of Asia. Our depredations have ultinately enriched tenfold many millions of people. Our later acquisitions, with the same happy consequences, had an origin in circumstances that convey to us no reproach, and require no justification. It was thought by one of the greatest of Indian statesmen, tha. the possession of Bengal, the Circars, a portion of land round Madras, with the island of Salsetię, would most fully secure to England every advantage that could result from territorial establishments in Asia. But such an opinion is now ascertained to be erroneous. Peace can be preserved only by such a superiority as the faithless, politicians of the Last cannot contemplate without trenibling. Such, luckily, is our present strength, which, thou;h it seem disproportionately gigantic, is in our posture best calculated to enjoy the manifold blessings of undisturbed reposę. Such Marquis W, has rendered it.' p. 103. :

In another place, he urges the expediency of increasing the cavalry and artillery branches of our military establishment in the East ; observing that the perfidy of the native character has no other bonds to coerce its activity, than ceaseless jealousy and superior strength. After all, comes the great question of pounds, shillings, and pence."

Some very tolerable lines occur, in reference to the Hookah; we have not room to quore them, but shall insert the note in which that instrument is described. . That part of the apparatus in which the tobacco is deposited, com, municates by a perpendicular tube with a receptacle for water, through which passes that voluminous tube or snake, which the performer holds, and from which he inhales the grateful steam. A sweet harmonious bub. bling of the water is produced by the suction. The whole machine rests upon a small carpet or rug. p. 115.

* Jaffier Ali Khan, thc successor of Surajah Dowlah, was violently removed from bis authority, and pensioned at Calcutta.

The following observations on the propagation of Chris. tianity, will do the author credit, even with those who, like ourselves, are firmly persuaded that the imputation of indiscretion to any of the missionaries is wproved and unfounded, and that his fears of " mischief' are as idle as the suspicions of the Hindoos wou d be that it is wished to convert them to dissoluteness and irreligion !.

? Sincerely believing Christianity to be no less than the gracious design of Heaven to promote the eternal interests of mankind, I am not ashamed to proless that I desire earnestly, the universal extension of its blessings and truths over the whole world. But from the agency of improper and indiscreet persons in the important work of undermining the stubborn fabric of Hindoa superstition, I can hope no success, and cannot but apprehend every mischief. Of the consequences of translating into the vernacular languages of India, the sublime and rational truths of our religion, I venture to indulge a more favourable hope. They may, in a series of years, gradually steal upon the attention, understanding, and conviction of a deluded people. The attempt involves no political danger. Bold innoyators may be produced among the natives, to publish the glad tidings, and accomplish a spiritual revolution. Our own countrymen of the purest life, and the most temperate zeal, must, I fear, always be placed in the back.ground. When they labour to make converts, the natives will suspect that they have no other aim than to reduce them to that dissoluteness and disregard of religion, which are a reproach to the greater portion of those in India, who are mere nominal Christians.! pp. 117, 118.

As we chuse to part with this intelligent writer in perfect good humour, we shall conclude this article with the last lines of the poem.

• Oh for that happy day, (compared with that,
All days are joyless and all pleasures flat,)
When, filled with boundless raptures of delight,
I view low Saugor fading from the sight;
Hail in the welcome breeze a glad retreat
From shores that glisten with eternal heat,
And, as the bellying sails distended swell,
To heat and India bid a long farewell! !
Where milder suns on happier seasons shine,
Be Britain's isle and British comfort mine ;
Where kindred ties the passing hour endear,
Prompt the glad smile, and wipe the falling tear:
Where Liberty with Justice reigns entwined,
And wakes to life the virtues of the mind :
Where pure Devotion pours her heaven taught prayer,
And awful piles a rev'rend aspect wear,
Their sacred spires amid the prospect smile,
And speak in grateful praise the favoured isle ;
Unseen the barb'rous rite, the frantic train,
Pnheard the shout that frights the idol fane! . .

« ElőzőTovább »