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I forget her joy when she put the bracelets on my wrists. O! how she did kiss and praise me, when I had learned the alphabet. She was always restless whilst I was at school, and when I had to return, she was always looking out for me. How often she used to say, 'My son, my son, come and eat:' but now, who will call me?” Then, taking the hand of his deceased mother into his own, he asks, “ And are the worms to feed on this hand which has fed me?” Then, embracing her feet, “ Ah! these will never more move about this house. When my great days are come, in whose face shall I look ? Who will rejoice in my joy? When I go to the distant country, who will be constantly saying, “Return, return?' Ah! how did she rejoice on my wedding day. Who will now help and comfort my wife? If she did not see me every moment, she was continually saying, “My son, my son.
Must I now apply the torch to her funeral pile ? Alas ! alas ! I am too young for that. What! have the servants of the funeral house * been anxious to get their money? Could they not have waited a few years ? What do those bearers want ? Have you come to take away my mother ?” Then, lying on the bier by her side, he says, “ Take me also. Alas! alas! is the hour come? I must now forget you. Your name must never again be in my mouth. I must now perform the annual ceremony. O life, life ! the bubble, the bubble!”
Listen to the affectionate brother over the body of his sister : “ Were we not a pair ? why are we separated ? Of what use am I alone? Where is now my shade? I will now be a wanderer. How often did I bring you the fragrant lotus ? but your face was more beautiful than that flower. Did I not procure you jewels? Who gained you the bridegroom? Have I not been preparing to make a splendid show on your nuptial day? Alas ! all is vanity. How fatal is this for your betrothed. For whose sins have you been taken
* Washermen, barbers, and others.
away? You have vanished like the goddess Lechimy. In what birth shall we again see you? How many suitors waited for you? You have poured fire into my bowels: my senses have gone, and I wander about like an evil spirit. Instead of the marriage ceremonies, we are now attending to those of
I may get another mother, for my father can marry again: I may acquire children; but a sister, never, never. Ah! give me one look : let your lotus-like face open once - one smile. Is this your marriage ceremony? I thought one thing, but fate thought another. You have escaped like lightning: the house is now full of darkness. When I go to the distant town, who will give me her commissions ? To whom shall we give your clothes and jewels ? * My sister, I have to put the torch to your funeral pile. You said, Brother, we will never part; we will live together in one house: but you are gone. I refused to give you to the youth in the far country; but now, whither have you gone? To whom shall I now say, I am hungry? Alas! alas ! my father planted cocoa, mango, and jack trees in your name, but you have not lived to eat the fruit thereof. + I have been to tell them you are gone. Alas! I see her clothes : take them away. Of what use is that palankeen now? Who used to come jumping on the road to meet me? If I have so much sorrow, what must have been that of your mother for ten long moons? Whose evil eye has been upon you? Who aimed the blow? Will there ever again be sorrow like this? My belly smokes. Ah, my sister, your gait, your speech, your beauty, all gone: the flower is withered the flower is withered. Call for the bier; call for the musicians." I
* These are often given to some sacred object, as the friends cannot bear to see them.
+ On the birth of a daughter (also on that of a son) it is common to plant fruit trees in her name, and these are often given as a dowry in marriage.
| As was the corse of Hector taken “ With plaintive sighs and music's solemn sound,” so here. The musicians always precede the procession, and they endeavour, with great success, to make their instruments imitate
Husbands who love their wives are exceedingly pathetic in their exclamations: they review the scenes of their youth, and speak of their tried and sincere affection. The children she has borne are also alluded to, and, to use an Orientalism, the man is plunged into a sea of grief. “What, the apple of my eye gone? my swan, my parrot, my deer, my Lechimy ! her colour was like gold, her gait was like the stately swan, her waist was like lightning, her teeth were like pearls, her eyes like the kiyal fish (oval), her eyebrows like the bow, and her countenance like the full-blown lotus. Yes, she has gone, the mother of
children. No more welcome, no more smiles in the evening, when I return. All the world to me is now as the place of burning. Get ready the wood for my pile. O! my wife, my wife, listen to the voice of your husband.”
XXXII. 8.-" The people rested themselves upon the
words of Hezekiah.” The margin has, for rested
upon, “ leaned.”
“I lean (from sārukirathu) on the words of that good man." “ All people gladly lean on the words of that just judge.” “Who would lean on the words of that false man?” “ Alas! we leaned upon his words, and have fallen into trouble.” “My husband, have I not leaned upon your words ? Yes, and therefore I have not fallen."
certain words. The following is a translation of a verse they thus repeat. • The company of relations, weeping, cry kāl*; they see the dead body carried to the place of burning; the music and tambours, which gave such joy at the wedding, now proclaim, there is yet another ; there is yet another : i.e. vore-undu; vore-undu; meaning, yet another, yet another.'
* Exclamation of sorrow.
CHAP. V. verse 7.-—“They sent a letter unto him, where
in was written thus : Unto Darius the king, all
The people of the East are always very particular as to the way in which they commence a letter. Thus, they take into consideration the rank of the individual to whom they write, and keep in view also what is their object. “To you who are respected by kings.” “To him who has the happiness of royalty.” “To the feet of his excellency, my father, looking towards the place where he is worshipping, I write.” A father to his son says, “ Head of all blessings, chief of life, precious pearl.” When people meet each other on the road, they say, “ Salam, peace to you.” Or, when they send a message, or ask a favour, it is always accompanied by a salam.
IX. 3.-“ Plucked off the hair of my head." In great disappointment, fury, or distress, this people tear out their long hair. They also bite their lips and arms.”
6. — “Our iniquities are increased over our head, and
our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.” " Ah, that fellow's sins are on his head : how numerous are the sins on his head. Alas! for such a head as that. Who can take them from his head ? His iniquity is so great, you may see it on his head.”
Does a man wish to extenuate his crime, to make himself appear not so great a sinner as some suppose, he asks, “ What! has my guilt grown up to heaven? no! no !” “ Abominable wretch, your guilt has reached to the heavens." “ Can you call that little, which has grown up to the heavens?
8.—“Give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may
lighten our eyes.” The margin has, “or a pin,”
that is, “a constant and sure abode.” It is worthy of notice, that the Tamul translation has it “ a hut in his holy place. To “lighten” the eyes signifies, to give comfort, to strengthen, to refresh. A father says to his son, when he wishes him to do any thing, “ My child, make these eyes light.” “O woman, enlighten my eyes, lest I be swallowed
with sorrow.” “O that our eyes were clear! who will take away the darkness from my eyes ?”
X. 1. — “ Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he
had confessed, weeping and casting himself down
before the house of God.” People on their arrival from England are astonished at the apparent devotion of the Hindoos, when they see them cast themselves down before their temples. Those of high rank, and in elegant attire, do not hesitate thus to prostrate themselves in the dust, before the people. How often, as you pass along, may you see a man stretched his full length on the ground, with his face in the dust, pouring out his complaint, or making his requests unto the gods. It matters not to him who or what may be near him : he heeds not, and moves not, till his devotions are finished.
9.-“ All the people sat in the street of the house of
God, trembling because of this matter, and for the
What a marked illustration we have of this passage every wet monsoon. See the people on a court-day, or when they are called to the different offices on business. The rains come on; they have only a piece of cotton round their loins, and a small leaf, which they carry over their heads : they all run in a stooping position (as if that would save them from the rain) to the nearest tree, and there they sit in groups, huddled together, and trembling “ for the great rain.”