H. H. (Horace Hayman) Wilson.

Select specimens of the theatre of the Hindus (Volume 2) online

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Their limbs are feeble though their minds are firm.
Riun. What, are Arundhati and J (maka,

rasis/it'hci and my honoured mother Iiere — ■
( llising and looking out )

Yes, I behold the monarch Jdiialca — like a thunder bolt
His sight affects me : with the holy Priests
Who joined our hands ; with so much to recall
The hopes that all have perished ; thus to meet him —
What task remains for Rama to perform.

Alas, the unexpected sight of Rama
O'er comes the aged king — and now the Queen
Hastening to aid her ancient friend, beholds
Her son, and senseless falls.
Ram. Revive,

My Sire — my dearest mother, live.

To see thy son — behold him — he is here

Kusa Si Laua — This way — This Avay.

\_Excunt rapidlt/.




Enter Lalshmana.
I have obeyed the Sage, and have arranged
A theatre to hold this vast assemblage.
Of Gods, and men, and Spirits of Earth, air, ocean.
The Serpent deities, and all the Forms
That move and breathe — called hither by Fdlmiki,
On Gangn's sacred banks — that they may hear
His inspirations, with dramatic art.
Recited by the nymphs of Indrn's heaven.
All is prepared, and the assembly waits —
And lo, the Prince, who in his palace bears «
The hardships of the Anchorite, approaches.

Enter Rama.
Now, Lakshmana, is the assembly gathered
For this performance.

Laic. All is ready.

Ram. Be the youths,

* A play in a play is a device essential to the plot however as

familiar to our theatre — that in this, and the play in Hamlet, both

Hamlet need scarcely l)e men- which representations indicate

tioned. Beaumont and Fletcher the opinion entertained l)v the

go further and combine Four authors of tiie moral eflicacy of

riays in one — They are not so such performances.

C 104 )

Lava and Ktisa, stationed with the Prince
Your son.

Luk. Your wishes are foreseen — they sit together.
This is the royal seat.

Ram. (Silling.) Let them begin.
Enter Manager.
The sage Prachetas son — the oracle
Of truth, thus issues his commands : let all
Assembled here, attend to the high tales
Of wonder, and of holiness, related,
As by the eye of saintly prescience seen.

Ham. Enough— we know the Kishis are all holy i
Their wisdom is exempted from the stain
Of passion, and with immortality
Impregnate — and their words can never fail
Our reverence and attention.

(Slid wilhin.)
Alas, alas, where art thou dearest Lord,
Brave Lakskmana — where thou — the Beasts of prey
Press round me to devour me — me — alone.
Unsheltered, undefended, in the forest.
What dreadful pangs — I can no more sustain
This agony — these fears — I will devote
]My life to Bhdgiralhi.

JLal'. This is piteous.

The Manager. The daughterof the earth, thehapless queen.
Her Lord abandons to the lonely woods—
Now, as the pains of travail agonize her.
Consigns herself to Ganga's sacred wave. \^F.viL

Earn. C^larling up.) Dear love, forbear ;

( 105 >

I fly to thy asoi stance.
Luk. Does my Lord

Remember^, what he views, is but a fiction.
Ham. Alas, that such a portion should have been

Tlie gift of Rama to his tender bride.

The dear companion of his forest dwelling.
Lak. Suppress these thoughts — let us attend the story.
Ram. I am armed — picrceless as adamant.

\_sits down.
E.VTEU Slid supported hu Prilhivi (iJie Earth) and Gunga
(the Ganges) each bearing a new horn child.
Ram. Lakshmana I am lost, my senses stray

In a bewildering maze — support me.
Ga iga. Revive Vaidehi. Fate is now thy friend.

Amidst the waves in safety hast thou given,

Tw^o hopes to Raghu's line.
Sita. Can this be true.

Are these my infants — ah my loved Lord. [fainting.
Ganga. Resume tliy fortitude, my child — revive.
Sita. Who art thou.
Pri. Tis Bhd^irathi, the protecting goddess

Of your Lord's line.
Sita. (Bowing to Ganga.) Receive my adoi-atlon.
Ganga. May the reward of virtue ever wait thee.

Behold thy mother — reverend Goildess— Earth.
Sita. Am I so blest.
Pri. Let this embrace assure tlice.
Luk. The queen is fondly cherished by the Deities.
Ram. Their love for this, their child, o'ercomes their spirits.
This passion of the sou!, the common attribute

( 106 )

Of sentient belng-s, is the knot that binds,
Tlie cord that hokls the universe, and till
The end of all, perpetuates the race.
Sita. Oh I were happy now, could I but think

I held a place in my dear Lord's remembrance.
Pri. Thy Lord — who should he be— hast thou a husband ;
Sita. Why need I name him — weli my parent knowshim.
Ga?i. Queen, reflect (to Prithivi)

Thou art the stay of all — and shalt thou share
The passions of the ignorant: consider.
What he has done, the honour of his race.
Imperatively Avilled ; for wide and far
The stain upon his name was spread : — the test
In Lanka undergone, not elsewhere witnessed
Was little credited — and it has been
The triumph of his high and royal race,
To claim the homage free, and unreserved.
Of all the world — what then remained for Kama
In this dilemma, else, than to pursue.
The course that he has trod.
Prl. Goddess, I hear.

Your censures with delight, but strong affection
Controuls my thoughts and language. Well I know
The love of Rama, and the grief he feels
For loss of this dear child, yet still he lives.
For the sole benefit of his subject tribes.
For which, in other worlds, rewards await hira.
^lla Oh, let my mother take
And hide me in her bosom.
Can. Child, forbear.

( 107 )

Yet many years thy presence shall dispense

Delight upon mankind.
Pri. And for the present.

These infants claim thy care
Sit a. A "widow I. —

Pri. How shovild this be, whilst yet thy husband lives.
Sila. Have I a husband.
Pi it. Can you then disdain.

The benefactor of the world, with whom.

Again united, fame and bliss aAvait you.
JmIcs. Heard you the Queen.
Ram. — Let all the world receive

This testimony — (a ?ioise ivllJiout) hark, what "wonders

Sita. The heavens are overcast.
Can. 'Tis true; observe

The heavenly arms are visible, the ministers

O? Rama, from 7\ViiY76'/yrt first descended.

To Viswamitra next, and last to him.

Great Queen,all hail —

Behold the faithful servants of thy children—

As Raghupati erst to thee announced.

His servants we, the servants of thy sons.
Sita. Oh, I am blest, the weapon gods appear

In all their glory.
Gan. Hail, celestial ministers.

Devoted to the race of Raghu — still to work

The will of his descendants — hail, *ill liail.

They disappear — now daughter turn thine eye.

( 103 )

On tliese infantine pictures of thy Lord.
S'da. Ah, who .shall minister the holy rites.

Their birtli demand?, that great Vaiishtlui's care.
Has ever solemnised for liaghu's race.
Gan. This, daughter, need not dwell upon thy thoughts.
When they no more exact a motlier's charge,
Wc will convey them to Valmiki s bower.
Pradieias son, equal in power and knowledge.
To Angiras or to Fusishlha, shall.
Become their mighty master, and perform
'J he ceremonial rites their years require.
Ham. 'j'his Avasweil thought.
Luk. Does not the Prince perceive.

In this, the birth of Kusa and o? Lavct,
Is covertly apprised him — from their infancy.
Have they been masters of the heavenly arms;
They have received eacli sacred ordinance
From great Valmiki, and their vigorous youth,
Kumbers the years that now have passed away.
Since the fair Queen was sentenced tothewoods.
Ham. My heart beats high. I cannot speak my thoughts.
Vri. Come, Daughter, with thy presence hallow Earth—
Sit. Most gladly — I am weary of the Avorld-
Pri. Discharge thy dues maternal — 'when these boys.

No more require thee, thou shalt be contented.
S'lla. Let it be so.

\_Exen)if Slid, Gcmgu and Prifhivu
Ram. Gone- fhe is gone for ever, (faints.)
Laic. All wise Valmiki grant us thy protection —
For, suili tlie purpose of thy sacred poem.

( 100 )

Remove the Instruments of harmony — and let
All pres(Mit, mark the marvels that are wrought.
By great Vdlmiki's yviU.
L'l/t. The waters of the Ganges are upheaved,
With sudden agitation — all the sky
Is crowded with divinities — behold —
Where rising from the depth, the Queen appear?.
By Gan2;u and by Prifhivi supported :
Hither she comes rejoicing
Jrun. Receive from us, the pure and faithful wife.

Unspotted Sila.
Laic. Prince, behold these Avonders :
Alas, he still is senseless.

Enter Arundhaii and Situ.
Ai un. Why thus bashful :

Haste thee my child, and let the consciousness
Of that dear hand, restore thy lord to life.
Sila. He wakes.

Ham. (Reviving.) My queen, my love •

My honoured mothei-, pure Jnindkati
With Rishi/asiinga and the pious Siintd — •
All here— all happy.
Anin. Prince, awhile attend ;

The goddess of thy race in favour speaks.

Ganga without.
Lord of the world— remember thy appeal.*

* See the first Act.

( no )

Thou hast invoked my caves for this, thy queen.
That as a mother T should guard her ever,
As if she were Arundhati. Behold.
I have obe3'ed thy -will — my debt is paid.

Arun. Again attend, thy mother Earth, addresses thee.
Prithivi withortt.
Lord of the world — remember thy appeal :
Thou hast committed Silci to my charge.
And called updn me to [ rotect my child.
1 have obeyed thy will — my debt is paid.

Ram. (Prostrating himself.)

How have J, sinful as I am, deserved.

Such heavenly favour. \

Aru7i. People of Aifodhija ;

Receive your queen, whom the great goddesses
Gangd and Prithivi, thus highly honour.
And now by me, Arundhati, presented you.
The Gods themselves have testified her purity.
And Fire borne witness to her spotless virtue.
From Sacrifice she draws her birth,* and reigns
Wife of the greatest of the sun's descendants.
Recall these things — and yield her veneration.
Lak. They feel the matron's censure : all the crov/d
Is bent in prostrate homage to the Queen,
Whilst from above, the guardians of the spheres.
And rulers of the planets, shed delighted,
A shower of heavenly flowers.

Arnn. Lord of the Avorld— imperial Bdmuhhadra,
In place of her similitude, be iSitd

* Slta was bora of the earth at a sacrifice performed by Janaka.

( 111 )

Herself, the partner of your Scicredrite,
Ram. Most joyfiill}'.
Lak. ( To Sitd. ) Lady and Queen, the shameless Lakshmana;

Is bold enough to offer you his homage.
Sila. IMay length of days reward such worth as thine.
Aran. Now may the Sage lead forth the lovely twins,

Kiisa and Lava, to embrace their parents.
Ham. This is joy indeed. —
Sila. Where are my children.

Enter Valmiki with Kiisa and Lava
Val. BehoLl your Parents, children; the Prince Lakshmana,

And there you grandsire — this your father's mother.
Sit a. ]\Iy dear father too. —
Kits, and Lav. — Dear father — dearest mother.
Ham. (Embracing them ) This is a recompense for all our

Sita. Come hither Kusa — hither Lava — come

Embrace your mother — now indeed restored

To life.
Kusa. and Lava. We are most blest.
Sita. — Lord I salute thee (to Vdlniiki.)
Val. May thy days be many.
Sita. My dear father — thus, Avith all I love encompassed

How can I bear so vast a weight of happiness.
A noise behind.
Val. (Looking out.) The demon Lfl?)««a is slain, and here

The Prince of Madhura advances —
Lak. All.

Conspires to make our happiness complete —
Ram. I scarce can credit what I see — yet thus

( n2 )

Does fate oppress the prosperous.

Val. Rama —

Is there ought else that may require our aicL

Rain. Nought, holy Sire, but thi , :

May that inspired strain, whose lines impart
This tale, de ight and purify the heart ;
As with a mother's love, each grief all:-
And wash like Ganga's wave, our sins avv,\y.
And may dramatic skill, and taste profound,
Pourtray the story, and the verse expound.
So that due honour ever shall belong
To the great master of poetic song.
Alike familiar with a loftier theme.
The sacred knowledge of the one supreme.*

This Drama labours under the disadvantage of a subject
drawn from national mythology, and although the more in-
teresting on that account to those to whom it was originally
addressed, it must lose much of itsmeritinthe eyes of those, to
whom the mythos of the Hindus is unattractive or unknown.

Another defect consequent upon the choice of its subject
is the want of action : theincidents are few, and although not
xniconnectedwith each other, nor independant of the denoue-
ment, th'jy occur abruptly, and are separated by intervals of
time and place, which trespass a little too strongly upon dra-
matic probabilities, and impair the interest of the story.

* The Poet acquainted with the Brahma Sahda^ the inspired and
uiiciealed I'cdas as iJenlifiable with Brahma or the Supreme being.

( 113 )

Apart from these defects, however, the Drama has much
to recommend it, and has more pretension to genuine pathos,
than perhaps any other specimen of the Hindu Theatre. The
mutual sorrows of Rama and IS'itu in their state of separation
are pleasingly and tenderly expressed, and the meeting of
the father and his sons may be compared advantageously with
similar scenes, with which the fictions of Europe both poeti-
cal and dramatic abound.

Besides the felicitous expression of softer feelings, this
play has some curious pictures of the beau ideal of heroic
bearing, and of thedutiesof a AVarrior and a Prince. A higher
elevation can scarcely be selected for either. The true spirit
of chivalry pervades the encounter of the two young Princes,
and the quiet devotedness with which Rama sacrifices his
wife and domestic happiness to the prosperity of his subjects,
is a worthy counterpart to the immolation of natural affecti-
ons to public interests, which is so frequent in the early his-
tory of Greece.

The characters of the Drama are individualised by the
features just noticed as belonging to those of the heroic class,
and by the sentiments of piety and the tone of authority, whi. h
animate the religious personages introduced upon the scene,
amongst whom, that females bear so important a part, maybe
regarded as another characteristicpe culiarity. The incidents,
as already noticed to, are not numerous, but they are dramatic
and interesting, and upon the feelings of a Hindu must have
exercised a powerfid influence. — To a belief that vivifies
all objects, and gives to mountains and rivers divine forms
and sentient natures, the representations of this play must
have been awful and sublime. The most inferior of the

( !14 )

personages exhibited are the Spirits of air, or of the forest or
the flood, who mingle fumiiiarly and affectionately with demi-
gods and deified Sages. Earth the mother of all beings, and
Gangd the river of the three worlds, are introduced in person,
and the final reunion of Rama with his family is witnessed, not
only by the people of Ayodliya, and the elders of either race,
but by the congregated deities of Earthand Heaven.

The language of the beings of fictitious existence is either
narrative or descriptive, and in the former is simple, and in
the latter picturesque. That, of the human characters, is, as
usual with our author, rather passionate than poetical, but
some brilliant thoughts occur, the justice and beauty of which
are not surpassed in any literature. The comparison of
Ckandraketu to a Lion's cub turning to brave the thunderbolt
is one of these, and another is the illustration of the effects of
education upon minds possessed or destitute of natural gifts.
It is needless to specify other passages. The general tone of
the piece is imaginative and elevated, and it is entitled at
least to the designation of a Dramatic Poem.


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Online LibraryH. H. (Horace Hayman) WilsonSelect specimens of the theatre of the Hindus (Volume 2) → online text (page 21 of 21)