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on the back of the paper, of the best couplets. The smaller volume contains part of the epic Jesus (blessed be his name !) the government acquires its stability from thy mind. I have composed a poem in words of truth, beginning with a panegyric on the company.
It contains a recital of the wars of the English, described with an animated pen. By the command of Hastings, entitled to reverence, I began a book on the victory of Benares; but before the completion of my task, that honourable man returned to his country. In thy government has my work been completed, and with thy name have I adorned its opening, in hope that thou wilt send me fresh materials, to decorate with golden verses the checks of my book. If I compose a Shahnameh, on the glorious name of the King of England, the book will fly over Iran and Turan, and the deeds of thy nation will blaze like the sun; if I sing the achievements of the English, the name of Parveiz will be no more mentioned. If I open a chapter of their conquests, Afrasiab will tremble under the earth; the rapid motion of my dark reed will make Rustem halt and droop. Hear my strains with discernment, and my pen shall soar with the wings of a falcon. Favour me, as Sultan Mahmoud shewed kindness to Ferdosi, that we may be a pair of tuneful nightingales.
The actions of all nations are commemorated, let those of the English be celebrated under thy auspices. May thy orders be resistless as the sea; the head of the contumacious be in thy power, and the seal of government bear thy name! On the names mentioned in this translation, it may
be sufficient to observe that Ferdosi is the Homer of Persia,
poem, which is written with enthusiasm; and the other volume is filled with odes and elegies, all in the old man's writing. He is married to immortal verse, and his highest ambition is to be an atom in one of your sunbeams.
Sir William Jones to y. Macpherson, Esq.
May, 1785. The ornament of the faith (for that is the bard's name) Zainudeen will wait upon you on Wednesday ; his style of compliments is moderate in comparison of most Oriental compositions; other poets of this country would have entreated you not to ride on horseback, left you should cause an earthquake in India when you mounted. This was actually said to a prince at Delhi, who pleasantly bade the poet comfort himself, and assured him, that he would ever after
who composed an heroic poem under the title of Shahnameh; that the name of Nushirovan, is proverbial for justice; that Iran and Turan are Persia and Tartary; and that the other persons introduced were kings or heroes of those countries.
Sir William Jones to y. Macpherson, Esq.
May 26, 1785. The regulation which
made concerning the Madrissa * is so falutary, that few things would grieve me more than to see it frustrated. Your predecessor has often mentioned to me, the high opinion which he had formed of the rector, but (I know not for wliat reason) he is very unpopular. Perhaps it is only faction, too common in most col
* The passages in these letters relating to the Madrissa or college, as an establishment of national importance, merits a more particular explanation. Mr. Hastings, whilst he held the office of governor-general, with a view to promote the knowledge of Mohammedan law, as essential to the due administration of justice to the natives of India, had established a college at Calcutta, in which native students were admitted and taught at the public expence. This institution was dictated by a wise policy; it was calculated to conciliate the affections of the Mussulmans, and to ensure a succession of men properly qualified by education to expound the law of the Koran, and to fill the important offices of magistrates in the courts of justice. The president of this college had been selected with every attention to his character and ability; but some representations having been made to his disadvantage, the succeeding governor-general, J. Macpherson, Esq. consulted Sir William Jones, on the regulations proper to be established for promoting the laudable obo jects of the institution, and controlling its conduct,
leges at our universities, of the students against the head.
It is a remark of Johnson's *, that as fpiders would make filk, if they could agree together, so men of letters would be useful to the public, if they were not perpetually at variance. Besides my approbation as a good citizen of your regulations, I have a particular interest in the conduct of Mujduddeen, who is Maulavyť of the court, and as such ought to be omni exceptione major. I believe from my conversation with him, that he is not a man of deep learning; but his manners are not unpleasing. The proposal which you make, cannot but produce good effects; but I hardly know any member of our society who answers your description for a visitor under your directions, except Mr. Chambers, and his report might be depended on. I
you please, propose it on Thursday. The students brought a complaint before me last term, which I dismissed as not being witá
in my cognizance, that their allowances were taken by the head, who left them without subsistence; but whether this be true or false, it will not be amiss for the Maulavy to know, that he is subject to visitation from time to time.
If the best intentions can ensure safety, you have nothing to apprehend; but, alas ! my friend, if you can be safe only in fixed unanimous opinions of statute law, you can seldom, I fear, act with perfect confidence. Such is the imperfection of human language, that few written laws are free from ambiguity; and it rarely happens that are united in the same interpretation of them.
A statesman told Lord Coke, that he meant to consult him on a point of law. “ If it be " common law,” said Coke, “ I should be « alhamed if I could not give you a ready “ answer; but if it be statute-law, I should be equally ashamed if I answered you
I will here only set down a few rules of interpretation which the wisdom of ages has