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that a bare transposition of the accents gives five English couplets in the form which some call heroic, and others elegiac. As a metrical curiosity, I first transcribe the lines in the measure of the original, with the transposed version of the couplets in the English form:
With cheeks where eternal paradise bloom'd,
It has already been mentioned, that, in the earliest periods of his education, Sir William Jones had applied himself with uncommon assiduity to the study of prosody, and, as he advanced in the acquisition of new dialects, he continued to cultivate a knowledge of the laws of metre, which he found of the greatest utility, in ascertaining the text of Oriental authors. In the collection of his works, we read a translation of the first Nemean ode of Pindar, as nearly as possible in the same measure as the original, and 5
amongst other compositions of the same kind, not intended for publication, I find a translation of an ode of Sappho, word for word from the original, and syllable for syllable in the same measure, by the truest rules of English quantity.
In the beginning of 1789, the first volume of the Researches of the society was published. The selection of the papers was left to the judgment of Sir William Jones, and he undertook the laborious and unpleasant office of superintending the printing. A third part of the volume, the most interesting as well as instructive, is occupied by the contributions of the president.
Having passed half of my life in India, I may be permitted to avail myself of the opportunity afforded by this publication, to vindicate my fellow-labourers in the East, from one amongst many reproaches undeservedly bestowed upon them. A disinclination to explore the literature and antiquities of Hindustan has been urged, as the natural consequence of that immoderate pursuit of riches, which was supposed to be the sole object of the servants of the East-India Company, and to engross their whole attention. The difficulty attending the acquisition of new idioms, the obstacles opposed by the fears, prejudices, and the reserve of the natives, the constant occupations of official duty, and the injurious effect of sedentary application in a tropical climate upon the constitution, were unnoticed or disregarded, and no allowances made for impediments, which time and perseverance could alone surmount.
The reproach was unmerited ; and long before the arrival of Sir William Jones in India, the talents of several persons there had . been applied with considerable success, not only to investigations, by which the public interests were essentislly assisted, but to those
scientific researches, which he more effectually promoted. The art of printing bad been introduced into Bengal, by the untaught skilt of Mr. Wilkins, and had advanced to great perfection ; and many publications cqually useful and interesting, issued from the press which he had established,
The genius, example, and direction of Sir William Jones, anticipated what time might perhaps have effected, but with slower progress. With advantages which no European in India possessed, he employed the ascendancy derived from his superior learning, knowledge, and abilities, to form an institution for promoting and preserving the literary labours of his countrymen ; and while he exhibited himself an example for imitation, and pointed out in his discourses, those, extensive investigations which he only was capable of conceiving, his conduct was adapted to encourage, and invite all who possessed talents and knowledge, to contribute to the success of the institution. The establishment of the society, which does no less honour to him, than to the character of our countrymen in Asia, may hereafter form an important article in the general history of arts and sciences; and, if the future labours of the members should be continued with the same zeal, the obligations of the public will be proportionably increased*. In the twenty years which have elapsed since this establishment was formed, more accurate information on the history and antiquities, on the arts, sciences, and literature of India, has been given to the world, than ever before appeared; and without disparaging the labours of other investigators, and the merit of antecedent publications, the volumes of the Asiatic Researches will ever remain
* Three volumes of the Asiatic Researches were published before the death of Sir William Jones; a fourth was ready for the press, at the time of his demise, in April 1794, and a seventh volume has since been received in England.
an honourable testimony of the zeal and abilities of the British residents in Hindustan*.
copy of this work was transmitted by Sir William Jones to the Right Honourable Henry Dundas, with a letter intimating a wish that the King would honour the society by his acceptance of it, with which his Majesty graciously compliedt.
* I cannot omit this opportunity of paying a tribute to the enlightened views and enlarged policy of Marquis Wellesley, Governor-General of India, in founding a college at Fort William, in Bengal, for the instruction of the servants of the East-India Company, in every branch of useful knowledge. The plan of the institution may perhaps have been more extensive than was absolutely necessary for this purpose, but against the principle of it, no solid objection could be urged. The functions assigned to the servants of the East-India Company, are of great magnitude, variety, and importance ; and to discharge them properly, requires the education of a statesman and legislator, and a thorough knowledge of the dialects in use in Hindustan. To enable the servants of the Company to acquire the necessary qualifications for the due discharge of these important duties, was the grand object of the institution, which at the same time comprehended the religious instruction, and the superintendance of the morals and habits of the pupils. Considered in a secondary and subordinate point of view, it was calculated to promote the objects proposed in the formation of the Asiatic society. A volume of essays by the students in the college has been published, which does equal honour to them and to the institution.
+ The acceptance of the volume by the King, was announced by the following letter :
Lord GRENville to the Right Honourable H. DUNDAS.
Whitehall, Feb. 22, 1790. Having laid before the King, Sir William Jones's letter to you; I am directed by His Majesty, to signify his gracious acceptance of the volume transmitted by you; and at the same time, to express His Majesty's satisfaction in the progress of the sciences in the British establishment in India, and his approbation of the important undertaking in which Sir William Jones is engaged.
I am, Sir,
W. W. GRENVILLE.
In the same year, Sir William presented to the public a translation of an ancient Indian drama, under the title of Sacontala, or the Fatal Ring, exhibiting a most pleasing and authentic picture of old Hindu manners, and one of the greatest curiosities that the literature of Asia had yet brought to light. Calidas, the author of it, whom Sir William Jones calls the Shakspeare of India, lived in the first century before Christ, not many years after Terence, and he wrote several other dramas and poetical pieces, of which only Sacontala has received an European dress. The violation of the unities, as well as the mixture of foreign mythology, which constitutes the machinery of the play, are irreconcileable with the purer taste, which marks the dramatic compositions of Europe : but, although the translator declined offering a criticism on the characters and conduct of the play, “ from a conviction that the • tastes of men differ as much as the sentiments and passions, and “ that in feeling the beauties of art as in smelling flowers, tasting “ fruits, viewing prospects, and hearing melody, every individual “ must be guided by his own sensations and the incommunica“ ble associations of his own ideas," we may venture to pronounce that, exclusive of the wild, picturesque, and sublime imagery which characterizes it, the simplicity of the dialogue in many of the scenes, and the natural characters of many of the personages introduced, cannot fail of exciting pleasure and interest in the reader; who will wish with me, perhaps, that Sir William Jones had not rigidly adhered to the determination which he expressed, not to employ his leisure in translating more of the works of Calidas.
In December 1789, the author of these memoirs was compelled, by the reiterated attacks of severe indisposition, to leave India. For an account of the occupations of Sir William Jones, from that period to his return, I refer to his correspondence, beginning with