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that the Indian theatre would fill as many volumes as that of any nation in ancient or modern Europe: all the Pandits assert that their plays are innumerable; and, on my first inquiries concerning them, I had notice of more than thirty, which they consider as the flower of their Natacs; among which, the Malignant Child, the Rape of Usha, the Taming of Durvasas, the Seizure of the Lock, Malati and Madhava, with five or six dramas on the adventures of their incarnate gods, are the most admired after those of Calidas. They are in verse, where the dialogue is elevated; and in prose, where it is familiar; the men of rank and learning are represented speaking pure Sanscrit, and the women Pracrit, which is little more than the language of the Brahmins melted down by a delicate articulation to the softness of Italian; while the low persons of the drama speak the vulgar dialects of the several provinces which they are supposed to inhabit.

"The play of Sacontalá must have been very popular when it was first represented;

for the Indian empire was then in full vigour, and the national vanity must have been highly flattered by the magnificent introduction of those kings and heroes in whom the Hindus gloried; the scenery must have been splendid and beautiful; and there is good reason to believe, that the court at Avanti* was equal in brilliancy during the reign of Vicramaditya, to that of any monarch in any age or country. Dushmanta, the hero of the piece, appears in the chronological tables of the Brahmins among the children of the moon, and in the twenty-first generation after the flood; so that, if we can at all rely on the chronology of the Hindūs, he was nearly contemporary with Obed, or Jesse; and Puru, his most celebrated ancestor, was the fifth in descent from Buddha, or Mercury, who married, they say, a daughter of the pious king, whom Vishnu preserved in an ark from the universal deluge: his eldest son Bheret was the illustrious progenitor of

* Now named Oujein, see p. 3 of this volume.

Curu, from whom Pándu was lineally de-
scended, and in whose family the Indian
Apollo became incarnate; whence the
poem, next in fame to the Ramayan, is
called Mahabharat."*

" com

"The Pracrita, or second class of Indian languages," (says Mr. Colebrooke) prehends the written dialects which are now used in the intercourse of civil life, and which are cultivated by lettered men. The author of a passage already quoted, includes all such dialects under the general denomination of Pracrit: but this term is commonly restricted to one language, namely to the Saraswati bala bani, or the speech of children on the banks of the Saraswati, or youthful speech of Saraswati. There is reason to believe that ten polished dialects formerly prevailed in as many different civilized nations, who occupied all the fertile provinces of Hindūstān and the Dekhan. Evident traces of them still exist. They shall be noticed in the order

* Works of Sir W. Jones, vol. ix, p. 367, et seq.

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in which these Hindu nations are usually enumerated."

"The Sareswata was a nation which occupied the banks of the river Saraswati. Brahmanas, who are still distinguished by the name of their nation, inhabit chiefly the Panjab or Panchanada, west of the river from which they take their appellation. Their original language may have once prevailed through the southern and western parts of Hindustan proper, and is probably the idiom to which the name of Pracrit is generally appropriated. This has been more cultivated than any other among the dialects which will be here enumerated, and it occupies a principal place in the dialogue of most dramas. Many beautiful poems composed wholly in this language, or intermixed with stanzas of pure Sanscrit, have perpetuated the memory of it, though perhaps it may have long ceased to be a vernacular tongue. Grammars have been compiled for the purpose of teaching this language and its prosody, and several treatises of rhetoric have

been written to illustrate its beauties. The Pracrita Manorama and Pracrita Pingala are instances of the one, and the Saraswati Cantabharana of Bhojadeva, may be named as an example of the other, although both Sanscrit and Pracrit idioms furnish the examples with which that author elucidates his precepts."

"The Canyacubjas possessed a great empire, the metropolis of which was the ancient city of Canyacubja or Canoge. Theirs seems to be the language which forms the ground-work of modern Hindūstanee, and which is known by the appellation of Hindi or Hindevi. Two dialects of it may be easily distinguished, one more refined, the other less so. To this last the name of Hindi is sometimes restricted, while the other is often confounded with Pracrit. Numerous poems have been composed in both dialects, not only before the Hindustanee was ingrafted on the Hindi by a large intermixture of Persian, but also in very modern times, by Mohammedan as well as Hindu poets On examination,

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