« PreviousContinue »
THERE are two recensions of the Ramayan, one belonging to Benares and the North-West of India, the other to Bengal proper. Two books out of the seven of which the latter consists, were published with an English prose translation in 1806 and 1810 by Carey and Marshman, the venerable Missionaries of Serampore. Two books of the Benares recension, with an excellent Latin translation of the first book and part of the second, were published in 1829 by Augustus William von Schlegel. A magnificent edition of the Bengal recension, with an accurate and elegant translation into Italian, has since been brought out, under royal auspices, by Signor Gorresio of Turin, and a French translation of this edition has been published by M. Hippolyte Fauche. There is an excellent article on the Ramayan in the Westminster Review, Vol. L., and another full of interest
ing information on the same subject in the forty-fifth Number of the Calcutta Review. Professor Williams's “Indian Epic Poetry” gives a full analysis of the poem with several metrical specimens, and Mrs. Speir in “Life in Ancient India," and Mlle. Clarisse Bader in “La Femme dans L'Inde Antique” have written lovingly and gracefully upon the great work of Valmiki. To these authorities (and to Mr. Talboys Wheeler's second volume of his history of India) the reader is referred for the results of European criticism upon the poem and for the opinions formed of it in the West by those who have become acquainted with the great poem of the Hindus either in the original or by means of translation. Here, instead of an introduction of my own, I offer what I think will be more interesting, some remarks by Baboo Pramadadas Mittra, an orthodox Hindu, formerly my pupil and now my esteemed colleague.
“The Ramayan is the oldest and most glorious