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unfortunately accommodated the sacred language to the vernacular idiom and pronunciation. A Sanscrit Grammar, by Mr. Wilkins, appeared in the same year, which has the character, among the learned, of accuracy, preciseness, and perspicuity, notwithstanding its great length, which the multitude of rules and exceptions in the language has swelled to 656 pages.

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The author of the able article upon this Grammar, in the thirteenth volume of the Edinburgh Review, has given a very interesting table of the analogy of the Sanscrit with some other languages, which certainly goes far to confirm the opinion of Mr. Colebrooke and of Sir William Jones, concerning the primeval tongue from which these languages may have been derived, and which I quoted in the early part of this Letter. The first part of the analogy consists of words expressing the names of different parts of the body, and the relations of consanguinity, thus

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In this last word, there is an example of the manner in which the Sanscrit double letters are

changed into letters of the West,-a transposition not accidental but constant, the bh into f, the ch into qu, as in chator, quator (four), and many others.

The second point is the analogy in the structure of some of these languages, perceived in the distinctions of the feminine and neuter genders; the declensions of nouns; the signs of comparison; the infinitives and declensions of verbs, which goes so far as the irregularity and defectiveness of the substantive verb.


The eight cases render the use of prepositions superfluous; they are, therefore, exclusively prefixed to verbs, being without signification alone. But I shall venture no farther on this subject, which, I fear, I can hardly render as interesting as I should wish; for I intend, in my next Letter, to notice some of the principal writers in the languages I have been mentioning: and I hope to present you with rather an agreeable picture of ancient Hindostan, when I lay before you the amusements of King Vicramaditya's court, and introduce you-if you have not already introduced yourself to the elegant Calidas, and the pious and venerable Valmiki.

The Indian poetry is rich, high, and varied, abounding in luxuriant descriptions, and occasionally displaying both grandeur and tender

ness: but it must be confessed, that it is often rendered dull by repetition and bombast, and deformed by an indelicacy unknown to European writers.

"They loudest sing

"The vices of their deities, and their own
"In fable, hymn, or song, so personating
"Their gods ridiculous, themselves past shame!


You will, nevertheless, find something to please, and more to interest you. India, it is probable, if not certain, is the parent of all the western gods; and, consequently, of that beautiful body of poetry which has the Grecian mythology for its basis: and though the child be grown up to a beauty and strength, of which the mother could never boast, we cannot behold without reverence, the origin of all that has delighted and instructed us, of those heavenly strains which have soothed our griefs or quieted our passions, and in a manner given us a new moral existence. How often in our evening walks on the banks of the Thames, or amid the woody glens of Scotland, has the spring of life, the breathing flood of existence around us, seemed to realize the fables of the poets, and to people every tree and every wave with a tutelary deity! And believe me, that in the forests of

Hindostan, and on its caverned mountains, the same divinities have been adored, for the same feelings and passions have filled the hearts of their votaries.



SINCE the Bramins were almost exclusively the lettered men of India, it will not appear extraordinary that the literature of that country should be so intimately blended with its religion, that it seems impossible to separate them however, I shall put off to another time the history of the Vedas, or four sacred books of the Hindoos, and content myself at present with profaner poems. But, before I proceed, I must say one word of the Sanscrit prosody, which is said to be richer in variations of metre than any other known language.

Sanscrit and Prácrit poetry is regulated by the number, length, and disposition of syllables, and is disposed into several classes, each of which is again subdivided. Some of the metres admit any number of syllables, from twentyseven to nine hundred and ninety-nine; and others are equally remarkable for their brevity:

but the most common Sanscrit metre, is the stanza of four verses, containing eight syllables each.

Sanscrit poetry admits both of rhyme and blank verse, and is in some instances subject to very rigid rules, although, in others, there is scarcely any restraint.

The rules of prosody are contained in brief aphorisms, called Sutras, the reputed author of which is PINGALANA, a fabulous being, in the shape of a serpent, and who, under the name of PATANJALI, is the author of the Maha Bhashya, or great commentary on grammar. The Sutras have been commented on by a great variety of authors; and there are also some other original treatises on the subject, the most remarkable of which, is that by the poet CALIDASA, who teaches the laws of versification in the very metres to which they relate.

Every kind of ornament seems to be admissible in the Indian poetry, and some embellishments which we should look upon as burlesque, are admitted even in the most pathetic poems. Calidasa himself, in the Nalodáya, gives an example of a series of puns on a pathetic subject, and employs both rhyme and alliteration in the termination of his verses.

When you have time, I advise you, if you wish to know all the varieties of metre, and

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