पृष्ठ:Sakuntala in Hindi.pdf/११

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PREFACE. in Professor Monier Tilliams's translation of the Sanskrit original. It is enough to say that King Dushyanta, taring plighted his troth to one Sakuntala, sulisequently, under the influence of a Brahmaur's curse, loses all recollection of the fact. Then Sakuntala comes before iiim. lle isnores her: and she is unable to reliase him from the curse. har- ing, in the interini, lost a ring into which talismanie virtue had been infused. The subsequent recovery of the ring recalls Dushyanta from his obliviousness; and, shocked at the injustice he had ummittingly dome, he refuses consolation, until lie has regained his mistress, and acknowledged her as a wife. The legend itself is among the oltlest in Indian ; for Sakuntala is spoken of in the Satapatha-brahmanm; and her' mother Menaka is mentioneil in the Vajasaneya-sanliita of the Yajur- reda. In the Mahabharata the whole tale will be found in much the same form in which it is here giren by Kalitlasu ; rhenes it appears that the poet has embodiel a genuine tindlition, and has not presented us with a mere invention. The chief historical ralue of the play consists in the social anl moral state of things whiclh it exemplifies. We have before us a life-like picture of the Hindus, men and women, as they were in the time of Kalidlasa ; anil, although in some respects we may disrelish it, the picture is, on the fhole, by no means disagreeable. We find an innocent play of feeling, and a conscious striving after virtue, whieh impart, ankl must always impart, a deep human interest to this tharna. The whole is so eminently hatural, so full of artless simplicity, and so cleroitl of all artificialness, that the eharacters come before the mental eye as living yeings, and the reader iresistibly fecisthat "touch of nature" whiell invests with kinship to us even these legendary creations of distant India. Conformably to Lastern itleus, the macliinery of the play is super:- matural; but this can scarcely be considered as a lefeet, ilhasmuch as the play hinges om it essentially. The eares-dropping of King Dusli- Fanta does not seem to have been though ungentlemanls%3B it may have been intended to illustrate one of the littlenesses of great meu. The King, however, is not the best travin character in the play. The Witty, credulous, selfish, ant rain thatharyn is far abore hiin as ain horon