पृष्ठ:Sakuntala in Hindi.pdf/१२

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VII
PREFACE.

vii PREFACE. artistic conception. The latter is the Sancho Panza of the piece, and prevents all risk of tedium by his absurd sallies and clumsy drollery. The portraiture of the old Doorkeeper,also, is excellent. In this reflec- tions on delivering a message (p.52), we have an amusing picture of temporizing snbservience, mingled with a singularly natural dash of cunning, which shows how true an insight Kalidasa possessed into the weaknesses of his own sex. The representation of the female characters is simply charming. Sisterly affection, kindly forbearance, generous assistance, tender solicitutle for the welfare of others, such are the virtues whiell the treatler is taught to expeet in the gentler sex. The intellectual and social status of women is revealed by the circumstance that Kalidasa felt it necessary to make the King give Sakuntala a ring with three letters upon it, so that, by reckoning one letter each day, she might be able to compute the three days he intended to absent himself from her (p. 75). Indeed, it is insinuated that women are designedly kept ignorant; for, in p. 61, we read that “women-folk without instruction execed men in craftiness; should they become well- instructel, there is no knowing what they would do!" Moreover, we discover, froin p. 50, that woman was esteemed a mere chattel for the gratification of her lord (pati), as the husband is not inappropriately called. It is. llowever, fair to add that this last passage is found in only the Bangali recension, which is the more modern and corrupt form of the play. Some consolation may he drawn, lhy Englislimen, from the episode of the Fishermen, in p.68. It has been asserted, that the English hard introduced intemperance into India; but the incident referred to teaches us that, in Kalidasa's time, it was only natural to represent the less refined portion of his countrymen as resorting to the tavern to indulge in a carouse. Dr. Fergusson inferred, from certain Buddhistie sculptures, that anciently the liigliest in the land enjoyed the seductive glass, or, rather, the spouted pot; for the liquor seems to lhave been sucked up firom a vessel not unlike a tea-pot, 'I'lhe text of the play here given is a critical reprint of the transla- tion of Kuiivar Lachhman Sinli, a Deputy Collector of the North-West Provinces, It is exceedingly well exceuted, and, while adhering faith- fully to the Sanskrit, moves with all the freedom of an original compor sition. I have already commended Mr. Lachhinan Sihli's unpedantic