Page images
PDF
EPUB

You are not cruel, and a gentle nature
Ranks you above your sovereign. I implore you,
By all your future hopes, oh! once permit me

To view my son, ere I depart to death. 1st Chan. Let him come-Men, stand back, and let the child approach here, this way.

Enter MAITREYA with ROHASENA. Mai. Here we have him, boy, once more; your dear father, who was going to be murdered.

Boy. Father-Father!
Char. Come bither, my dear child. (Embraces him and takes his hands.)

These little hands will ill suffice to sprinkle
The last sad drops upon my funeral pyre-
Scant will my spirit sip thy love, and then
A long and painful thirst in heaven succeeds.
What sad memorial shall I leave thee, boy,
To speak to thee bereafter of thy father ?
This sacred string, whilst yet 'tis mine, I give thee.
The Brahman's proudest decoration, boy,
Is not of gold nor gems, but this-with which
He ministers to sages and to Gods.

This grace my child, when I shall be no more. (Takes of his Brahmanical cord, and puts it round his son's neck.)

1st Chan. Come, you Charudatta, come along.

2d Chan. More respect, my master-recollect; by night or day, in adversity or prosperity, worth is always the same. Come, sir, complaints are unavailing; fate holds her course, and it is not to be expected that men will honour the moon, when Rahu has hold of him.

Roha. Where do you lead my father, vile Chandala ?
Char. I go to death, my child; the fatal chaplet

Of Karavira hangs around my neck :
The stake upon my shoulder rests, my heart
Is burdened with despair, as, like a victim

Dressed for the sacrifice, I meet my fate. Ist Chan. Harkye, my boy, they who are born Chandalas are not the only onese those whose crimes disgrace their birth are Chandalas too.

Rohu. Why, then, want to kill my father?
1 si Chan. The king orders us; it is his fault, not ours,
Roha. Take and kill me ; let my father go.
1st Chan. My brave little fellow, long life to you,
Char. (Embracing him.)

This is the truest wealth ; love equal smiles
On poor and rich : the bosom's precious balm
Is not the fragrant herb, nor costly unguent-

But nature's breath, affection's holy perfume. Mai. Come now, my good fellows, let my worthy friend escape : you only want a body-mine is at your disposal.

Char. Forbear-Forbear.

Ist Chan. Come on; stand off; what do you throng to see? a good man who bas lost his all, and fallen into despair, like a gold bucket whose rope breaks, and it tumbles into the well.

2d Chan. Here stop, beat the drum, and proclaim the sentence. (As before.) Char. This is the heaviest pang of all; to think

Such bitter fruit attends my closing life.
And, oh! what anguish, love, to hear the calumny
Thus noised abroad, that thou wast slain by me. [Exeunt.

Samsthanaka surveys the scene be banquet to the heart. He is dressed low from a window of his palace- like a young steer-and they are tasaying, “ I have had a most sump- king him to the south.” His solilotuous regale in the palace here; rice quy is broken by discovering that with acid sauce, and meat, and fish, his slave, who saw the murder, has and vegetables, and sweetmeats. made his escape, and he runs after The destruction of an enemy is a him towards the station. One of VOL. XXXV, NO. CCXVII.

K

the executioners sees him coming- of the excellent Charudatta ?" The and cries—“ Out of the way there mob take part with the slave-and

make room-here he comes like a Samsthanaka first loudly accuses mad ox, butting with the sharp horns him of being a thief and a robber, of arrogance.” He tries to cajole and then whispers in his ear to take the slave, but he won't be cajoled a bribe of jewels. The slave takes and cries savagely, “ What, sir, are the bracelet and holds it up-and you not satisfied with having mur- the murderer instantly cries outdered Vasantasena, that you must “ See the very ornament I punished now endeavour to compass the death him for stealing!

1st Chan. It is very true-and a scorched slave will set any thing on fire.

Stha. Alas, this is the curse of slavery, to be disbelieved even when we speak the truth. Worthy Charudatta, I can do no more. (Falls at his feet.) Char. Rise, thou who feelest for a good man's fall,

And com'st a virtuous friend to the afflicted,
Grieve not, thy cares are vain, whilst destiny
Forbids my liberation, all attempts

Like thine, will profit nothing.
1st Chan. As your honour has already chastised this slave, you should let him go.
Sams. Come-come. What is this delay: why do you not despatch this fellow ?
1st Chan. If you are in such haste, sir, you had better do it yourself.
Ruh. Kill me, and let my father live.
Sams. Kill both ; father and son perish together.
Char. All answers to his wish-Return, my child,
Go to thy mother, and with her repair
To some asylum, where thy father's fate
Shall leave no stain on thee my friend, conduct them

Hence without delay.
Mai. Think not, my dear friend, that I intend to survive you.
Char. My good Maitreya, the vital spirit owes not

Obedience to our mortal will: beware
How you presume to cast that life away :

It is not thine to give, or to abandon.
Mai. (Apart.) It may not be right, but I cannot bear to live when he is gone.
I will go to the Brahman's wife, and then follow my friend. (Aloud.) Well, I
obey : this task is easy. (Falls at his feet, and, rising, takes the child in his arms.)

Sams. Hola, did I not order you to put the boy to death along with his father ? (Charudatta expresses alarm.)

Ist Chan. We have no such orders from the Rajah-away, boy, away. (Forces off Maitreya and Rohasena.) This is the third station, beat the drum, and proclaim the sentence. (As before.)

Sams. (Apari.) The people seem to disbelieve the charge. (Aloud.) Why, Charudatta, the townsmen doubt all this : be honest ; say at once, I killed Vasantasena. (Charudatta continues silent.) Ho, Chandala, this vile sinner is dumb; make him speak; lay your cane across his back.

2d Chan. Speak, Charudatta. (Strikes him.)
Char. Strike I fear not blows : in sorrow plunged,

Think you such lesser ills can shake my bosom?
Alone I feel the flame of men's reports,

The foul assertion that I slew my love.
Sams. Confess, confess.
Char. My friends and fellow-citizens, ye know me.
Sams. She is murdered.
Char. Be it so.
1st Chan. Come- the execution is your duty.
2d Chan. No-it is yours.

1st Chan. Let us reckon. (They count.) Now, if it be my turn, I shall delay it as long as I can.

2d Chan. Why? 1st Chan, I will tell you-my father, when about to depart to heaven, said to me -Son, whenever you have a culprit to execute, proceed deliberately, never do your work in a hurry; for, perhaps, some worthy character may purchase the criminal's liberation; perhaps a son may be born to the Rajah, and a general pardon be pro

claimed-perhaps an elephant may break loose, and the prisoner escape in the confusion or perhaps a change of rulers may take place, and every one in bondage be set at large.

Sams. (Apart.) A change of rulers.
1st Chan. Come, let us finish our reckoning.
Sams. Be quick-be quick, get rid of your prisoner. (Retires.)

Ist Cahn. Worthy Charudatta—we but discharge our duty-the king is culpable, not we, who must obey his orders : consider-have you any thing to say ? Char. If virtue yet prevail, may she who dwells

Amongst the blest above, or breathes on earth,
Clear my fair fame from the disastrous spots
Unfriendly fate, and man's accusing tongue,

Have fixed upon me-Whither do you lead me? Ist Chan. Behold the place the southern cemetery, where criminals quickly get rid of life ; see where jackalls feast upon one half of the mangled body, whilst the other yet grins ghastly on the pointed stake.

Char. Alas, my fate! (Sits down.)
Sams. I shall not go till I have seen his death. How, sitting?
1st Chan. What ! are you afraid, Charudatta ?
Char. (Rising.) Of infamy I am, but not of death.

Ist Chan. Worthy sir, in heaven itself the sun and moon are not free from change and suffering; how should we, poor weak mortals, hope to escape them in this lower world? One man rises but to fall, another falls to rise again, and the vesture of the carcass is at one time laid aside, and at another resumed ;-think of these things, and be firm. This is the fourth station, proclaim the sentence. (Proclamation as before.)"

But make way for the Bauddha spread, mountain-banner'd earth!”. Mendicant and the dead-alive-the Servillaka, the night-robber, insurstrangled Vasantasena! She flings gent, and patriot, appears, and cries, herself on Cbarudatta's bosom, and the executioners stand aghast. The

“ This hand hath slain the king, and on

the throne murderer absconds—but the one of

Of Palaka ascends our valiant chief, those grim personages says to the other, “Harkye, brother, we were

Resistless Aryaka, in haste anointed." ordered to put to death the mur- He joins hands with Charudatta, derer of Vasantasena-we had better and raises them to his forehead. “In then secure the Rajah's brother-in me behold the plunderer who forced law." The rescued says to his de his way into your mansion, and bore liverer

off the pledge intrusted to your care “Behold, my sweet! these emblems that

-I ask you mercy. To you who enso late

abled the Son of the Cow-herd to es. Denoted shame and death, shall now

cape from death, he gives authority proclaim

in Ujayin, along the Veni's borders, A different tale, and speak our nuptial Kusavati ;”—but another uproarjoy,

“ Bring him along-bring him along This crimson vesture be the bridegroom's -the Rajah’s vislanous brother-ingarb,

law.” Enter mob dragging along This garland be the bride's delightful Samsthanaka, with his arms tied bepresent;

hind his back. And this brisk drum shall change its mournful sounds

“Sams. Alas, alas-how I am maltreatTo cheerful tones of marriage celebra ed : bound and dragged along as if I were tion."

a restive ass, or a dog, or any brute beast.

I am beset by the enemies of the state ; Loud shouts are now heard from whom can I dy to for protection ?-yes, I a distance-and cries of “ Victory to will have recourse to him. (Approaches Vrishabhaketu, the despoiler of Charudatta.) Preserve me. (Falls at Daksha's sacrifice. Glory to the six- his feet.) faced scatterer of armies, the foe M ob. Let him alone, Charudatta; of Krauncha; victory to Aryaka, the leave him to us, we'll despatch him. subjugator of his adversaries, and Sams. O, pray, Charudatta, I am helptriumphant monarch of the wide less; I have no hope but you.

Char. Banish your terror; they that Char. An humbled foe who prostrate sue for mercy

at your feet Have nothing from their foes to dread. Solicits quarter, must not feel your sword. Ser. Hence with the wretch.

Ser, Admit the law, then give him to Drag him from Charudatta-Worthy sir, the dogs. Why spare this villain ?-Bind him, do Char. Not so. you hear,

His punishment be mercy. And cast him to the dogs ; saw him Ser. You move my wonder, but shall asunder;

be obeyed. Or hoist him on the stake; despatch, What is your pleasure ? away.

Char. Loose him, and let him go. Char. Hold, hold-may I be heard ? Ser. He is at liberty. (Unties him.) Ser. Assuredly.

Sums. Huzza !--I am again alive." Sams. Most excellent Charudatta, I Another cry-for the noble wife have flown to you for refuge-0 protect of Charudatta, with her child vainly me, spare me now; I will never seek clinging to her raiment, seeks to enter your harm any more. Mob. Kill him, kill him,-why should

the fatal fire, in spite of the entreaties such a wretch be suffered to live? (Va

of the weeping crowd. She had

heard that her husband was consantasena takes the garland off Charudat

demned to death, and desired to die ta's neck, and throws it round Samsthanaka's.)

before him, and though informed by Sams. Gentle daughter of a courtezan,

Chandanaka, the kind Captain of the have pity upon me, I will never kill you

Watch, that he was safe,“ yet who, in again : Never, never.

the agonies of despair, is susceptible Ser. Give your commands, sir, that he

of consolation or confidence ?" The may be removed, and how we shall dis.

scene in which she is beheld with pose of him?

Rohasena holding her garment, MaiChar. Will you obey in what I shall treya and Radanika with the fire enjoin?

kindled, is supposed to be an interSer. Be sure of it.

polation-but to conjecture from the Char. In truth?

style, Professor H. Wilson says it is Ser. In very truth.

still ancient, and genuinely Hindu, Char. Then for the prisoner

Charudatta embraces his wife, who Ser. Kill him

turning to Vasantasena says, “ WelChar. Set him free.

come, happy sister.” The curtain is Ser. Why so ?

about to drop on a happy ending.

Ser. Lady Vasantasena, with your worth

The king is well acquainted, and requests

To hold you as his kinswoman.
Vas. Sir, I am grateful. (Servillaka throws a veil over her.)
Ser. What shall we do for this good mendicant?
Char. Speak, Sramana, your wishes.
Sram. To follow still the path I have selected,

For all I see is full of care and change.
Char. Since such is bis resolve, let him be made

Chief of the monasteries of the Bauddhas.
Ser. It shall be so.
Sram. It likes me well.
Ser. Sthavaraka remains to be rewarded.
Char. Let him be made a free-man-slave no more.

For these Chandalas let them be appointed
Heads of their tribe, and to Chandanaka
The power the Rajah's brother-in-law abused

To his own purposes, be now assigned.
Ser. As you direct : is there ought else ? command.
Char. Naught but this.

Since Aryaka enjoys the sovereign sway,
And holds me as his friend--since all my foes
Are now destroyed, save one poor wretch released
To learn repentance for his former faults.
Since my fair fame again is clear, and this
Dear girl-my wife, and all I cherish most,

Are mine once more, I have no further suit
That asks for your indulgence, and no wish
That is not gratified.-Fate sports with life,
And like a wheel the whirling world revolves;
Where some are raised to affluence, some depressed
In want; where some are borne awhile aloft,
And some hurled down to wretchedness and woe.
Then let us all thus limit our desires :
Full uddered be the kine, the soil be fertile,
May copious showers descend, and balmy gales
Breathe health-be every living thing exempt
From pain-may reverence on the Brahman wait,
Whilst truth and piety ensure prosperity :
And may all monarchs, vigilant and just,
Humble their foes, and guard the world in peace.

[Ereunt Omnes.

Of a Drama in Ten Acts, full of “ Poor Gentleman” of the English character and incident, description stage-for he, if we misremember and reflection, it is perhaps not pos- not, is dressed in a suit of napless sible to give an adequate idea in one sables, and is the Impersonation of a article ; yet we cannot doubt that Whine. our analysis and extracts will be We need not say a single word read with great interest, for they more for Vasantasena. Yet we hope give many animated pictures, not of that the poor creature is not now Hindu life alone, but of human life excluded from thy sympathiesat large, wherever it breathes and Thou who art pure as a flower and burns, acts or suffers, sinks or soars. bright as a star! Alas! think what It might be made an English play. this world has made of women ! and But let it be as King Sudraka and bless God that the Christian religion Professor Horace Wilson have made has kept thee his unspotted child. it. The Translator has nobly done What if thou hadst sprung like a viohis duty; and his volumes are an let on unguarded ground, and hea. important addition to Dramatic Li. ven's dews had imbued thy leaves terature. The strong and enduring with beauty, while vilest hands were charm of this extraordinary compo- privileged to pluck them, and no sition lies in the truth of its moral pale was there between them and sentiments-in the perspicacity and vilest feet! Lovely still must thou fidelity of Conscience seeing and then have been-even like Vasantrusting in the Right. Charudatta tasena; but woe to the Flower that in is no perfect character-he had been all its loveliness is treated like a too munificent, else had he not been weed ! so destitute; but in our respect and Maitreya is worthy of being Chapity we can but gently blame the rudatta's friend. True, he is a Vi. noble prodigal. Selfishness we so duskaka-a Gracioso; but he is as hate, as to love generosity, even far as possible from a buffoon. He when through excess it becomes a has humour and good humour--good fault; and he who errs from an over- temper-good disposition-good nakind disposition, seems, in most ture, and that comes close upon moods of our mind, to deserve praise, being a good man. He does not not pardon. We forget his weak spunge on the bankrupt; but pays ness in their ingratitude who requite him for bed and board-both spare not his benefactions; and in his want in pleasantry and merriment, see a reproach. The state of society pitched to such a key as soothes meshewn in the Drama in much is lancholy thoughts, and his presence corrupt; but not rotten at the heart, has all the restlessness and animation for his virtue tells ; painful as the of sunshine dancing in a dark apartsense of his poverty is to himself, it ment. Leave but a chink, and it has not here its severest sting-it will steal in to gladden. He is a does not “ make him ridiculous ;" laughing philosopher. But believe the poor Brahman of the Hindu is it on our word, that there never was a more dignified character than the a laughing philosopher who knew

« PreviousContinue »