صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

That bids the rose inferior flowers come She, though wither'd in her bloom, mand,

Still survives in soft perfume, Though tulips glow in spendour at her Like incense sweet on Virtue's tomb.

side, Has she, with curious skill, thy branches THE EPHEMERA, A FABLE.

crown'd With flowers inscribed with many a symbol A FERVENT votary of the Muses dear,

Can see and hear whate'er he chooses : The hallow'd cross--the thorny wreath No barrier can confine a mind around,

That leaves reality behind, The cruel nails,—the sacrilegious spear ?

And, borne by Fancy, flies to spheres

Beyond the reach of eyes and ears
In the pale beauty o'er thy petals spread, Pray, therefore, wonder not that I
Where azure veins adorn the pallid white, Should write the history of a Fly.
We trace the bloodless hue that marks the
dead,

One evening as I ranged the vale,
In the sad moment of the spirit's flight.

Inhaling health from every gale,

Waked by the genial breath of spring, While gayer flowers delight the eye of Ten thousand flies were on the wing; youth,

They buzz'd around in busy mood, And cheer the sense, and scatter odour And, as their words I understood, round,

I'll use my privilege, of course, Be thou a silent inonitor of truth,

So listen to a sage discourse. And wake in grateful bosoms thought pro- On the tall summit of a nettle found.

I saw an old Ephemera settle,

Who, looking wise and mighty proud, The Primrose.

In words like these addressed the crowd: WHEN the soft and genial west,

• While I in this great world have been, From the islands of the blest,

What wond'rous changes have I seen! Comes to set all nature free,

The sun did once the sky illume, And welcome spring and welcome thee :

Now sunk in darkness and in gloom ; When thy fragrant cup appears,

The trees then wore a verdant hue, Richly charged with dewy tears ;

Though now they're whitend o'er with

dew ; Or thy groupes of modest flowers, Clustering thick on birchen bowers,

The lovely rose has veil'd her head; Or, on rough and heathery braes,

The tulip, too, her leaves has shed;

All Nature now is dark and dead !
Smiling in the sunny says ;
Or, transferred to gardens green,

But ah ! 'tis folly to lament

The evils we can not prevent;
Wondering at the novel scene :-
Swains that whistle o'er the dale,

Yet still, my friends, excuse my grief, Maids that singing bear the pail,

For age in talking finds relief. Nymphs that nature's beauty spy,

Nor are my heart's warm feelings cold, With finer sense and quicker eye,

Though I am nearly four hours oldYouths that thoughtful love to trace

A mighty age ; for few we see Each opening charm in nature's face,

Of us Ephemeras live to three. All, and each, in their degree,

But, though so short a time we live, With welcome hail the spring and thee.

How much to folly do we give !
How many minutes run to waste,

In seeking joys we ne'er can taste!
The Violet.

How many spend a lengthen'd life
SHELTER'D from the piercing North,

In envy, bickerings, and strife, Pure and meek, like modest worth,

And can't enjoy the honeyed dew See the Violet peeping forth.

That hangs upon the violet blue,

Because they see another sip See her ope her dark-blue eye,

Ambrosia from the lily's lip! Like a midnight frosty sky,

0! listen friends ; let me advise, Changeless hue of constancy.

Whom long experience has made wise. Oft in shades sequestered found,

In future let us not destroy Dwelling lowly on the ground,

That happiness we might enjoy, Scattering sweetest odours round.

But, wiser grown, our moments spend

In living to some better end, Sweeter still when softly prest

Than seeking vain" But here the sage To the maiden's spotless breast,

Sank on a leaf, and died of age ! Near her gentle heart to resto

In this remonstrance of the Fly Other flowers with her may vie,

Much may to haughty Man applyTo cheer the sense and charm the eye, He, too, invents a thousand ways Then fadewand unregretted die.

Of losing more than half his days.

How much does fickle fashion get! Who from the cheerless gloom of Gentile How much we waste ourselves to fret,

night
And fight, and squabble, sigh, and pant, Brought life and immortality to light?
To gain those things we do not want ! ( ye of little faith!
Then let us now improve each hour, 'Twas He who, great in mercy as in might,
While yet it lies within our power,

The barriers burst of Death.
Nor, like the fly, procrastinate,
Till all amendment is too late.

In that great day when He again sliall Let anger, hatred, envy, cease,

come, And every heart be tun'd to peace.

The world with justice to reward and doom,

And wake our sleeping dust,
Let's be content with what we've got,
Nor murmur at another's lot ;

May 1, when summond from the yawnNor waste our time, like senseless elves,

ing tomb,

Be number'd with the just! R. In plaguing others and ourselves.But, since I talk of wasting time,

Malton, Yorkshire, 1819. I too should end this idle rhyme.

ACCOUNT OF THE INHABITANTS OF

THE CENTRAL DISTRICTS OF THE
ISLAND OF CEYLON.

VERSES COMPOSED IN THE PROSPECT

OP DEATH. (By a Clergyman labouring under a (Extracted from a Letter to Dr Som

dangerous and lingering Illness.) merville by G. Finlayson, Esq. Sur. “Now Spring returns; but not to me returns

geon to the Army.) The vernal joy my better years have known; Dim in my breast the dying taper burns,

MY DEAR SIR-I SHALL endeavour And all the joys of life with health are flown." to give you some account of a race of

BRUCE.

human beings, whose situation had THRICE has returning Spring, with ze- reach of that spirit of inquiry which

till lately placed them beyond the phyrs bland, Breath'd health and fragrance oʻer a smil. marks the age we live in, and whose ing land,

very name was scarcely known in EuThrice wak'd the vocal groves ;

rope--the Veddahs, who inhabit the Yet pine I under His paternal hand, central and mountainous parts of the Who chast'neth whom He loves. Island of Ceylon. While the island

was under the rule of the tyrants who Yet why despond, my fainting soul ?

lately governed it, all communication Revere the hand that rules the whole,

with the interior was effectually preNor doubt a Father's love ; Though languid years in sorrow roll,

cluded by their jealous policy, which He chastens but to prove.

doomed many to end their days with

out daring to pass the limits of their Celestial mansions, soon or late,

native village ; and long endurance of And crowns of glory, those await

restraint has rendered it so familiar Who on His love rely ;

to the Kandyans, that they have not But, to attain this blissful state,

yet begun to alter their habits, alWe first to sin must die.

though the restrictions have been re

moved by the British Government. That all is vanity below,

Curiosity, and, indeed, every other Too late unthinking mortals know

motive or feeling, seems to be obliterBut, in the day of dole, Find Folly's cup, like that of Wo,

ated, except those which have for Is bitter to the soul.

their object the preservation or advan

tage of the individual. Happy are they who, timely brought The Kandyan is polite in his deTo sober views and serious thought portment ; but his politeness is the By the corrective rod,

result of art rather than of native In penitence have mercy sought, frankness or affability; and, his whole And made their peace with God!

mind being turned to himself, renders When sublunary joys delight no more,

him grave, haughty, and reserved. They gain with Him whom heav'nly hosts Even when he is most communicaadore

tive, his conversation is a tissue of A heritage above,

subtleties and evasions, intended to And He their mould'ring relics will re. disguise his real sentiments and de store

signs. Servility is the concomitant of Why doubt his power and love ? tyranny, and the Kandyan is the ab

[ocr errors]

ject slave of his superiors, while he isa is the only restraint to the exercise of haughty and cruel despot to all below passion. him. So uncultivated are the Kandy

The Veddahs have existed in the ans, that many of the most powerful interior of Ceylon from a period so chiefs cannot read or write; and even remote, that I have not been able to the priests, who are very numerous, find any trace of their origin,-perhave generally acquired but a scanty haps we should not err in supposé knowledge of the books containing ing them to be the earliest inhabitthe doctrines of their divinity, Bud- ants of the island. Hemmed in by ha. Some, indeed, but very few, invaders from the coast, they now ochave attempted to calculate eclipses. cupy the inaccessible forests and fastAll ranks place implicit faith in judi- nesses, which place them beyond the cial astrology; and the emoluments reach of their enemies. Of their haof the astrologer are sufficiently great bits and manners little was known, to tempt many to exercise this knave and the tales picked up by those who ish vocation. They are possessed of had approached the confines of their some translations, from the Sanscrit, country were marvellous and improof books on medicine, from which they bable. The present rebellion first have learned the powers of opium broke out in these remote districts; and arsenic; but they know little of and the Veddah country has been vithe treatment of disease, and nothing sited several times in the military of surgery, owing their recovery, in movements that have taken place. I either case to their temperate habits shall give you the result of my own at all times, and their abstinence when observations made on these occasions, ill. Accident has taught them the and of many conversations with some medicinal virtues of some of the plants of the most intelligent inhabitants of which abound in Ceylon. This know- the Veddah country, and their Kanledge, however, is confined to the dyan neighbours. I have learned lowest orders of the people by the jea- much from the Kangolle Moodianee, lousy of Government, which prevent- a man highly distinguished among the ed the higher ranks from exercising Kandyans by his talents and learning, an art which might have given them and acknowledged by all to be intian influence in the state. The King mately acquainted with the Veddahs, maintained a body of physicians at his from whom he is descended. The own expence, who were accessible to information I received from him bas all. Suspicion and selfishness are cha- been confirmed by the Hety Hame of racteristic of the Kandyan of every Weyogamme and others. The Veddahs rank, anil under every circumstance. inhabit a range of thick and almost If we follow him into the retirement impenetrable forests, extending in a of private life, we find him building south-easterly direction from Kandy to his hut in a spot selected, because it the sea, and from the village of Binterne is remote from the habitations of to Baticoloa on the east coast, a distance others; and, when common safety of nearly 50 miles, throughout the compels several families to live closer whole of which there is no trace of cultogether, the huts of the straggling tivation to be seen. There are many village are so wide asunder, that little magnificent trees in these forests, aintercourse takes place amongst their dorned with an endless variety of inhabitants. : The Kandyan, in all si- creeping and parasitic plants, pendant tuations a tyrant, eats his meal in so- in elegant festoons from their lofty litude, and permits not his wife, his summit, in all the luxuriance of vegefriend, or his neighbour, to share his tation of a tropical climate. Elerepast. These observations may serve phants, buffaloes, bears, jackals, panto give you some idea of the Kandy- thers, monkeys, and many other anians, who have long existed as an ina mals, and the Veddahs, scarcely less dependent nation; but my object is ferocious than they are, have retreatto give an account of a people unlike ed to these haunts from the encroachthem in their manners and customs, ments of man. The Veddahs on the and in every respect, excepting those margin of this country are somewhat of their ferocity and barbarity, a na- less barbarous than the wild or Jungle tion without a king or chief of any Veddahs, the former having learned, description, without government or from their intercourse with the Kanlaws, among whom the fear of revenge dyans, to cultivate Indian corn and

coracan, (Cynosurus coracanus,) and which are produced by the female some vegetables. The river Maha plant in considerable plenty; they Vella Ganga, a broad and rapid stream, dry the seed, which is about the size flows through Bintanne, the country of a plum, in the sun, and then form of the Jungle Veddahs. The natives the bruised kernel into cakes. The men here exhibit a picture of savage life devote the greater part of their time that would shake the faith of those to the chace, and use the bow and arwho dream of the virtue and happi- row, their only weapon, with dexteriness of man in a savage state. They ty, and these they never part with on are smaller in stature than the Kan- any occasion. The bow is from six to. dyans, and their bodies are uniformly seven feet long, of great elasticity and remarkable for symmetry, a fact often strength. Those held in highest esremarked amongst savages, which on timation are made of the Kabbar wood, ly proves that those who are deform- or Rhois Africana of the Flora Zeylaed or feeble in infancy do not arrive nica; the string is made of twisted at maturity. Nothing can be con- thongs, or plaited bark. Every Veddah ceived more squallid or filthy than is provided with a bow and six arrows, the Veddah; his black hair hangs arms with which he dares to attack matted about his ears—his beard is the most formidable animals of the unshaven-his only clothing is an a- forest, combining his knowledge of pron, about four inches broad, de- the habits of those he destines for his scending to the middle of the thigh. prey, with such address and courage, The apron worn by the women is of that the elephant is sometimes brought rather larger dimensions, otherwise down by a single shaft. Of this I there is no difference; and some of have been assured by so many people both sexes are to be seen destitute of worthy of belief, who have witnessed this scanty covering. They have no the fact, that I cannot doubt its truth. hut or permanent abode, but roam Their warfare with the elephant, howfrom place to place as the supply of ever, is generally, in self defence, as food is exhausted. When that is un, they come upon him, when they are usually great, they construct huts of in quest of other animals; sometimes bark, boughs of trees, and grass. On they do attack him for the sake of his a march, they are often obliged to pass tusks, of which they paid a certain the night on trees. They suffer much number in tribute to the King of from the cold of the nights, in which Kandy. the thermometer sometimes sinks to Their only domestic animals are 55°, a degree of cold not to be endur. dogs and buffaloes: the former they ed with impunity by people devoid of esteem much for their sagacity, and clothing, of feeble frame of body, and take great pains in breaking them in; exposed to the ardent heat of a tropi- they are less swift than the deer, but cal sun by day. Their furniture con- make up for want of speed by cunsists of one or two earthen pots, a ca- ning. A Veddah is always followed bebash, a basket lined with leaves in by two or three dogs, and he uses his which they keep honey. They are buffaloes only as a decoy in hunting, armed with a bow, five or six arrows, to enable him to approach near to the a small hatchet, and a knife. animals he pursues; he never eats

They subsist chiefly by hunting, his flesh; beside the deer's, he eats depending upon the spontaneous pro- the flesh of the elk, wild hog, monduce of the soil for such vegetables as key, gudnah, and several species of they use, and, as is usual among sa rats. Honey is an important article yages, they devolve upon the women of their food. They preserve meat the labour of gathering esculent roots, in a way used in South America, by or fruits. They have in abundance the cutting it into slender thongs, which Arum macrorhizon, Arum tribula- are dried in the sun, and eaten raw tum, Arum dracontium, Dioscorea after being soaked in honey. Recent bulbifera, triphylla and alata, Ne- meat is broiled on the embers, or lumbo Indica. Of the palms we find boiled in earthen pots. They are exonly the Cycas circinalis, or Sago palm, tremely fond of salt, but have not albut they are unacquainted with the ways the means of procuring it; they art of drawing a rich store of nourish- use as a substitute an alkaline salt, ob ment from the stem of the plant, they tained by burning the leaves of certain use only the keruel of the seeds, plants. The inhabitants of Walassy,

in the Kandyan country, burn the The Kandyans, who fly to the Vedleaves of the cocoa tree for this pur- dahs for refuge from the tyranny of pose. Like all rude people, the Ved- their chiefs, or the oppression of their dahs find their supreme delight in laws, are received with open arms. If sleep; and it requires the imperious a stranger comes near the hut of a call of hunger, or the alarm of ap- Veddah in the husband's absence, proaching danger, to rouse them from the wife admonishes him to remain at their slumbers. When the chace has a proper distance, about an hundred been productive, days and nights are yards, till her master returns, but devoted to the alternate joys of gorging the husband immediately invites the and sleeping. Surrounded with ani- stranger to partake of the fare of his mals and vegetables, the greatest ex- family, and a refusal would be an unertion of skill, enterprise, and perse- pardonable insult; and he on his taking verance, are necessary to collect an leave presents betel to his host, who adequate supply of food for the Ved- distributes it in portions to his family; dah ;-his life is spent in wandering should he unwarily hand the betel to through the dense and often pestilen- the wife, his temerity would be fatal tial jungles, exposed to great vicissi- to him. Although a Veddah has but tudes of heat, cold, and hunger. Some- one wife generally, polygamy is not times they have been compelled to prohibited, and some have two or mingle the powder of decayed wood three wives. It is not customary here, with the remnant of their honey, by as among the Kandyans, for several which they could only remove the brothers to marry one wife in compainful sensation of inanition by dis- mon. The form of courtship is very tending the stomach. Yet they de- summary; the Veddah asks a daughspise the luscious fruits, the copious ter in marriage from her father, withdiet, and comfortable dwellings of out imparting his wish to her, or their less barbarous neighbours, pre- even supposing her consent necessary; ferring the life of freedom they lead and where no distinction of rank exin roaming uncontrolled through their ists, the first who asks is pretty sure forests, which neither kindness nor of success. The father's answer is, promises allure them to abandon. " Take her, on my hills are plenty of When a Veddah purchases arrow deer, in my woods abundance of blades from a Cinglese smith, the honey ; be active, and you will be happrocess of barter is very summary; he py;" and in this consists the nuptial stipulates for the price, describes the ceremony. Here a man may marry form, pays the deer's flesh, wax, or any woman he chooses, except his honey, and returns to his fastnesses. mother or sister,-many marry their Some are so timid that they never own daughters. A wife follows het come in contact with the smith, but husband to the chace even when preg. deposit, at some distance from his nant; and if a child is born, its fate house, their articles of exchange, and is soon decided ; when it is their inafter a reasonable time find their ar- tention to rear it, they wrap it up in Tow blades in the same spot; and no the smoother bark of a tree, and conone would hazard the certainty of in- tinue their expedition in a few hours, curring the Veddah’s vengeance by but a different fate too often awaits defrauding him. They are passionate- the infant, which is left a prey to ly fond of tobacco and betel, but cul- wild beasts, or to perish of hunger. tivate neither; and as a substitute for Those accustomed only to the deprathe latter they chew the bark of va- vities of human nature, in civilized rious trces and leaves of aromatic herbs, 'nations, may pause before they give and use the bark of the Gmelina Asi- their belief to such an act of atrocity, atica, and varieties of Cassia, instead but it is beyond all doubt that it is of the Areca nut; they use also the very frequent among the Veddahs and leaf of a Melochia, and make the chu- other inhabitants of the interior of nam or lime of shells from the river. the island. They are totally unacquainted with It will readily be believed, from fermented or intoxicating liquors, and what has been said, that the wife and use water for their only beverage. children are here the slaves of a mer

A stranger is received with hospita- ciless tyrant, who puts them to death lity and kindness, but he must take at his own caprice, where there is no special care to approach without arms. control or restraint, moral or legal.

« السابقةمتابعة »