POETRY. The poetry of the Hindus is rich, high, and varied, abounding in luxuriant descrip tions, and occasionally displaying both grandeur and tenderness ; but it is often rendered dull by repetition and bombast, and deformed by an indelicacy unknown to Europeans. Paradise Regained says— ' They loudest sing The vices of their deities, and their own In fable, hymn, and song, so personating Their gods ridiculous, themselves past shame.' In Hindu poetry, despairing lovers very commonly address objects of nature, clouds, elephants, and birds on the subject of their lost or absent mis tresses, as in the Megha duta, the 4th Act of the Vikramorvasi, and the 9th Act of the Malati Madhava. One important cause of distinction between modern European poetry and ancient eastern poetry is, that the latter was not intended for quiet perusal in the cabinet, but for public recitation, as minstrelsy. Hence great attention is paid to classes of letters, and to the flowing of sounds one into the other, without any interval or hiatus between. The most common Sanskrit metre is the stanza of four verses, containing eight syllables. The popular poetry of the Tamil people is of two kinds, viz, that which is intellig ible to the ordinary labourer, such as the writings of Siva-vikkyar, and three-fourths of the writings 14 Auvaiyar, the Tamil poetess; and the other kind is the classic poetry, such as that of Kamban.
Nearly the whole of l'ainil literature, including works on medicine, arithmetic, grammar, and even dictionaries, is in poetry. With the excep tion of the commentaries on poetical works, prose composition may almost be said to owe its origin to European influence. Only a very imperfect idea of Tamil poetry can be given, In some rsopeets natives alone can fully appreciate its excel knee ; while, on the other hand, they are blind to some of its defects.
Iteseld, in an appendix to his high Tamil gram mar, Ternaries that the Tamil poets use the genuine language of poetry. They rarely mention any object to which they do not couple some orna mental epithet. When they speak of a tree, they ilescribe it either as green, or leaded with flowers, or shady, or majestically large, or as having all these qualities. They never mention a mountain without representing it as rising among woods, or watered by fountains, or decked with flowers. Sometimes they employ this embellishment to excess. They are full of metaphor and allegory. They are at times extravagantly hyperbolical. In the Tamil Naislaadam, it is said of Darnayauti, the consort of the hero, that when Brahma had created her, her beautiful form had only one rival in the universe, and that was the fair moon. But Brahma, determined that every beauty should centre in Damayanti, took a handful of beauty from off the face of the moon, and threw it into that of Damayanti. The deformity thus made is still apparent in the moon. The Tamil poets delight in similes, as all eastern poets do. They indulge in fiction, and pay little regard to nature. Their Parnassus is Pudiyainalai, near Cape Comorin. They have neither Apollo nor Mercury. Their Minerva is Saraswati. They invocate Ganapati. Pathos and sweetness rather than vigour are the characteristics of Indian poetry. They are not ' thoughts that breathe and words, that burn,' so much as thoughts that please and words that charm. Milk and honey flow, but such milk and honey as to prove an unwholesome diet to some minds.
' Dr. Caldwell observes that, ' whilst an elevated thought, a natural expressive description, a pithy, sententious maxim, or a striking comparison, may sometimes be met with, unfortunately elegance of style, or an affected, obscure brevity, has always been preferred to strength and truthfulness, and poetic fire has been quenched in an ocean of con ceits. Nothing can exceed the refined elegance and " inked sweetness " of many Telugu and Tamil ,poems; but a lack of heart and purpose, and a substitution of sound for sense, more or less cha racterize them all ; and hence, whilst an anthology composed of well-selected extracts would please and surprise the English reader, every attempt to ranslate any Tamil or Telugu poem in extenso into English, has proved to be a failure. To these causes of inferiority must be added a slavery to custom and precedent at least equal to what we meet with in the later Sanskrit. • Literature could never flourish where the following distich (con tained in the Nannul, or classical Tamil grammar) was accepted as a settled principle :—" On what soever subjects, in whatsoever expressions, with whatsoever arrangement, classical writers have written, so to write is denoted propriety of style."' Tukarania, the great Maliratta poet, was origin ally a corn chandler in a village near Poona, but he became a devotee of the popular deity %%iota. Ile died in 1649. Hie poems are moral and religious. They abound with fine kluge* and noble thoughts, and their author stands high among the poets of India.
The following poetesses have lived at different times and contributed to the Urdu poetical litera ture :— Atab Began], Behar. Boom, daughter of Nawab Itoshini Jan of Lucknow. lotizam-ud•Dowlia and Bliangan of Paniput. wife of Asaf•ud•Dowla Begam Jan, of of Oudh.
Nawab Khair • ud • Din Begani, daughter of Arnim!.
Khan. ul-Mulk haz1 • ud • Din Began, daughter of Mirza Khan.
Bober, belonging to the .Mutilabalo of Barelli. zanana of Baliadur Shah Beranija of Debli.
of Debli. Nur Jahan, Miraslu, of Beni Jan of Bemires. Furkhaba41.
The better known of the poets who have written in Hindi and its dialects adopted the following takhallus or poet-names :— Aja.z. Insha. Mabakam. Kazakh.
Asaf. Josash. Maruf. Sheds.
Balhar. Jurat. Mastan. Souda.
Be Dar. Kalandar. Mir. Soz.
Chand. Kudrat. Mir Taki. Suraj.
Dard. Latif. Na. Wali.
Fadvi. Lutf. Nazir. Yakin.
Ihsan. I Maazzaz. Niaz.
The following poets have written in Persian :— Sadi. Saib.
Jalal-ul-Din. Mir Muslitaq.
Shah Sharf-ud-Din. Husain.
Mir Murad All Khan. Wakif.
Juni Mina Qatil.
Kamal-ud-Din, Sharf-Boo Ali, Kalandar.
Sharf. Syed Azim•ud•Din.
Shams-ul•Haq Tabriz. Rafiq, Sabzi Farosh Shah, Syed Sabir Ali, Tatwi. Tatwi.
Be Dil. Kamal.
Kazint-wala•Isfahani. Wall Mahomed Taghari.
Amir Khnsru. Nasmti.
Nazim. Mahomed Takki Sabha_ Agah. Syed Azim-ud•Din.
Jamal-ul-DinAbdur Itazaq MirzalIusain,Wazir,Wafa. Asofi. Mir Ilutuk, Afghan.
Ghularn Sarwar, !Abort.
Khakani. Mir Syed All Muahtaq, Mahmud, Ghaznavi. Tabatahai.
Ameb]. Aqa Mahomed Ashiq, Is Maharram. fahani.
Faek. Mirza Mahomed Roomi Sadiq Mail.
Syed Shah Azim-ud-Din, Azad.
Tatwi. Omar Khayyam.
--Mahabharata ; Calcutta Review, No. 109, p. 28 ; Balfour's Ouldastoh-l-Soohn; Dravidian Comp. Gram. p. 89; Madras L.S.J., July leci ; Rev. II.