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KALIDASA—HIS LIFE AND WRITINGS I Kalidasa probably lived in the fifth century of the Christian era. This date, approximate as it is, must yet be given with considerable hesitation, and is by no means certain. No truly biographical data are preserved about the author, who nevertheless enjoyed a great popularity during his life, and whom the Hindus have ever regarded as the greatest of Sanskrit poets. We are thus confronted with one of... more...

INTRODUCTION It is at my persuasion that these poems are now published. The earliest of them were read to me in London in 1896, when the writer was seventeen; the later ones were sent to me from India in 1904, when she was twenty-five; and they belong, I think, almost wholly to those two periods. As they seemed to me to have an individual beauty of their own, I thought they ought to be published. The writer hesitated. "Your letter made me very... more...

SERVANT. Have mercy upon your servant, my queen!QUEEN. The assembly is over and my servants are all gone. Whydo you come at this late hour?SERVANT. When you have finished with others, that is my time.I come to ask what remains for your last servant to do.QUEEN. What can you expect when it is too late?SERVANT. Make me the gardener of your flower garden.QUEEN. What folly is this?SERVANT. I will give up my other work.I will throw my swords and... more...

Darkly you sweep on, Eternal Fugitive, round whose bodiless rush stagnant space frets into eddying bubbles of light. Is your heart lost to the Lover calling you across his immeasurable loneliness? Is the aching urgency of your haste the sole reason why your tangled tresses break into stormy riot and pearls of fire roll along your path as from a broken necklace? Your fleeting steps kiss the dust of this world into sweetness, sweeping aside all... more...

INDEX OF THE FIRST LINES Ah, these jasminesAh, who was it coloured that little frockBless this little heartChild, how happy you are sitting in the dustCome and hire meDay by day I float my paper boatsI am small because I am a little childIf baby only wanted to, he could flyIf I were only a little puppyIf people came to know where my king's palace isI long to go over thereImagine, motherI only said, "When in the evening"I paced aloneIt is time... more...


1 STRAY birds of summer come to my window to sing and fly away. And yellow leaves of autumn, which have no songs, flutter and fall there with a sigh. 2 O TROUPE of little vagrants of the world, leave your footprints in my words. 3 THE world puts off its mask of vastness to its lover. It becomes small as one song, as one kiss of the eternal. 4 IT is the tears of the earth that keep her smiles in bloom. 5 THE mighty desert is... more...

by Kabir
The poet Kabîr, a selection from whose songs is here for the first time offered to English readers, is one of the most interesting personalities in the history of Indian mysticism. Born in or near Benares, of Mohammedan parents, and probably about the year 1440, be became in early life a disciple of the celebrated Hindu ascetic Râmânanda. Râmânanda had brought to Northern India the religious revival which... more...

Proem Profiles from China The Hand As you sit so, in the firelight, your hand is the color of    new bronze.I cannot take my eyes from your hand;In it, as in a microcosm, the vast and shadowy Orient    is made visible.Who shall read me your hand? You are a large man, yet it is small and narrow, like the    hand of a woman and the paw of a chimpanzee.It is supple and boneless as the... more...

PREFACE. Those friends who have taken an interest in my literary productions may feel some surprise at my appearance in the character of a translator of Sanscrit poetry. To those, and indeed to all who may take up the present volume, I owe some explanation of my pretensions as a faithful interpreter of my original text. Those pretensions are very humble; and I can unfeignedly say, that if the field had been likely to be occupied by others, who... more...

INTRODUCTION This book is not intended to be representative of Chinese literature as a whole. I have chosen and arranged chronologically various pieces which interested me and which it seemed possible to translate adequately. An account of the history and technique of Chinese poetry will be found in the introduction to my last book. Learned reviewers must not suppose that I have failed to appreciate the poets whom I do not translate. Nor can... more...