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POETICAL SKETCHES

OF THE INTERIOR OF THE ISLAND OF CEYLON,

In Three Parts.

PART I.

BY THE Rev. B. BAILEY, M.A.

SENIOR COLONIAL CHAPLAIN OF THE ISLAND OF CEYLOX.

The utmost Indian Isle TAPROBANE.”

Miltox, Par. Regd.

-000

I.

INTRODUCTION

1, who have wandered where fair rivers glide
Through France's vine-clad valleys,—to beguils
One dear and patient sufferer with the smile
Of nature ever beautiful--beside
Bold mountains now am journeying. A wide
And varied amphitheatre of hill,
Parine, and jungle, forest, in this isle
of beauty, and sublimity, and pride,
I view. Deep valleys, where both flower and tree
Blossom and fade unseen,--whose streams are fed
From bills, by distance hung in mystery,
With lucent waters,—and the silent shade
Where the huge elephant sleeps peacefully,
Around me now are prodigally spread.

U.

CEYLON.

In Eastern climes these wilder bcaaties glow,
« The utmost Indian Isle TAPROBANE."
He who would feast his spirit blamelessly,
The world of sense and worldly joys forego,
And feel the sabbath of tbe soul, may know,
Amid the might of mountain scenery,
And all the glories which the eye may see,
How to be blest, or soothe his bosom's woe,
Here Nature's hand so curiously hath wrought
Her web of wonder, beautiful and bright,
That even the spirits of another world
Were with the sense of admiration caught,
Which now my grosser spirit doth delight,
And from me hath my darker feelings hurleđa

III.

KANDIAN BOUNDARY.

Marx those few spare and spiral cotton trees,
On either side the road, a natural gate :
You now are in what was the Kandian state;
Whose despot wrought, his sullen soul to please,
Dark deeds of blood and horror. Yet the breeze,
Is soft and balmy. When the tyrant sate
In self-willed sovereignty, on whom did wait
All other wills obsequious, with like case,
On breathing wings wild airs invisibly
Floated as now; soft Beauty reigned supreme
O'er Nature's serene face ; Sublimity
Was throned among the mountains, lone and high;
God's Angels, as in visionary dream,
Trod Heaven's high ladder, lost in the blue sky,

IV.

WARAKAPALI.

Above the neighbouring hills one mountain stood;
As a tall column shooting from the base.
It looked a sovereigu rock, whose frown could chase
The clouds when on his brow thoy wished to brood,
Ope side was shrowded with thick jungly wood,
Which hung like hair around his giant face,
Whereon, with blackness weather-stained, no trace
Of gentleness was seen. And nothing good
And loveable did this dark hill inspire :
Its blackness seemed the action of fierce fire,
Rather than impress of the softer rain;
Huge stones, as gloomy as their awful sire,
Jay at his feet, like infants. Surely in ire.
Heaven's drops with darkness did this mountain staina

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This tree is crowned with a tall spiral Auwer,
To indicate that, like the sun's last ray,
In its bright beauty it will pass away ;
Asserting over death undying power
In that light crest, like an aerial bower,
Which is the presage of the tree's decay.
It is the image of that glorious day,
When spirits shull inherit the blest dower
Of immortality, and end the strife,
The grief, the turmoil of our earthly state.
This flower, although it be about to fade
Away and die, presignfies the life
Which, fearless, can defy death's darkest hate,
And will survive the body of the dead.

VI.

KADEGANAVA PASS.

À mountain pass! Before the wondering eyem
More distant and involved than can be viewed
By the intensest gazo,-behold these rude
And rugged mountains, and this cloudy sky
To such huge masses fitting canopy.
Black clouds upon the mountain summits brood;
The mountains on the cloud-wrapped sky intrudei
Deep thunders mutter loud and avgrily.
Here human hands have cleft the massy rock
Arching above. Around is spread the ruin
Of primal beauty. Here the fountains broke
Of the great deep, avenging human crime,
Creation's works of loveliness undoing,
By stroke of the ETERNAL, uot of time.

VII.

KANDY,

"Tis twenty years since I beheld the throne,
Of Kandy's captive king. I had no thought
Of that which time and sorrow since have wrought;
That in this idol city, sad and lone,
To soothe my grie: for a dear spirit gone,
The lot of life would cast ine. Dull, untaught,
And sarage was this king; or he had caught
Some loftier feelings when the bright sun shone
On this majestic scene that round me lies.
The hand of nature scooped these vallies deep;
The Voice of God bade those tall mountains risa:
A holy calm broods here, and loves to keep
Still watch in this lone dell, wbose gentle sleep
Is soothed, not broke, by bird's sweet melodies.

poetical sketeh es, &c. &c,

PART I.

Notes.

I.

I shall not attempt a prose description of a country, which has already been partially described by Dr. Dary and others, and which will become more familiar to European readers generally, as it is more known to in.. dividuals. The traveller takes his reader along with him every step of his journey. The sketcher professes only to go fron spot to spot, and to invite the attention to such objects only as have peculiarly forced themselves upon himself, which have given birth to refiection or emotion, or have excited the fancy or the imagination. To illustrate his text is the duty of the writer of the forgoing verses; tę do it unconstrainedly in the form of notes his privilege.

« And the silent shade,

Where the huge elephant sleeps peacefully."

The Author of Ragselas—though I did not think of the passage when the above was written-speaks similarly of the elephant.

“ The sprightly kid was bounsling on the rocks, the subtile monkey fro. licking in the trees, and the solemn clephant reposing in the stude. Chap 1. the Italian translation, the sound of the words is more pleasing to the ear. "Il grave elefante riposando all 'ornbra.”

The habits of the Elephunt, bowever, are not thus solitary. He is gregarious, and is never found alone, except when driven from the herd; and then he is dangerous. Elephants are wont to repose in herds in open spaces, especially at night. Their tracks are frequent, in this gregarivus, habit, in the interior of this island.

II.

« The utmost Indian Isle TAPROBANE."

TAPROBANE was the ancient name of Ceylon among the Greeks and Ro. mans. This has, indeed, been controrerted; and the name of Taprobune has been assigned Sunratra, Ancient coins, however, found in Ceylon, prove it to bave been one of the Roman Darts of commerce.

It was doubted by the ancients whether Taprobane was not the beginning of another continent. It is not improbable; from the narrow and shallow struit which separates the northern extremity of Ceylon from the southern extremity of the continent of India, that Ceviun bas once part of that coutinho P'liny* has recorded what was known in his time of ine ancient Tapreibune He affiros, on the authority of Onesicratus and Megasthepes, ibat it pro. duced elephants larger and more warlike than any countries of India ;

* Hist. Nat. vi. 22, p. 309. Elzevir: Edit. 1635.

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