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POETICAL SKETCHES OF THE INTERIOR OF THE ISLAND

OF CEYLON,

BY THE REV. B. BAILEY.

(Continued.)

X.

KATTAGASTOTTE FERRY.

Descend this hill : and on the other side
From that where this fell butchery was done,
Bthold a fairy scene. Silent and lone,
The waters of the river gently glide,
Or sleep as now, while on the reddening tide
The sun's last beams repose ; as when they shone
On Thetis sorrowing for her hero-son,
By treacherous Paris slain. Beauty, allied
With truth and love and

peace,

should ever dwell
In this sweet solitude. Yet through this ford,
To where the enamoured youth might rather te!!
His tale of love, our brave men to the sword
Of savage traitors passed. Yet surely never
Mine eyes have seen a fairer, lovelier river.

XI.

MAHAVAELLE GANGA.

How strange-soe'er the oriental name
Of this fair river, winding serpentine,
The Kandian capitol it doth entwine,
And sleepeth quiet in the sun's bright beam.
O'er bare rocks roll the waters of the stream,
And with their roughness the dashed wave refine
And purify. Thus by the Will Divine,
The life of man, not like a pleasant dream,
Passes away, but flowing over rocks,
As this clear river, must be purified
By hard obstructions and by painful shocks,
Till sense refined by suffering, and pride
Repelled and humbled by the adverse strokes
Of grief, our souls to God may be alied.

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Above this stream the Doombera Mountain rears
His head sublime into the o'erhanging sky.
He upward svars with native majesty;
A sense of greatness in his form appears ;
Authority his every feature wears ;
The numerous valleys are his own ; his

eye
Asserts his right of single sovereignty.
When from his clouds his lofty head he bares
Above the subject bills which round him stand
Nobly, yet in subjection to his will,
He, though he be determined to command,
Amid his greatness sometimes deigns to smile :
Sublimity then rests upon his bead ;
and beauty shares his bosom and his bed.

XIII.

ON LEAVING KANDY.

now

am

And Í alone

upon

this road,
Beside these mountains and this running river.
Such scenes have been familiar to me ever;
I love to be amid the works of God;
Hills such as these, and river-banks I've trod,
And oft have been where mountain heights endeavor,
For so it seems—to o'er top each, yet never
Can rear their vast heads from their fixed abode.
But 0, I vainly seek one spirit gone,
With yearnings of the eagle for his young;
(And surely here the eagle hath his nest ;)
One form I seek that from my sight hath flown;
And I am doomed, these lovely scenes among,
Ever to seek, but never find my rest.

XIV.

GAMPOLLA.

Yon hill, 'tis said, contains the hidden gold
Of Kandy's conquered king. The precious ore,
If it be there, will never be seen more.
But here are riches, vast and manifold,
The raptured eye for ever may behold.
Wealth inexhaustible, which o'er and o'er,
As avarice gluts o'er gold, we may exploie,
And leave the mighty riches yet untold.
The stores of Nature never fail. But when
Her lavish hand with proud profusion throws
Her bright apparel over hill and glen,-
With loveliest hues of everlasting youth
Her matchless countenance serenely glows;
Her form is beauty, and her soul is truth.

XV.

A MORNING SCENE!

That long white silvery cloud that fills the vale
Hath reached not yet the brow of either hill;
The solitary cricket to the shrill
Continuous insect cry gives place; the tale
Of one bird's moaning note, as to bewail
The silence dim, is told; nothing is still;
Darkness hath fled; the morning hath her will;
And the wild doves and smaller songsters hail
The rising sun in this delicious scene.
Mountain and vale are shrouded now no more
By shades of night, or morning's dark grey wing.
Who that among the mountain-heights haih been
Can ever lack sweet musings ? He may soar,
Or may descend to the minutest thing.

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GAMPOLLA RIVER.

As o'er this silent stream you slowly pass,
The mind is soothed to quietness. The scene
Is exquisitely genue and serene:
All nature seems asleep. The eye may gaze
On the still wave, as smooth as polished glass,
Transparent as a mirior: and it spleen
Have vexed the soul, she's banished. Beauty's Queen,
Whose printless foot glides o'er the dewy grass,
Reflects her form, pure as the o'erhanging sky,
In the translucent water. Yon green isle
With fairy feet her graceful nymphs may tread;
While the pleased wave wafts the

approving smile
Of Beauty's beaming features. Purity
And peace repose within the river's bed.

NOTES.

X.

CEREMONY OF THE BURIAL OF THE KINGS OF KANDY.

-000

This was the old Ferry over the Mahavella Ganga to Trincomalie. It is at the foot of the hill on which the Davy tree stands; and through it passed the ạnhappy victims who were cruelly butchered, as related in the last note. This ferry was the scene of the final ceremony of the burial of the kings of Kandy. After the burning of the remains of the deceased king at AwadanaMadonwe, the royal burying ground, and putting some of the calcined bones into a pot or urn of earthenware, covered and sealed, the rest of the ashes being deposited in the grave the following and final ceremony took place. “The urn was placed on the head of a man masked and corered all over with black, who, holding a sword in his hand, and mounted on an elephant or horse, proceeded to the Mahavelle Ganga. At the ferry called Katagastotte, two small canoes, made of the kakoonga, were prepared, lashed together, and covered with boughs, in the form of a bower. The masked bearer, entering the canoe, was drawn towards the mid-channel of the river by two men swimming; who, when they approached the deepest part of the stream, pushed the canoe forward, and hastily retreated. Now the mask, having reached the proper station, with the sword in one hand and the urn in the other, divided the urn with the sword, and in the act planged into the stream, and

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diving, came up as far as possible below, and landing on the opposite side, disappeared. The canoes were allowed to float down the river; the horse or elephant was carried across, and left to graze at large, never to be used any more ; and the woman who threw the țice upon the coffin (one part of the ceremony before the consumption of the remains) with the men who carried them, were also transported to the other side of the river, under the strict prohibition of recrossing. The chiefs returned to the great square, informed. the prince that the ceremony was ended, and were again ordered to purify themselves." Davy's Ceylon page 162,

I have several times visited the spots, both of the ferry and the tree, since I compiled, and wrote the above notes, and the lines which occasioned them. My admiration is in no degree diminished; though I have since likewise seen the greater and finer part of the iuterior, which comprehended the old Kandian dominions, now provinces,-rich in varied, bold, and beautiful scenery,

XI.

At every point around Kandy this delightful river is visible, circling the town. Its banks are eminently beautiful. It flows over a bed of rocks. At low water--and indeed always except immediately after rains when the river is swollen---the rocky bed is visible. There is, however, deep rapid current through the middle,—the rocks being abruptly cleft, apparently by the force of the water. No regetable matter is collected in masses on the sides, or banks. Yet any continuous sojourn upon them is dangerous to Europeans from the almost certain infection of fever. It is indeed a singular fact-and known only as a fact, and not in its causes-that, in this island, the banks of beautiful rivers and running streams are, I believe, always infected; where our lakes are the great preservatives of health. Kandy, even for natives, waspot esteemed healthy, until the present lake was excavated by the late king. Colombo is perhaps the healthiest station in the island for a permanency. The sea is on one side of us, and a large, beautiful, and natural lake on the other.

XIV.

I was told by a native, who spoke very imperfect English, that in a rocky hill just opposite to and visible from the Resthouse at Gampolla, -the first stage on the Nuwera Ellia road from Kandy,—the king, or kings, of Kandy bad hidden a vast treasure. He confessed to me, however, with some naiveté, that although he and others had often sought, they never could find any access to the rock where the treasure was supposed to be deposited. It is þowever, generally believed, from the partial confession of the last king, that poney and jewels to a large amount were secreted somewhere in the vicinity of the capital. It is a customary practice of alunost all uncivilized nations to bury their treasure. .

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