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ley, the daughter of the Bishop of St. Asaph, to whom he had been so many years attached. He immediately sailed for India, having secured, as his friend Lord Ashburton congratulated him, the two first objects of human pursuit, those of love and ambition. The joy with which he contemplated his situation, is strongly testified in the descriptions of his feelings, which he gives in his letters, and in the gigantic plans of literature which he sketched out. Happily married; still in the prime of life; leaving at home a reputation, which had reached the hemisphere he was to visit, he bade adieu to the turbulence of party politics, which, though it had not dissolved any of his friendships, had made some of them irk
The scenes, which he had delighted to contemplate at a distance, were now inviting his closest researches! He approached regions and manners, which gave a living picture of antiquity; and, while his curiosity was heightened, he drew nearer to the means of its gratification.
In December, 1783, he commenced the discharge of his duties as an Indian judge, with his character. istic ardour. He also began the study of Sanscrit. He had been but a few years in India, when his knowledge of that ancient language enabled him, under the auspices of the Governor, to commence a great plan for administering justice among the Indians, by compiling a digest of Hindu and Mahometan laws, similar to that which Justinian gave his Greek and Roman subjects. His part in the projeot
was only to survey and arrange its materials. To that superintendance the Brahmins themselves submitted with perfect confidence. To detail his share in the labours of the Society of Calcutta, the earliest, or at least the most important, philosophical society established in British India, would be almost to abridge its transactions during his lifetime. He took the lead in founding it, and lived to see three volumes of its Transactions appear. In 1789 he translated the ancient Hindu drama, “ Sacontala; or the Fatal Ring,” by Callidas, an author whom Sir William Jones calls the Shakspeare of India, and who lived about the time of Terence, in the first cen. tury before the Christian era. This antique picture of Hindu manners is certainly the greatest curiosity which the study of Oriental literature by Europeans has brought to light. In 1794 he published, also from the Sanscrit, a translation of the Ordinances of Menu, who is esteemed, by the Hindoos, to be the earliest of created beings, and the holiest of legislators; but who appears, by the English translator's confession, to have lived long after priests, statesmen, and metaphysicians had learned to combine their crafts.
While business required his daily attendance at Calcutta, his usual residence was on the banks of the Ganges, at the distance of five miles from the court. To this spot he returned every evening after sunset; and, in the morning, rose so early as to reach his apartments in time, by setting out on foot
at the first appearance of dawn. He passed the months of vacation at Chrishnagur, a country residence, sixty miles from Calcutta, remarkable for its beauty, and interesting, from having been the seat of an ancient Hindu college. Here he added botany to the other pursuits of his indefatigable curiosity.
In the burning climate of Bengal, it is not surprising that the strongest constitution should have sunk under the weight of his professional duties, and of his extensive literary labours. The former alone occupied him seven hours during the session time. His health, indeed, seems to have been early affected in India. In 1793, the indisposition of Lady Jones rendered it necessary that she should return to England. Sir William proposed to follow her in 1795, delaying only till he should complete the system of Indian legislation. But they parted to meet no more. In 1794 he was attacked with an inflammation of the liver, which acted with uncommon rapidity; and, before a physician was called in, had advanced too far to yield to the efficacy of medicine. He expired in a composed attitude, without a groan, or the appearance
of retained an expression of complacency on his features to the last.
In the course of a short life, Sir William Jones acquired a degree of knowledge, which the ordinary faculties of men, if they were blest with antediluvian longevity, could scarcely hope to surpass. His learning threw light on the laws of Greece and
pang; and India, on the general literature of Asia, and on the history of the family of nations. He carried philosophy, eloquence, and philanthropy, into his character of a lawyer and a judge. Amidst the driest toils of erudition, he retained a sensibility to the beauties of poetry, and a talent for transfusing them into his own language, which has seldom been united with the same degree of industry. Had he written nothing but the delightful ode from Hafiz,
“ Sweet maid, if thou would'st charm my sight," it would alone testify the harmony of his ear, and the elegance of his taste. When he went abroad, it was not to enrich himself with the spoils of avarice or ambition ; but to search, amidst the ruins of Oriental literature, for treasures which he would not have exchanged
“ For all Boccara's vaunted gold,
“ Or all the gems of Zamarcand." It is, nevertheless, impossible to avoid supposing, that the activity of his mind spread itself in too many directions to be always employed to the best advantage. The impulse that carried him through so many pursuits, has a look of something restless, inordinate, and ostentatious. Useful as he was, he would in all probability have been still more so, had his powers been concentrated to fewer objects. His poetry is sometimes elegant; but altogether, it has too much of the florid luxury of
the East. His taste would appear, in his latter years, to have fallen into a state of Brahminical idolatry, when he recommends to our particular admiration, and translates, in pompous lyrical diction, the Indian description of Cumara, the daughter of Ocean, riding upon a peacock; and enjoins us to admire, as an allegory equally new and beautiful, the unimaginable conceit of Camdeo, the Indian Cupid, having a bow that is made of flowers, and a bowstring which is a string of bees. Industrious as he was, his history is full of abandoned and half-executed projects. While his name reflects credit on poetical biography, his secondary fame as a composer shews, that the palm of poetry is not likely to be won, even by great genius, without exclusive devotion to the pursuit-
'Αλλα όπως άμα πάντα δυνήσεαι αυτός ελέσθαι;
ILIAD. xlv. 729.
A PERSIAN SONG OF HAFIZ.
Sweet maid, if thou would'st charm my sight,