To the KILAADÂR of PUTN (i. e. SERINGAPATAM); same Date.
(30th August.)

ON the subject of getting four intelligent children* of the Usud Ilhye band [or body] instructed in the encomiastic Raikhtehs [or odes], other­wise called Bhât. Desiring copies of the collection of the said odes to be made from the set transmitted with the present letter, and delivered to them. Another copy to be given to Uzeemûddeen, the Taalûkdâr [or superintendant] of the dancers* there [i. e. at Seringapatam], in order that the latter may teach the same to the said dancers.


Of the encomiastic odes here spoken of, I think I am in possession of a copy; for which I am indebted, as for many other interesting communications, to the kindness of my friend, Lieutenant Colonel Ogg. With the exception of the concluding distich of each ode, which is in Persian, the rest of the composition is in the Hindivy dialect, which is, indeed, denoted by the term raikhteh. These odes are ninety-six in number; and consist, on the one hand, of the most fulsome and hyperbolical praises of the Sultan, and on the other, of disparaging allusions to the English, the Mahrattahs, and the Nizâm. The style is extremely un­polished; and though I will not pretend to have given them more than a superficial and cursory perusal, or to understand perfectly all that I have read, I have no hesitation in affirming, that they are utterly destitute of every kind of poetical merit.

Of these curious compositions, which were set to music, and sung, or recited, at appointed seasons and hours of the day, the following extracts may suffice as a specimen.

* * * * * *

“When the Rûstum-hearted king rushed forward [or charged] on the Rukhsh* “of his anger, then did the hearts of the lions of Europe [i. e. the English] quake “with dread.

“The flash of his sabre struck the army of Bailey like lightning: it caused “Munro to shed tears, resembling the drops distilled from spring clouds.*

“On Lang’s heart was fixed a stain, like that of the tulip: Coote was made, “by this calamity, to lament like a hyacinth.”*

There follows here an allusion to General Matthews, who is distinctly named, the nature of which I do not comprehend. Bussy and Lally are likewise men­tioned; but I am too doubtful, regarding the sense of the passage in which they are introduced, to offer a translation of it.

* * * * * *

“When the Mahrattahs behold this army of our King, the dread thereof “causes them to flee like deer.

“The Fringy [i. e. the European] and Nizâm ûl Mûlk pass night and day “together trembling with fear of our King.

* * * * * *

“The kingdom flourishes, and the army increases daily, through thy munificence and justice.

* * * * * *

“The Hujjâm’s* army flees through dread of thee, as the hunter does when “he beholds the lion.

“The Nazarenes, on contemplating from the sea shore the sagacity of our king, “forget their own schemes and counsels [i. e. despair of their success].

* * * * * *

“When mankind behold the liberality and munificence of our king they “exclaim with one accord, “Hâtim was an absolute miser* compared to him.”

“Socrates, Hippocrates, all the sages of the earth, appear before him like to “the most ignorant children.

“Mars dwindles before the valor of our king to a mere infant: Sâm, Nureemân, “and Rûstum,* are of no account.”

* * * * * *

But, perhaps, none of the flights, with which this extraordinary performance abounds, are equal in extravagance to the following one, with which I will close these extracts.

“Owing to the justice of this king, the deer of the forest make their pillow of “the lion and the tiger, and their mattress of the leopard and the panther.”