Poetical Works of Edwin Arnold : Containing the Light of Asia, The Indian Song of Songs, and Pearls of the Faith.
Chicago : Belford, Clarke & Company, [Undated]. Hardcover. 202 pages ; 18 cm. No dust jacket as issued. Decorative cover board with gilt title and spine. Navy blue cover. Light rubbing to cover. Pages are unmarked. Binding is firm.
OF the real history of Buddha comparatively little was known in the Western world until within the present century. Whether he ever existed at all was a great question among the best scholars, but recent research and comparison of Buddhist works from Ceylon, Burmah, Siam, Thibet, China and Sanskrit works in India seems to establish the faith beyond further question. As scholars in each of the countries where Buddhism prevails read the works, ancient or modern, that proclaimed the greatness and doctrines of Buddha, they found them so overgrown with legends and absurdities that it was impossible for them to decide which was truth and which falsehood; but when these works were brought together in European studies, and a few earnest scholars set themselves to the task of comparison, it was found that on certain points of Buddha's life and doctrine there was practical agreement. These being gathered out of the mass of nonsense, we now have an in¬telligible history of Buddha. It should be remembered that commerce, or other intercourse between China, Thibet and India had been almost entirely suspended for nearly a thousand years, and the thought and traditions of one country had not been affected by that of the other; hence it seems evident .that a common origin in the spread of Buddhism, some fifteen or twenty centuries since, must account for the agreement of the Buddhist books of those countries on history and doctrine.
Nothing has been more uncertain about Buddha than the time of his life. Professor Wilson enumerates over twenty different dates given in Buddhist books, each* as reliable as the other, and ranging over a thousand years previous to 453 B.C.; but the most careful research and the balance of Oriental authorities places his birth about 620 B c.
The story of Buddha's ante-natal existence is as firmly believed in by his followers as that of the recorded eighty years of his last appearance. He is said to have passed through an infinitude of births, in various characters, during ten millions of million and one hundred thousand millions of kalpas, or eternities. Appearing as a prince fifty-one times in the line of Mah&saimneta, he was, therefore, fifty-one times his own ancestor. In every birth he
EDWIN ARNOLD CS.L
EDWIN ARNOLD was the second son of Robert Coles Arnold, a magistrate in Sussex; he was born June 10,1831, and was educated at King's School, Rochester, and King's College, London ; and was elected to a scholarship at University College, Oxford. In 1852 he obtained the Newdigate prize for his English poem on the Feast of Belshazzar. In 1853 he was elected to address the Earl of Derby on his installation as Chancellor of the University. He graduated with honor in 1854, and became second master in King Edward the Sixth's school in Birmingham, and subsequently was appointed principal of the Government Sanskrit College at Poona, in Western India. He held the position until 1860, when he was compelled to leave his much-loved India, by the death of a child, and the illness of his young wife. For nearly twenty years since he has held the position of sub-editor, or editor-in-chief, of the London Daily Telegraph, where he has'become greatly distinguished as a writer of powerful " leaders." Mr. Arnold has con¬tributed largely to critical and literary journals, and is the author of " Griselda, a Drama;" " Poems Narrative and Lyrical," " Education in India," " The Euterpe of Herodotus," a translation with notes ; a translation of the "Hitopodesh," or "Book of Good Counsels," a Sanskrit work; " The History of Lord Dalhousie's Administration," *' The Indian Song of Songs," and the " Light of Asia," This last work he began in September of 1878, and though his duties as editor of the Daily Telegraph were unremitting, he was able, within a year, to have it published on both sides the Atlantic. Later, Mr. Arnold has translated into verse two books from the MaMbharata, " The Iliad of India."...............
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