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all referred to by any of the comparatively modern writers, some of the native pandits are inclined to favour the belief-that by the “ Singhalese (verbal-science or) Grammar in the Singhalese language,” is here meant the Sidath' Sangarawa.
A few general observations will be found at the conclusion of each chapter. It is therefore not necessary to enter into a detail, or a summary of them here. Suffice it to remark, that the only chapter which appears to demand an extended notice from me is the 12th, on Rhetoric—an art to which the Singhalese have paid no inconsiderable attention from the earliest period of the known history of this Island. I have accordingly drawn up a few observations, which will be found inserted in Appendix C. The utility of, and indeed the necessity for, studying the Science of Rhetoric is by far too obvious to be here further insisted on. And it is to be boped that the time is not far distant when we shall have a translation of the Swabahas' alankàra, from the pen of one who can do the subject justice.
The Grammar is in twelve parts or Chapters, each of which is divided into sections; and, to make reference to the translation the more facile, I have subdivided the sections into paragraphs, which will be found to correspond both in the translation and in the text given in the Appendix,
I need hardly say any thing in reference to another work ; which together with its translation is here added; since its brevity and practical utility are too obvious to need any justification for its insertion in connection with the Sidath Sangarawa. It is called the Vibath' Maldama—"A garland of Cases:" and was composed by a priest named Kiarmba, see p. ccxxxvii.
Whenever in the course of my reading I have met with a passage in Sanscrit or English writers, which I conceived likely to throw light on the subject of this translation, I have not omitted to insert it by way of note. I have, however, been
sparingin remarks of my own on general Grammar, although the numerous peculiarities of the Singhalese language have frequently suggested to my mind the propriety of drawing up a few observations. I have also occasionally found it expedient to institute a comparison of the English and Sanscrit, with the Singhalese, with a view of assisting those Europeans, whose researches in the former are of such a character and to such an extent, that a reference to it cannot in my opinion fail to render the study of the Singhalese Grammar less irksome, and its comprehension more easy. For, as Dr. Lowth has well remarked in the Introduction to the English Grammar, p. ix.—“When he (the learner) has a competent knowledge of the main principles of Grammar in general, exemplified in his own language; he will then apply himself with great advantage to the study of any other. To enter at once upon the science of Grammar, and the study of a foreign language, is to encounter two difficulties together, each of which would be much lessen ed by being taken separately and in its proper order.”
Whenever the notes extended to any inconvenient length, I have found it necessary to transfer them to the Appendix. Being also convinced that a few remarks suggestive of a course of study and reading may prove useful to Europeans, I have, after collecting the opinions of many learned and judicious men, and collating them with my own less perfect observations, given my views on the subject in the Appendix.
Whilst on one hand, the absence of a complete fount of Singhalese type has occasioned a wide departure from what is considered the standard of orthography amongst us, I regret on the other, that my own want of attention bas led to the use of a promiscuous mode of spelling Asiatic words in English or Roman characters. According to the plan laid down by Sir W. Jones, and which seems to have been followed by many of the Oriental scholars of the present day, it will be found that I have used vowels of one denomination for another, double for single letters, aspirate for inaspirate, et vice versa. This was kindly brought to my notice by a friend, but rather too late to enable me entirely to alter the sheets: and lest I should “perpetuate a provincial or inelegant pronunciation,” a considerable proportion of the errata is devoted to the correction of these errors, according to the system laid down in Note 3, Appendix C.
In preparing an Introduction to the Sidath Sangarawa, I proposed to lay before my readers, a comprehensive history of the Singhalese language, with select specimens from nearly the whole of its standard writers. But as I proceeded with the task, I found my difficulties neither few, nor, in many cases, surmountable. The great variety of Singhalese books, the paucity of information regarding their writers, the difficulty experienced in the collection of even the little known of them, and the absence of a library to which ready access may be had; added to the incessant excitement of a profession, whose claims upon my attention left me but little leisure, induced me to contract my original design; and to prepare for the press the comparatively few materials I already possessed. But if it should be permitted me hereafter, under Divine Providence, to revise these sheets, and to present the public with a second edition, I am not without hopes that I may not only effect considerable improvement in the translations, but also obtain larger and more valuable accessions to this history of Singhalese literature, which from the causes already alluded to, is far more brief than even the available materials would have enabled me to present the reader.
To the Singhalese scholar there is perhaps little in these pages calculated to excite interest. But to the European I hope they will prove both interesting and valuable. The specimens of poetry and prose, independently of their intrinsic merit as Oriental compositions, may present him with a picture of the manners of the Singhalese, and exhibit the peculiarities of thought and fceling which actuate Eastern writers. They may also serve, under the judicious guidance of a teacher, as a Delectus for both beginners and advanced students; and will furnish appropriate subjects for different exercises in composition and translation. *
I am fully sensible that future researches into the Singhalese language-a department of literature which has not been to any extent explored by Europeans-will lead to the discovery of errors and imperfections in my humble labours. With reference to defects of style, perfect correctness perhaps cannot, and, I believe, ought not to be expected from me; I can, therefore, scarcely persuade myself to offer an apology. I may, however, remark, that if the investigations contained in the pages now presented to the public, be the means of awakening a spirit of inquiry in the minds of my country. men;-of inviting the attention of the settler in Ceylon to the language of the Singhalese,-of prompting him to a critical study of, and a philosophic research into, the native literature,—and of giving him a stimulus to the study of a language, little understood, less cultivated, much neglected, and to a great extent slighted, the writer's chief aim will have been attained.
It now only remains for me, in conclusion, to notice the assistance I have received during the progress of this work.
My especial thanks are due to the Government of Ceylon, and more particularly to the Hon'ble C. J. MacCarthy, Esq., Colonial Secretary, for the kindness and liberality with which I have been permitted the free use of their Press for the publication of this Grammar.
I cannot also omit to mention with thankfulness the name of Mr. J. Capper, the late indefatigable Secretary to the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, but for whose kind suggestion and encouragement I should probably never have undertaken this work.
• See specimen of an exercise in Appendix C.
Besides tendering my sincere thanks to Mr. W. Skeen, the talented Government Printer, for the arduous task of revising these sheets for the Press, I beg to record my lasting obligations to Mr. A. M. Ferguson, for his kind assistance; and my acknowledgments to Mr. J. R. Blake, for whose valuable suggestions I am very greatly indebted.