BY T. RAMAKRISHNA, B.A.
With an Introduction by the Hon. the Rev. W. MILLER, M.A., LL.D., C.I.E., and dedicated, by permission, to the late Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate.
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They are interesting and remarkable. - Lord Tennyson.
It is a great pleasure to me to find that a native of South India has so distinguished himself. - The Right Hon. Sir M.E. Grant Duff, G.C.S.I.
It is not often that natives succeed so well as you have done in English versification. - H.H. Kérala Varma, C.S.I.
Krishnapore irresistibly reminds us of Auburn, the fortunes of Seeta are in many respects not unlike those of Evangeline, and some forms of expression seem to be coined in the mint of Tennyson.... These tales possess peculiar interest as first-fruits in poetic literature of that amalgamation of Eastern and Western thought that is going on before us at the present day in this country. They are tales of India, descriptive of Indian scenery, and marked by many traits both of custom and of feeling that are characteristic of India.... These tales - tales of woman's constancy and woman's heroism - are pleasing in themselves; and the language in which they are told is simple, imaginative, and marked by a well-sustained melody. The tales are dedicated to Lord Tennyson by "His Lordship's ardent admirer in the Far East"; and certainly they move in the atmosphere of the Tennysonian idyll. - Madras Christian College Magazine.
Much of the versification is very pleasing, and where it is best, it has a decided ring of Tennyson in it.... The author possesses true poetical genius. - Calcutta Statesman and Friend of India.
SEETA AND RAMA: - The story is pretty, though simple. In parts, moreover, the author, who is anonymous, displays the true spirit of poetry, which he (or she) will do well to cultivate.... The tributes of respect for the heroism, purity, and constancy of women which are found in Mr. Ramakrishna's poems are in accordance with the teaching of the Mahabarata, as well as the spirit of the Laureate's verse. Added to this very engaging feature of his work, there is a power of description that is very remarkable in a man to whom English is not his mother tongue. For example, "Seeta and Rama" commences with the following vignette: - ... "All this is in excellent taste. And the same may be said of his delineations of character. He is never wearisome or trite, and ... he succeeds in enlisting the interest and sympathy of his reader and in proving that - as Mrs. Grant Duff lately said - there is 'an indefinite amount of beauty and charm in everyday life' in Southern India." - Madras Mail.
SEETA AND RAMA: - A very pretty and pathetic, though simple little story, told in the true poetic vein, and possesses a deep melancholy interest.... They are simple tales, told in English verse, which is characterised by a purity and a simplicity that are very noteworthy in an Indian writer, and which show considerable acquaintance of the English language, especially of Tennyson's writings. Indeed, of them all is true what was said of the first poem, not only according to the Christian College Magazine, that some forms of expression seemed coined in the mint of Tennyson, but, according to the Statesman and Friend of India, that where the versification is best it has a ring of Tennyson. - Madras Times.
The style is simple and natural, and reminds us more often of Tennyson's "Idylls of the King" than any other English poem that we can recollect now.... Throughout, the book is most finely written in rhyme, and the learned author has minted at the forge of Tennyson, to whom the book is most dutifully dedicated, the sentiments of Oliver Goldsmith, Parnell, and Byron. - Hindu.
We must congratulate Mr. Ramakrishna on the success which has attended his, no doubt, pleasing labours. He is the first Hindu graduate, so far as we know, who has come before the public as a poet, and well does he deserve every encouragement. - Madras Standard.
This little poem is an exquisitely finished, harmonious, well-written story of a pair of Hindu lovers.... Mr. Ramakrishna is extremely felicitous in the choice of his words, and his descriptions are so picturesque and vivid, and his narrative so stirring, that the reader feels as if spell-bound by the author's great skill and power.... There can be no manner of doubt that the hand that wrote these poems is both strong and skilful, and was directed by a true spirit of poesy of a high order. - People's Friend.
TENNYSON COMMEMORATION MEETING. - At the meeting held in the Christian College, Dr. Miller proposed that the chair should be taken by Mr. T. Ramakrishna Pillai, an old student of the College, who, as many of our readers know, has himself won no small success in the field of poetry. - Christian College Magazine.
Mr. T. Ramakrishna Pillai is probably the only one in Madras, and certainly the only native of India in Madras, who had come into any kind of personal contact with Lord Tennyson. - Speech of the Hon. the Rev. Dr. Miller at the Tennyson Commemoration Meeting.