Little Clay Cart (Ryder 1905)/Preface



THE text chosen as the basis of this translation is that given in the edition of Parab,[1] and I have chosen it for the following reasons. Parab's edition is the most recent, and its editor is a most admirable Sanskrit scholar, who, it seems to me, has in several places understood the real meaning of the text better than his predecessors. This edition contains the comment of Pṛthvīdhara; it is far freer from misprints than many texts printed in India, and, in respect to arrangement and typography, it is clear and convenient. Besides, it is easily obtainable and very cheap. This last consideration may prove to be of importance, if the present translation should be found helpful in the class-room. For the sake of cataloguers, I note that the proper transliteration of the Sanskrit names of this title according to the rules laid down by the American Library Association in its Journal for 1885, is as follows: Mṛcchakaṭika; Çūdraka; Pṛthvīdhara; Kāçīnātha Pāṇḍurañga Paraba; Nirṇaya-Sāgara.

The verse-numeration of each act follows the edition of Parab; fortunately, it is almost identical with the numeration in the editions of Godabole and Jīvānanda. For the convenience of those who may desire to consult this book in connection with Stenzler's edition, I have added references at the top of the page to that edition as well as to the edition of Parab. In these references, the letter P. stands for Parab, the letter S. for Stenzler.

There are a few passages in which I have deviated from Parab's text. A list of such passages is given on page 177. From this list I have omitted a few minor matters, such as slight misprints and what seem to me to be errors in the chāyā; these matters, and the passages of unusual interest or difficulty, I shall treat in a series of notes on the play, which I hope soon to publish in the Journal of the American Oriental Society. It is hardly necessary to give reasons for the omission of the passage inserted by Nīlakaṇṭha in the tenth act (Parab, 288.3–292.9). This passage is explicitly declared by tradition to be an interpolation by another hand, and it is clearly shown to be such by internal evidence. It will be noticed that the omission of this passage causes a break in the verse-numeration of the tenth act, where the verse-number 54 is followed by the number 58.

Of the books which have been useful to me in the present work, I desire to mention especially the editions of Stenzler, Godabole, Jīvānanda Vidyāsāgara, and Parab; the commentaries of Pṛthvīdhara, Lallādīkṣita, and Jīvānanda; further, the translations of Wilson, Regnaud, and Böhtlingk.

A number of friends were kind enough to read my manuscript, and each contributed something. I wish to mention especially my friend and pupil, Mr. Walter E. Clark, of Harvard University, whose careful reading of both text and translation was fruitful of many good suggestions.

But by far my greatest personal indebtedness is to Professor Lanman, whose generous interest in my work has never flagged from the day when I began the study of Sanskrit under his guidance. He has criticized this translation with the utmost rigor; indeed, the pages are few which have not witnessed some improvement from his hand. It is to him also that I owe the accuracy and beauty which characterize the printed book; nothing has been hard enough to weary him, nothing small enough to escape him. And more than all else, I am grateful to him for the opportunity of publishing in the Harvard Oriental Series; for this series is that enterprise which, since the death of Professor Whitney, most honorably upholds in this country the standards of accurate scholarship set by the greatest of American Sanskritists.


Harvard University

May 23, 1905


  1. The Mṛichchhakaṭika of Śūdraka with the commentary of Pṛithvīdhara. Edited by Kāshi- nāth Pāṇḍurang Parab. Bombay: Nirṇaya-Sāgar Press. 1900. Price 1 Rupee. It may be had of O. Harrassowitz in Leipzig for 2½ Marks.