Page:Poets of John Company.djvu/13

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Preface.

THE original plan of this book provided for a collection of verse written in India by Englishmen from the earliest days of the British occupation up to our own time; and such a collection was actually made. To all who expressed their willingness to allow specimens of their work to appear, I would take this opportunity of expressing my grateful thanks. Two main difficulties—the trouble and expense of copyright, and the impossibility of producing a large work at a reasonable rate under post-war conditions of publication—have compelled the limitation of the scope of this anthology.

The poems here reproduced illustrate Anglo-Indian life (old style) from the close of the eighteenth century up to and including the period of the Mutiny: but sharp chronological limits have not been observed. The Leviora would fall beyond this period; but in spirit and in form this famous production is so reminiscent of the age of John Company that it makes an adequate conclusion to all the preceding verse. Unfortunately the law of copyright forbids the reproduction of any of Sir Edwin Arnold's work; but an attempt has been made in the introduction to recognize the range and quality of his poetry of oriental life.

For permission to include the three poems of Sir Alfred Lyall I am indebted to Messrs. Routledge. Mr. Ernest Bignold has been generous in permitting me to draw upon the Leviora; and Messrs. Lahiri have kindly allowed me to reprint Colman Macaulay's Lay of Lachen, which appeared originally in Indian Pandits in the Land of Snow, a pamphlet by Sarat Chandra Das. Lovers of the Himalaya will welcome this reproduction of an oft-quoted but rarely procurable poem. The omission of verse written by Indians is due to the fact that the modern school of poetry in India, heralded by the promise of