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INTRODUCTION.

of this period in India. Those writers who have fallen short of permanent recognition have, let it be admitted at once, deserved their fate. But, even if he miss the laurel wreath, an author may merit re-perusal. The peculiar conditions of their work, combined with its frequent historical interest, have given other than a purely literary value to the verse of several writers whose names this volume seeks to revive. There are poems whose appeal is enhanced by the special circumstances of their origin: of such is the amusing Ballad of Henry Torrens written in 1836; and, in far different mood, the Lay of Lachen by Colman Macaulay. In these works the "note of universality" may not be sounded; but their interest remains undisputed. There is much verse of this kind; but English poetry in India was not at all times occupied with ephemeral themes. Whatever may be said finally upon the value of the work produced by our exiled poets, their range and enterprise have been considerable. The best of them sought to interpret Eastern life and thought through the medium of English poetry, and so to assimilate their knowledge and experience of India as to enrich the literary inheritance of their countrymen. Less ambitious writers were content to find occasional topics in the comedy of Anglo-Indian life and in the varied scenery around them. Their handling of such themes was made the surer by long residence in India; and, in virtue of this, their work has a character and distinction of its own. Others, working through the medium of translation, have produced English poems of original value; and have contributed to that type of literary work which is associated inevitably with the masterpiece of Fitzgerald. Lastly, throughout much of the verse of this volume, there is illustrated the spirit of the literature of exile; and this, for an imperial and sea-faring people, must ever possess a peculiar attraction. In India the distinctive note of this literature was struck at the beginning of the nineteenth century; and it has been re-echoed in varying degrees of intensity, and in a great variety of moods, up to our own time.