A Draught of Blue

A Draught of Blue

by F. W. Bain


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From the Introduction.

The sun goes down, for those alone, who stand on a revolving sphere: and so, in Nature's universal life, Death is but a dissolving view, a word without a meaning: real only to the accidental unit, to whose local and momentary combination it sets a term. Death is a thing of nought, phenomenal, kaleidoscopic: a juggle of the Mother of Illusion, Prakriti or Maya, whose magic scene not only never dies, but like her own wild animals, sleeps even with an open eye. You never catch her napping. And often, when you think that you have done it, she winks at you, just as it were to show you your mistake. As sometimes, on a hot midsummer day, when the delicate blue smoke from cottage chimneys rises straight into the air, and Nature holds her breath: you think, she is asleep: and all at once, there comes a little whisper, and a ripple passes over all the golden ears of corn, and in another moment, all is still. Or on a cliff that overhangs a glassy sea, you lie and dream, and think, the very water sleeps: and then, a sudden change of colour flushes the ocean opal for only a single instant, and is gone. Or in a wood at noon, you listen to the silence, and a rustle suddenly quivers in the trees, and dies away. Murmurs and echoes: moments and emotions of the pulses of the world: hints and indications, still, small voices more significant than storms, of the never-sleeping thrill and throb of universal action.

"Every tremor gravitation excites in any planet is immediately transmitted to the farthest limits of the system, in oscillations corresponding in their periods with the causes that produce them, like sympathetic notes in music, or vibrations from the deep tones of an organ. . . . The human frame may be regarded as an elastic system, the different parts of which are capable of receiving the tremors of elastic media, and of vibrating in unison with their innumerable undulations."

So far sober modern science, never dreaming that it is exactly reproducing (translate the thing only from physics into ethics) the old Hindoo idea, that moral conservation of energy, whose fundamental axiom it is, that no Action, good or bad, however small, is or ever can be lost, but like a stone thrown into the water, generates innumerable consequences, running in all directions to infinity, producing permanent impressions and effects, that follow and fatally determine, eternal and indelible, the fortunes of their Doer, through the series of interminable births and deaths: births that are no beginning, and deaths that are not an end. Thus do we go on making for ourselves our weal or woe: and as we go, the hounds of deeds long buried in oblivion are on our track.

Doubtless a little story might have a more delicious name than the one before us: but doubtless it never had. We may understand it either of a young woman or the moon: and in either case, it means more things than one. I. The new moon, seen for a single instant, in the sky, or on the lotus, or on the forehead of Maheshwara. II. A beauty with eyes like a great blue lotus, or the colour of heaven. For all these things have a quality in common, the mystic blue.

Strange, how deep an impression the colour blue seems to have made upon the Indian mind. Gods and peacocks, creepers and lotuses, clouds and pools and skies and seas, elephants and maidens1 glances are all mixed up together in their language by their 'participation' in this 'Platonic idea,' this transcendental blue. Something of this, indeed, is readily intelligible in every land: but in India, it is more so. The blue is bluer, there. Wouldst the poet understand, Travel in the poet's land. I will not say, with Goethe, Kenst thou that land: but simply tell the reader something that I saw at Mahabaleshwar, in 1903.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781663509734
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date: 05/30/2020
Pages: 106
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)

About the Author

F. W. Bain (29 April 1863 – 3 March 1940) was a British writer of fantasy stories that he claimed were translated from Sanskrit. In his youth he was a keen amateur footballer, representing the University against Cambridge between 1883 and 1886; he was also a member of the leading amateur teams of the time, Wanderers and Corinthians. In 1892, he entered the Indian Educational Service, going on to become a professor of History in the Deccan College of Poonah (Pune), in British India, until his retirement in 1919.[3] He died on 3 March 1940.

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