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THE EASTERN ARYANS.
perhaps the earliest collection which the world possesses—as a nation of philosophers. Well may Professor Müller compare the Indian mind to a plant reared in a hot-house, gorgeous in colour, rich in perfume, precocious and abundant in fruit; it may be all this, "but will never be like the oak, growing in wind and weather, striking its roots into real earth, and stretching its branches into real air, beneath the stars and sun of Heaven"; and well does he also remark, that a people of this peculiar stamp was never destined to act a prominent part in the history of the world; nay, the exhausting atmosphere of transcendental ideas could not but exercise a detrimental influence on the active and moral character of the Hindoos.
- As a specimen of their thoughtful turn of mind, even in the Vedas, at a time before the monstrous avatars of the Hindoo Pantheon were imagined, and when their system of philosophy, properly so called, had no existence, the following metrical translation of the 129th hymn of the 10th book of the Rig-Veda may be quoted, which Professor Müller assures us is of a very early date:—
"Nor aught nor nought existed; yon bright sky
Was not, nor Heaven's broad woof outstretched above.
What covered all? what sheltered? what concealed?
Was it the water's fathomless abyss?
There was not death yet was there nought immortal.
There was no confine betwixt day and night;
The only One breathed breathless by itself,
Other than It there nothing since has been.
Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled
In gloom profound—an ocean without light—
The germ that still lay covered in the husk
Burst forth, one nature, from the fervent heat
Then first came love upon it, the new spring
Of mind—yea, poets in their hearts discerned,