Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/72

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442 JOHN LEYDEN.


drink yourself drunk with wine of Shiraz, which is our eastern Falernian, in honour of Hafiz, our Persian Anacreon. As for me, I often drink your health in water, (ohon a ree!) having long abandoned both wine and animal food, not from choice, but dire necessity. Adieu, dear Ballantyne, and believe me, in

the Malay isle, to be ever yours sincerely,

JOHN LEYDEN.

Leyden soon became reconciled to Puloo Penang (or Prince of Wales Island), where he found many valuable friends and enjoyed the regard of the late Philip Dundas, Esq., then governor of the island. He resided in that island for some time, and visited Achi, with some other places on the coasts of Sumatra, and the Malayan peninsula. Here he amassed the curious information concerning the language, literature, and descent of the Indi-Chinese tribes, which afterwards enabled him to lay before the Asiatic Society at Calcutta a most valuable disser- tation on so obscure a subject. Yet that his heart was sad, and his spirits de- pressed, is evident from the following lines, written for new-year's day, 180G, and which appeared in the Government Gazette of Prince of Wales Island.

Malaya's woods and mountain- ring

With voices strange and sad to hear And dark unbodied spirits sing

The dirge of the departed year.

Lo 1 now, methinks, in tones sublime,

As viewless o'er our heads they bend, They whisper, " Thus we steal your time,

Weak mortals, till your days shall end."

Then wake the dance, and wake the sor.g,

Resound the festive mirth and glee ; Alas ! the days have pass'd along,

The days we never more shall see.

But let me brush the nightly dews,

Beside the shell-depainted shore, And mid the sea-weed sit to muse

On days that shall return no more.

Olivia, ah ! forgive the bard,

If sprightly strains alone are dear ; His notes are sad, for he has heard

The footsteps of the parting year.

'Mid friends of youth beloved in vain,-

Oft have I hailed the jocund day ; If pleasure brought a thought of pain,

I charmed it with a passing lay.

Friends of my youth for ever dear,

Where are you from this bosom fled ? A lonely man I linger here,

Like one that has been long time dead.

Foredoomed to seek an early tomb,

For whom the pallid grave-flowers blow, I hasten on my destined doom,

And sternly mock at joy or woe !

In 1806, he took leave of Penang, regretted by many friends, \\hom his ec- centricities amused, his talents enlightened, and his virtues conciliated. His