Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/139

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Referring to the bystanders he continues:—

These living ones are from the dead divided:
Our calling on the gods is now auspicious.
We have come forth prepared for dance and laughter.
Till future days prolonging our existence.
As days in order follow one another,
As seasons duly alternate with seasons,
As the later never forsakes the earlier,
So fashion thou the lives of these, Ordainer.

A few of the secular poems contain various historical references. These are the so-called Dānastutis or "Praises of Gifts," panegyrics commemorating the liberality of princes towards the priestly singers employed by them. They possess little poetic merit, and are of late date, occurring chiefly in the first and tenth books, or among the Vālakhilya (supplementary) hymns of the eighth. A number of encomia of this type, generally consisting of only two or three stanzas, are appended to ordinary hymns in the eighth book and, much less commonly, in most of the other books. Chiefly concerned in describing the kind and the amount of the gifts bestowed on them, the composers of these panegyrics incidentally furnish historical data about the families and genealogies of themselves and their patrons, as well as about the names and homes of the Vedic tribes. The amount of the presents bestowed—for instance, 60,000 cows—is sometimes enormously exaggerated. We may, however, safely conclude that it was often considerable, and that the Vedic chiefs possessed very large herds of cattle.

Four of the secular poems are didactic in character. One of these (x. 34), "The Lament of the Gambler," strikes a pathetic note. Considering that it is the oldest com-