Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/117

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University of Bombay.

All the arts and sciences which have helped to make England what she is by land and by sea, which have contributed so much to our national greatness and prosperity, these we are offering to you without stint or reserve; nay, more, we are urging them upon you for your acceptance, in the hope that they may do good to you as they have done to us. We hope, too, that many of you will become imbued with artistic and aesthetic ideas, and that some of you will follow art as a profession. India must deplore the loss, during wars and revolutions, of so many of those arts which flourished in the days when Asoka graved on the rocks the edicts of duty; when the Buddhists hewed sacred chambers out of the strata on the mountain sides; when the Brahmanists covered their fanes with carvings which seem to make ancient races of men live again before our eyes; when the Mahomedans reared the tall minarets for prayer, and the domes in memory of the dead. You can hardly do better than fix your gaze on the antique remains of your own national art, which remains will hardly be surpassed by anything that European art can teach you. But under the guidance of Sir Bartle Frere, whom you so well remember as Chancellor of this University, an artistic revival arose some years ago in Western India, a movement which is worthily sustained by our School of Art and Design at Bombay, and by the group of edifices where we are at this moment standing.

Most of you must win knowledge for the purpose of fighting the battle of life, Pursuit of knowledge. yet some of you may be able to pursue knowledge for her own sake. You have read Macaulay's stanzas, in which the goddess of literature adjures him to love her for herself alone. You may recall the passage in which Buckle declares that he who undertakes to write history, must relinquish all other ambition,—not for him are the riches and the honours of the world. Remember that the man who can compose a book that shall live, or enlarge the bounds of human knowledge, or make a discovery in science, or produce a valuable invention, is as great as the successful statesman or warrior.

Though I refrain from dwelling upon poetry, its importance is not forgotten by us. However successful our training may be in other subjects, it is beyond our power to train you to be poets. But we never cease to set before you the best examples of English poetry: and, fortunately, the British nation is as great in poetry as it is in sterner subjects. National poetry is in some degree the outcome of the history and the condition of a nation. Whether such poetry will arise in the India of to-day,