Glimpses of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore
Glimpses of Bengal
Rabindranath Tagore
2:51 h Ideas Lvl 9.97
Glimpses of Bengal: Selected from the Letters Of Sir Rabindranath Tagore 1885 to 1895 span the most productive period of Tagore's literary life. Rabindranath Tagore remarks, "Since these letters synchronise with a considerable part of my published writings, I thought their parallel course would broaden my readers’ understanding of my poems as a track is widened by retreading the same ground."

Glimpses of Bengal

Selected from the Letters
Of Sir Rabindranath Tagore
1885 to 1895

by
Sir Rabindranath Tagore


Tagore c. 1925

Introduction

The letters translated in this book span the most productive period of my literary life, when, owing to great good fortune, I was young and less known.

Youth being exuberant and leisure ample, I felt the writing of letters other than business ones to be a delightful necessity. This is a form of literary extravagance only possible when a surplus of thought and emotion accumulates. Other forms of literature remain the author’s and are made public for his good; letters that have been given to private individuals once for all, are therefore characterised by the more generous abandonment.

It so happened that selected extracts from a large number of such letters found their way back to me years after they had been written. It had been rightly conjectured that they would delight me by bringing to mind the memory of days when, under the shelter of obscurity, I enjoyed the greatest freedom my life has ever known.

Since these letters synchronise with a considerable part of my published writings, I thought their parallel course would broaden my readers’ understanding of my poems as a track is widened by retreading the same ground. Such was my justification for publishing them in a book for my countrymen. Hoping that the descriptions of village scenes in Bengal contained in these letters would also be of interest to English readers, the translation of a selection of that selection has been entrusted to one who, among all those whom I know, was best fitted to carry it out.

RABINDRANATH TAGORE.

20th June 1920.


Bandora, by the Sea,
October 1885.

The unsheltered sea heaves and heaves and blanches into foam. It sets me thinking of some tied-up monster straining at its bonds, in front of whose gaping jaws we build our homes on the shore and watch it lashing its tail. What immense strength, with waves swelling like the muscles of a giant!

From the beginning of creation there has been this feud between land and water: the dry earth slowly and silently adding to its domain and spreading a broader and broader lap for its children; the ocean receding step by step, heaving and sobbing and beating its breast in despair. Remember the sea was once sole monarch, utterly free.

Land rose from its womb, usurped its throne, and ever since the maddened old creature, with hoary crest of foam, wails and laments continually, like King Lear exposed to the fury of the elements.

July 1887.

I am in my twenty-seventh year. This event keeps thrusting itself before my mind — nothing else seems to have happened of late.

But to reach twenty-seven — is that a trifling thing? — to pass the meridian of the twenties on one’s progress towards thirty? — thirty — that is to say maturity — the age at which people expect fruit rather than fresh foliage. But, alas, where is the promise of fruit? As I shake my head, it still feels brimful of luscious frivolity, with not a trace of philosophy.

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