Page images
PDF
[graphic][graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic][graphic][graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Allahabad and Delhi, with a view to find any other words which might be common either to two or to all three of them, I was led to a most important discovery; namely, that all three inscriptions are identically the same. Thus, the whole of the Bettiah inscription is contained verbatim in that of Fnaoz’s Lzith, published in four consecutive plates, in the seventh volume of the Asiatic Researches: and all that remains of the Allahabad inscription can with equal facility be traced in the same plates, with exception of the five short lines at the bottom, which appear to bear a. local import. The last eleven lines of the east inscription of the obelisk of Delhi have indeed no counterpart in the other two ; but this may be also owing to the destruction of the corresponding lines of these two texts, which happen to be, on them, the final and nethermost portion of the sculpture.

To enable the reader to judge of the agreement of the three inscriptions, I have added to Plate XXIX., since it has been engraved, marginal references, to point out the corresponding sheets of the Delhi inscription. I have also marked all the variations, omissions, and redundances that occurred on a careful comparison of the two texts, omitting only the mere errors of vowel marks, the correction of which would have confused the already painful closeness of the writing. Considering that the Bettiah inscription was taken down by a native artist, the errors of copying do not appear to be very numerous. There are more considerable discrepancies found on collating the Allahabad transcript of Lieut. BURT, with the original from Delhi, owing no doubt to its dilapidated condition. It is a fortunate circumstance that the Delhi sculpture remained in so perfect a state of preservation, when it was first discovered and examined by the English. It seems moreover to have been most carefully taken down by Captain Hoona.

On referring to my former note on the Allahabad column it will be remarked, that most of the anomalous letters, which I had thrown out of the classification of this alphabet in Plate V., are, on comparison with the other texts, now reduced into simple and known forms. A few other remarks that occurred on passing my eye carefully over the whole three inscriptions, may perhaps help in determining the value of some of the letters.

1. I asserted on that occasion that there appeared to be no compound letters :—-several very palpable instances however occur in the Bettiah inscription, of double letters substituted for two single ones in the Delhi column. These are as follows:

In the fourth line of the Bettiah version ,2 is found to be substituted for DJ, of the Delhi text. In the first line the same substitution is made, with the addition of one of the vowel marks, i for 51;. In the eleventh line 5, occurs for LL: in the thirteenth, 1 for ILL: in the 28th, we find 4; taking the place of 16 :and the same contracted form occurs also in the Allahabad version (vide scheme of Alphabet, Plate V.) The commonest double letter however in both these two texts is 1§, which corresponds with 4,,” of the original or Delhi column.

Other contractions of less certainty may he remarked in the body of the inscriptions: for instance, "-1- for b-|- ; of for as ; 1; for -|- +. It is probable also that Q and k , are contractions of $1 and LA , though this is not borne out, like the others, by actual example of the separated letters.

2. From the frequent and almost exclusive occurrence of J, as the secondary consonant in the above enumeration of double letters, as well as from its resemblance in form to the corresponding letter of the Gya alphabet (No. 2, see Plate Vl.), I think a strong probability is established that this letter is equivalent to y or 11 of the Deva Nagari alphabet.

The other subjoined letter has a great analogy to the Sanscrit ‘I. The letter, with which these two are most frequently united, may with equal probability, be set down as equivalent to the Deva Nzigari s, U ; Whence the compounds may be pronounced to be ‘Q1 and G, the two perhaps of most common occurrence in the Sanscrit language.

3. The letters 6 and 4; are found to be frequently interchangeable in the inscriptions; corresponding in this respect to the it and ‘T of the Nzigari alphabet, and strengthening the assumption just made. I, and b- are also very commonly confounded, and it is most probable that they are the same letter. The triangle (No. 28 of the alphabet in Plate V.) of the Delhi inscription, is invariably represented by the half-moon letter I) (No. 13) in the Bettiah Léth, and therefore the former may be erased from the alphabet : the anomaly of the same character, shaped like the letter V, proves on comparison to be the same letter as the foregoing.

4. The letter )| (No. 14 of the alphabet) is very commonly omitted in the L5.th of Bettiah, especially when it occurs before No. 24. This character also is subject to no vowel inflections; its variations of form though numerous prove to be merely accidental.

5. In the Delhi text as printed in the Asiatic Researches the words are separated from each other, according to the European fashion. This circumstance is of great consequence, (especially as it is not observable in the other two transcripts,) because it enables us to form

« PreviousContinue »