Easily the most charming poem of Malayan Literature is the Epic of
Bidasari. It has all the absorbing fascination of a fairy tale. We are led into
the dreamy atmosphere of haunted palace and beauteous plaisance; we glide in
the picturesque imagining of the oriental poet from the charm of all that is
languorously seductive in nature into the shadowy realms of the supernatural.
At one moment, the sturdy bowman or lithe and agile lancer is before us in
hurrying column, and at another we are told of mystic sentinels from another
world, of djinns and demons and spirit-princes. All seems shadowy, vague,
…We hope that no philosopher, philologist, or ethnologist will persist in
demonstrating the sun-myth or any other allegory from this beautiful poem. It
is a story, a charming tale to while away an idle hour, and nothing more. All
lovers of the simple, the beautiful, the picturesque should say to such learned
peepers and botanizers, “Hands off!” Let no learned theories rule here. Leave
this beautiful tale for artists and lovers of the story pure and simple. Seek
no more moral here than you would in a rose or a lily or a graceful palm.
Light, love, color, beauty, sympathy, engaging fascination - these may be found
alike by philosopher and winsome youth. The story is no more immoral than a
drop of dew or a lotus bloom and, as to interest, in the land of the improviser
and the story-teller one is obliged to be interesting. For there, the audience
is either spellbound, or quickly fades away and leaves the poet to realize that
he must attempt better things.
-Chauney C. Starkweather
From the foreword
This product was added to our catalog on Friday 10 August, 2012.