By Jan Knappert

ISBN-10: 0435900935

ISBN-13: 9780435900939

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Extra resources for A Choice of Flowers. Chaguo LA Maua: An Anthology of Swahili Love Poetry (African Writers Series, 93)

Example text

This people have a religion, and, whatever may be said against it, at least it has these strange peculiarities: firstly, that all believe in the creed they profess; secondly, that they all practice the precepts which the creed inculcates. They unite in the worship of one divine Creator and Sustainer of the universe. They believe that it is one of the properties of the all-permeating agency of vril, to transmit to the well-spring of life and intelligence every thought that a living creature can conceive; and though they do not contend that the idea of a Diety is innate, yet they say that the An (man) is the only creature, so far as their observation of nature extends, to whom ’the capacity of conceiving that idea,’ with all the trains of thought which open out from it, is vouchsafed.

Some years ago,” said Aph-Lin, ”I visited this people, and their misery and degradation were the more appalling because they were always boasting of their felicity and grandeur as compared with the rest of their species. And there is no hope that this people, which evidently resembles your own, can improve, because all their notions tend to further deterioration. ’” 69 ”In fact,” resumed Zee, ”if the wisdom of human life be to approximate to the serene equality of immortals, there can be no more direct flying off into the opposite direction than a system which aims at carrying to the utmost the inequalities and turbulences of mortals.

They say, that of the two the female is by nature of a more loving disposition than the male- that love occupies a larger space in her thoughts, and is more essential to her happiness, and that therefore she ought to be the wooing party; that otherwise the male is a shy and dubitant creature- that he has often a selfish predilection for the single state- that he often pretends to misunderstand tender glances and delicate hints- that, in short, he must be resolutely pursued and captured. They add, moreover, that unless the Gy can secure the An of her choice, and one whom she would not select out of the whole world becomes her mate, she is not only less happy than she otherwise would be, but she is not so good a being, that her qualities of heart are not sufficiently developed; whereas the An is a creature that less lastingly concentrates his affections on one object; that if he cannot get the Gy whom he prefers he easily reconciles himself to another Gy; and, finally, that at the worst, if he is loved and taken care of, it is less necessary to the welfare of his existence that he should love as well as be loved; he grows contented with his creature comforts, and the many occupations of thought which he creates for himself.

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A Choice of Flowers. Chaguo LA Maua: An Anthology of Swahili Love Poetry (African Writers Series, 93) by Jan Knappert


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