Ah, poet, the evening draws near; your hair is turning grey. Do you in your lonely musing hear the message of the hereafter?"
"lt is evening," the poet said, "and I am listening because someone may call from the village, late though it be. I watch if young straying hearts meet together, and two pairs of eager eyes beg for music to break their silence and speak for them."
"Who is there to weave their passionate songs, if I sit on the shore of life and contemplate death and the beyond?"
The Gardner contains prose translations of eighty-five Bengali poems collected from fifteen books written and published over a span of nearly thirty years. Tagore's idea, perhaps, was to present his poems written earlier than the Gitanjali period, poems free from religious symbolism and mystic emotions, and marked with greater human concerns, love being their main motif. The majority of the poems, twenty-six of them to be precise, come from Kshanika (1900), a delightful work distinguished by its abundance, spontaneity and irony, its tripping and sprightly meter that Tagore used with great skill. However, it also includes poems of much earlier works such as Kadi 0 Kornai (1886), Manasi (1890) and even Mgar Khela (1888), a sentimental play.
This is the first work of his where Tagore admitted that his translations were not always literal and the originals were 'sometimes abridged and sometimes
paraphrased'. Such abridgement and paraphrasing as a policy of translation, however justifiable, did not always do justice to the beauty of the originals. The initial response to the work was also therefore a mixed one. However, May Sinclair, among the British admirers of the book described it as 'the most wonderful book of modern secular love-poems.' The Irish Citizen also described its position as 'not far from the summit of English literature'. First published by Macmillan, London, in October, 1913, the book was dedicated to W. B. Yeats.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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