LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE, eC.
have in this particular a foreign air. In its composition it abounds in Sanskrit words to a degree unknown in any other language of the Archipelago, and these in a degree of purity also beyond the rest, an advantage secured to it by a more copious alphabet. At the same time, it contains many essential words of thte modern language of Java.
The opinion I am inclined to form of this singular language is, that it is no foreign tongue introduced into the island, but the written language of the priesthood, to whom it is probable, in early times, the use of letters was confined. What would be the effect of confining the literature of a people to a cast or order, may in some measure be judged from the effect which a similar state of things produced in literary composition in our own country, at a time when professed writers adopted an affected and obscure language, hardly intelligible to us at present, and which even then differed so widely from the language of business and the world. If we advert to the fact, that that particular order was the priesthood, of the Hindu religion,aof a religion which loves to veil its doctrines and precepts in the darkest and absurdest language, and of which a foreign and dead tongue is the sacred text,a we may be prepared to explain the singular fact of the Kawi differing so widely; from the present Javanese, or even from the most ancient specimens
of the ordinary speech of which we are possessed.