chiefly amatory ones. But such is not the case ; they delight in those of a domestic nature, also ; and many a time when on my tours in the interior of the country, I have heard villagers singing charming little songs of children playing, flowers, birds, the merry sunshine, the working in the rice-fields, and such-like subjects.
Their war-boat songs are stirring and lively.* The recitative of the pai-neng, or steersman, and then the swell of voices when the boatmen, often sixty or eighty in number, join in the chorus, keeping time with their oars, is very striking. I landed Lord Dalhousie in one of these boats on his visit to Bassein shortly after the last Burmese war, and he was very much struck with the men's song, remarking that it reminded him of the boat-songs he used to hear in Canada in the days of his youth.
As some of my readers can have possibly no conception of what a Burmese play really is, the following drama, called " The Silver Hill,"f which is a good type of this vein of Burmese literature, and one of their popular plays, will give a good idea of their general plot and dialogue.
* This part is often taken by the pai-kheit, or stroke oar, in place of the steersman, and he is chosen for this post on account of his good voice, as well as his skill with the oar.
f This play was translated by Lieut. Sladen (now Lieut. -Col. Sladen) and the late Colonel Sparks in 1856, and the original thoughts and imagery of the vernacular has been well and carefully preserved.f This play was translated by Lieut. Sladen (now Lieut. -Col. Sladen) and the late Colonel Sparks in 1856, and the original thoughts and imagery of the vernacular has been well and carefully preserved.