The Song of Ceylon (1934) - full transcript

In ancient times,
all the low pads of this land

were covered
with dark and monstrous forests,

through which no man
might pass without peril.

In those days, the primitives
did prostrate themselves by night

to the honour and service of the devil.

These rites they celebrated
until the coming of a great god

whom they call Buddha

And to whom
the salvation of souls belongs.

Him they believed once
to have come upon the earth,

whence he departed from the top
of the highest mountain on the island,

called in the Chingulay language,

But by the Portuguese and
the European nations, Adam's Peak.

It is sharp like a sugar loaf.

On the top, a flat stone with
a print of a foot like a man's on it

but far bigger, being about 2ft long.

it is the footprint of the Buddha.

The people of this land
count it meritorious

to go and worship this impression

and generally about Meir new year,
which is in March,

they, men, women and children,

go up this vast and high mountain
to worship.

Up this vast and high mountain
to worship.

Our Buddha, who acquired nirvana,

who came into the world
like other Buddhas,

from whom is derived
the food of life.

Who is celebrated
for his 32 great manly beauties.

And for the 82 signs
connected with them.

And for the light which shines
a fathom round his body.

And for the beams of light
that dart from the top of his head.

Who is the preceptor of three worlds.

Who is acquainted
with the past, present and future.

Who during four asankya kalpas
so conducted himself

as to be an example
of the 30 great qualities.

Who subdued Mara and his attendants
and became Buddha.

In the eighth year from that event,
he rose into the air,

spread beams of light of six
different colours round his person

and stamped the impression
of his foot,

bearing the noble marks,

and the 108 auspicious tokens
on the rock, Samantakuta Parvathi,

which is celebrated for the cold
and lovely waters of its rivers,

for its mountain torrents
and for its flowery groves

spreading in the air
their sweet-scented pollen,

which is the crown
of the Virgin Island,

rich in mines
of all kinds of precious stone... a maid decked with jewels.

At sunrise, a great shadow
is cast from this mountain

for a space of 70 miles,

formed, as it seems,
of strange vapours.

For it lieth not on the land
but a little above it

so that the hills and the valleys
appear veiled beneath.

It belongeth only to the women
to fetch both wood and water.

Their priests are debarred from laying
their hands to any manner of work.

Nor may they eat but one meal a day,

which meal they must make
with the people,

who willingly give out of their store
for the merit they gain thereby.

But husbandry is the great employment
of the country.

In this the best men labour.

Nor is it held any disgrace
for men of the greatest quality

to do any work either at home
or in the field,

if it be for themselves.

But to work for hire with them
is reckoned for a great shame

and very few are here to be found
that will work so.

They are very active and nimble
in their limbs and very ingenious.

For except ironwork or other things
they have need of,

they make and do themselves,

in so much that they all build
their own houses.

Rice is the choice
and flour of all their corn,

at reaping they are excellent, good,
just after the English manner.

As they join together in tilling,
so in their harvest, also.

For all fall in together in reaping
one man's field and so to the next,

until every man's crops are down.

The women beat the rice
out of the husk,

which they do with an ebony pestle
in a wooden mortar.

In those villages where dancers
have their dwelling,

the children must come each day
to the house of their dancing master,

there to practice themselves
in their art.

Or if they be not exercised
from childhood in this manner,

their limbs have no skill
in the postures of their dance.

New clearings,
new roads, new buildings,

new communications, new
developments of natural resources.

Dear sir, in reply...

Dear sirs, with reference to...

£22.17 and sixpence.
£7.09 and a penny.

To acknowledge receipt...

40 rupees, 75 cent.
55 rupees, two cent.

We beg to inform you that
the consignment to which you refer...


FOB London. Sailing
25th instant. Yours faithfully...

- Yours faithfully...
- Yours faithfully...

For Australia.
Calling Toulon, Naples, Port Said,

Suez, Aden, Colombo.

The uses of a coconut palm
are many and various.

It produces food, drink,
medicine and oil,

soap, candles, vinegar
and tooth powder,

beds, carpets, brooms, furniture,
lamps, cups and spoons,

baskets, canvas,
fishing nets, fences, boats, ropes.

Kopra. The market was steady
at yesterday's higher prices.

Ceylon FMS to five ports quoted
£10, seven shillings and sixpence.

It's about those blueprints
for the new factory.

Oh, yes.
I was going to send them along.

There are one or two alterations.

I'll do them when I get them.

- I'm in a hurry.
- I understand.

Dambulla Valley, 42.6.
East India and Ceylon, 23.

Pettah, six per set preference,
28 and six.

Nuwara Eliya, 83, one and a half.

...16, four and a half.
Seven and a half, six and a half.

East by south.
The half east, sir.

Yesterday's commodity prices.


The week's offering of Ceylon grains
amounting to 22,100 packages

came up for auction.

Competition was generally good
and prices regular.

Common and low-medium
broken Orange Pekoes

were farthing to a halfpenny higher
in some instances,

while broken Pekoes
also shared a similar rise.

Good medium sorts and fannings
continued firm

and where quality was good
realised higher prices.

Clean, common broken Pekoe

quoted 11-pence farthing
to one shilling per pound.

Found in the Virgin Island,

rich in mines of all kinds
of precious stone,

like a maid decked with jewels.

Arrived Colombo October 9th,
bound Rangoon.

Malo to arrive Colombo, 10th,
bound London.

And became Buddha.

Who is celebrated
for his great manly beauties

and for the 82 signs
connected with them.

Stamped the impression
of his foot,

bearing the noble marks,

For the light which shines
a fathom round his body.

For the beams of light
that dart from the top of his head.

From whom is derived
the food of life.