Critical Appreciation of ‘Baugmaree’  

‘Baugmaree’ 

‘Baugmaree’- Critical Appreciation    

Background of the Poetess

Toru Dutt came from a very cultured and refined family. Her father Govin Chunder Dutt was a poet in his own right and her mother was well-versed in Bengali and English. Thus Toru Dutt had a literary background. Her parents were people of learning and refinement. Her elder sister Aru and Toru stayed in England, France and Italy far four years. There she became so proficient in French language that she translated French poetry into English. She wrote a novel also in French. On their return to Kolkata in 1873, her elder sister Aru died of tuberculosis in 1874. Her only brother Abju had died earlier. These two deaths left a deep strain of melancholy in Toru’s nature and this strain is the most dominant in her poetry.

Toru Dutt- As a Poetess

Although Toru Dutt died at the age of 21 years yet she earned a very good name for herself as a poetess. In this poem ‘Baugmaree’ she displays her mighty power to describe natural beauty in verse. The young poetess took fancy for the garden, its trees of different colours and the flowers in it. This sonnet is a piece of lasting value and has great freshness in it. About this sonnet, Edward Thompson wrote, “This poem is sufficient to place Toru Dutt in the small class of women who have written verse that can stand.”

An Urdu poet wrote, “No regret for the flowers that have had their day and ended in full bloom, but indeed for the buds that faded before they could bloom.” The remark could rightly be about Toru Dutt who died before she could display her poetic talent. Thus she was a poetess of “unfulfilled renown” like John Keats.

H. A. L. Fisher wrote about her, “This child of the green valley of the Ganges has by sheer force of native genius earned for herself the right to be enrolled in the great fellowship of English poets.

Toru Dutt- As a Poetess of Nature

Like Wordsworth, Toru Dutt was a great lover of nature. She was a worshipper of nature. She had great love for tree and flowers. In this poem she tells us about tamarind, mango, palm and seemul trees. For her nature was not something dull and dead but “a living presence”. In this sonnet she displays her great power to describe natural beauty in verse. The young poetess took fancy for “Baugmaree” and described every tree in a loving manner. She had innate love for nature. She was a very keen observer of nature. This sonnet is sufficient to show that she will be remembered for ever. She describes the light-green colour of tamarind tree and deep green colour of mango trees, Green colour has a fresh and soothing effect on our sight and sensibilities. The moonlight passing through the gaps of bamboos is beautifully described by the poetess. The blooming lotus flower appears like a cup of silver. She likens Baugmaree garden to the Eden Garden of heaven. The same expression was used by Andrew Marvell in his poem “The Garden.”

Pictorial Power of Toru Dutt

Toru Dutt has described the garden Baugmaree very vividly. When we read this sonnet, we feel as if we have been transported to this garden. A sea of green leaves encircles this round garden. There are tamarinds of light-green colour, clusters of mango trees of deep green colour, the palm trees which look like grey pillars and the leans simul trees of red colour lean over the quiet pools of water such is the picture of the garden described by the poetess. The loveliest scene is of bamboos when the moonlight passes through their gaps. The white lotus is like a cup of silver. Thus, Toru Dutt displays a remarkable pictorial power in this sonnet. With the help of these details given in the sonnet, a painter can pain an attractive painting. She rivals the art of a painter.

General Remarks

As a poetess, her achievements are creditable but she is to be chiefly admired for the great promise. She moved in the field of poetry for a brief period. Who knows what Toru Dutt might not have achieved had fate spared her for some decades more? She might have written a powerful sonnet-sequence or a tragedy in the years of herself-confidence and maturity, if as a mere girl, she could compose a sonnet like ‘Baugmaree’.

Diction

The sonnet ‘Baugmaree’ is a genuine work of verbal embroidery. It is a perfect Petarchan (or Classical or Miltonic) sonnet having the rhyme scheme a b b a, a b b a, c d c d, e e., Toru Dutt’s poetry is characterised by a mastery of language and metre. She has used Inversions like “garden round”, “green profound”, “seemuls lean,” The similes of palms “like pillars grey” and “like a trumpet’s sound” are very suggestive, apt and appropriate.

On the whole, Toru Dutt’s sonnet is one of her great achievements.

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