"Prosody is at once the simplest and the most important branch of Sanskrit grammar. Its rules do not depend on authority. Any one with a good ear accustomed to read Sanskrit is able to detect what is poetry, what is not poetry, and where there is break of poetry, in whatever garb it may be presented. Our manuscripts utterly ignore the convenience of readers by disregarding the rules of punctuation and divisions of poetry, often mixing it with prose and the printed works, although comparatively easier and more reliable, are generally not altogether free from most puzzling mistakes. A practical acquaintance with prosody not only enables us to successfully grapple with the former difficulties, but also in the case of classical texts often to detect all ordinary faults of omission, insertion, and alteration.
"This volume is intended to remove these defects and present Vedic and classical Prosody in what appears to me the clearest and easiest way. For practical purposes, it is not necessary to get by heart the minute divisions of Sanskrit classification. It is sufficient to know the ordinary metres so as to be able to read common verses with ease and proper observance of pauses. The very reading will then reveal poetry even if it is mixed up in mass of prose. The pauses will point out its various divisions, even if they are wrongly joined. If there is a syllable or syllables in excess or in want or if a syllable is heavy where it ought to be light or vice versa, there will be a break in easy reading and the mistake or mistakes can be easily corrected. These points have been fully illustrated in the exercises appended to this volume. They are not invented so as to suit my own purposes but taken at random from ordinary works and may be multiplied to any extent. They are of a nature which every reader will meet every day in the ordinary course of his reading." (jacket)