Syair Lampung Karam
text notes
list of words
list of rhyme words



Syair Lampung Karam


Suryadi (ed.), "Syair Lampung Karam", forthcoming.


Muhammad Salleh, Inilah Syair Lampung Karam Adanya, Singapore: Haji Muhammad Taib, 10 Safar 1306 (16 October 1888).   Lithograph in the hand of Encik Ibrahim.


text:  1883/84;    print source:  1888.


text & print source:  Singapore.


6468 words, comprising 1492 verses.


to the serially-numbered stanzas (1-374) of the 1888 edition.


The text and notes were kindly provided by Suryadi

Editorial notes and bibliography
See illustrations of the opening and closing pages of this booklet.
The subject of the syair is the cataclysmic eruption of Krakatau (Krakatoa) on 26-27 August 1883 and its appalling aftermath.   In the text, the eruption is of Rakata, the largest of three volcanoes that formed the island Krakatau.
Suryadi comments:
Muhamad Salleh finished composing the poem just more or less three months after the Krakatau initially erupted. He dramatically tells of the catastrophic situation following the horrifying eruption. He accounts for some villages where hundreds people died as a result of this natural disaster. Places like Bumi, Kitambang, Talang, Kupang, Lampasing, Umbul Batu, Benawang, Badak, Limau, Lutung, Gunung Basa, Enam, Gunung Sari, Minanga, Tanjung, Kampung Teba, Kampung Menengah, Kuala, Rajabasa, Tanjung Karang, the Sebesi, Sebuku, and Merak islands were hit by the sea-water, mud, and a rain of stones and ash. The writer not only describes the people who still cared for each other, but also gives a lively account of those who used the catastrophe to their own advantage by stealing the belongings of other people. As a Muslim, and in accordance with the tastes of the day, the writer inserts moral observations and pieces of advice, suggesting that in the face of an immense natural disaster like the Krakatau Eruption, people became increasingly devout, and became mindful of Almighty God.
Four lithographed editions of this text were published in the immediate aftermath, as follows:
1883/84  Syair Negeri Lampung yang Dinaiki oleh Air dan Hujan Abu, [Singapore], 1301 (November 1883-October 1884)
1884  Inilah Syair Lampung Dinaiki Air Laut, Singapore, 2 Safar 1302 (21 November 1884)
1886  Syair Lampung dan Anyer dan Tanjung Karang Naik Air Laut Singapore: Haji Said, 27 Rabiulawal 1303 (3 January 1886). (Also referred to in some advertisements as Syair Negeri Anyer Tenggelam.
1888  Inilah Syair Lampung Karam Adanya, Singapore: Haji Muhammad Taib, 10 Safar 1306 (16 October 1888).   In addition to locations listed by Proudfoot, Early Malay Printed Books, a copy was collected by the Methodist missionary Emil Lüring (Warnk 2004: 20).
Suryadi's edition is a diplomatic transcription of the 1888 edition.   Stanzas 218-237 however are taken from Mulyadi's transcription of the 1884 edition.  Their absence from the 1888 published edition arises from an error of the copyist or the publisher of that edition.
•  Suryadi, Syair Lampung Karam. Sebuah Dokumen Pribumi tentang Dahsyatnya Letusan Krakatau 1883, ed. Yurnaldi, Padang: Komunitas Penggiat Sastra Padang, 2009.
•  Suryadi, “Syair Lampung Karam: Images of the 1883 Eruption of the Krakatau Mountain in a Classical Malay Literary Text”, paper delivered at the 24th ASEASUK Conference, John Moores University, Liverpool, 20-22 June 2008.
•  Suryadi, Letusan Krakatau di Mata Pribumi, Melayu Online.
•  Mulyadi, Sri Wulan Rudjiati. 1983. “An Eye-witness Account on the Eruption of the Mountain Krakatau in the Form of A Syair”, Proceedings of the Symposium on 100 Years Development of Krakatau and Its Surroundings, Jakarta, 23-27 August 1983, Vol. II: Social Sciences, pp. 25-57.
•  Warnk, Holger. 2004. “Some Notes on the Collection of Malay Books of Emil Lüring in Frankfurt” [Paper presented at the Seminar Sastera Cetak Abad ke-19, Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 14-15 December).
Added:  February 2008
A pre-publication digital text was provided by Suryadi, and adapted to the MCP format.  In case of minor discrepancies between the MCP text and the published text, the published text is to be preferred.