Alfred Comyn Lyall (4 January 1835 – 11 April 1911 / Surrey)
Studies at Delhi, 1876
I.--The Hindu Ascetic.
Here as I sit by the Jumna bank,
Watching the flow of the sacred stream,
Pass me the legions, rank on rank,
And the cannon roar, and the bayonets gleam.
Is it a god or a king that comes?
Both are evil, and both are strong;
With women and worshipping, dancing and drums,
Carry your gods and your kings along.
Fanciful shapes of a plastic earth,
These are the visions that weary the eye;
These I may 'scape by a luckier birth,
Musing, and fasting, and hoping to die.
When shall these phantoums flicker away?
Like the smoke of the guns on the wind-swept hill,
Like the sounds and colours of yesterday:
And the soul have rest, and the air be still.
Har dly a shot from the gate we stormed,
Under the Moree battlement's shade;
Close to the glacis our game was formed,
There had the fight been, and there we played.
Lightly the demoiselles tittered and leapt,
Merrily capered the players all;
North, was the garden where Nicholson slept,
South, was the sweep of a battered wall.
Near me a Musalmán, civil and mild,
Watched as the shuttlecocks rose and fell;
And he said, as he counted his beads and smiled,
"God smite their souls to the depths of hell."
Comments about this poem (Studies at Delhi, 1876 by Alfred Comyn Lyall )
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