In Memoriam

July-August 1883




If I have held my peace so long
Here, in the bosom of the plains
Trust me—'t was but because my brains
Would yield no echo of a song

A peaceful lot is mine to sing;
In dullness deep my lines are laid
Save when—to please some sporting maid,
I tilt (and tumble) at the Ring

Three black cheroots the day beguile;
Week follows week—the long month goes,
And Adlard sends his bill for 'close'
Which I receive and promptly—file.

No longer flies the fiery steed
Ramping (on two rupees per diem,
To be refunded if you buy 'em)
Across the Annandyllic meads.

No longer by the Jhampan's side
I frisk along the crowded Mall
From half past four till evenfall,
Or by Peliti's take my ride.

No longer through the stately pines
The soft Hill breezes come and go,
No longer, in the dusk below
The merry 'Rickshaw's lantern shines.

For Jakko's woods are far away
And, in the place of Combermere,
Across the muddy chick I hear
The rain that 'raineth every day'.

Unharrowed is my tender soul
By M-ss O'M-R-A's bold black eye—
For, far from any passer by
I hear the sullen presses roll

The foul chaprassi in his lair
Sits silent as a turban'd Sphinx;
And all the city's million stinks
Float inward on the frowy air,

And so I rest a graceful boot
Upon the table's inky baize,
And think of other—happier days
And sob above my cheap cheroot

I dream of lotos eating days,
Of pleasant rides in pleasant places,
Of half a hundred pretty faces,
Of Solan beer and Henry Clays.

'A change' like that which Byron wrote,
Comes 'o'er the spirit of my dream;'
I hear the restless parrot scream
And watch the gay thermantidote;

Too moved for words, its wings I study,—
Wipe well each glass protected eye
And, ere I throw the inkstand by
Subscribe myself your truly,
Ruddy.