... In the name of common sense, let the mothers of our families—
they are ... the greatest offenders— sing songs that may be 'understanded
of the people', ditties dealing with the conditions under which we of the East
live and work. Here is my scheme, imperfect as yet, for the regeneration of
I propose to publish, by subscription, a series of Songs entitled
"Music for the Middle-aged"... I would not, at first, turn our mature
warblers too suddenly from the beaten paths wherein they are wont to travel.
The Form of their songs shall be respected, but the Spirit altered, and I
flatter myself improved in the altering, to perfect harmony with our everyday life.
Take for instance Tennyson's 'Maud' referred to above.
Give her the true local colour, and behold the result:—
Here is something which we can all understand and appreciate. 'TwickenhamCome under the Punkah, Maud,
Ferry' again, adapted to Eastern exigencies, would obviously run:—
No one will be prepared to deny that the open vowels of this refrain are infinitelyJuldeeAo! JuldeeAo! To the Simla dak gharri,
preferable to the senseless 'Yo-ho-o' of the original, inasmuch as they convey a meaning
patent to any griffin who has been in the country twenty minutes.
Once more, I submit that all the pathos of parting, experienced by the older members
of the community, is compressed into the following lines:-
When the world come to admit—as it will—the excellence of my system, I make no doubtIn the spring time, Oh my husband,
that there will arise a race of virile poets, owning no allegiance to, drawing no inspiration from,
Western thought, who will weave for the drawing-room of the future, songs as distinctly sui generis
as an overland trunk of a solah topee, and breathing in every word the luxuriant imagery and abundant
wealth of expression peculiar to the East...
('Jacob Cavendish', Civil and Military Gazette 21 June 1884)