Personal
Responsibilities





"Those mechanical means by which alone
the Government coffers can be replenished."
See Viceroy's speech to Dufferin Fund,
on 26th instant.'


Nay, not 'mechanical' my Lord—
A personal and private glow
Pervades us when our humble hoard
Is 'cut' by twenty dibs or so.
Least of your subjects, store immense I
Set monthly by Your Excellency.

For when I pay my little dues,
I wonder where the money goes;
And read the papers for the news,
Or write to ventilate my woes.
Because I sink my money in
The firm of 'Queen and Dufferin'.

Oft in some ultra loyal mood
I tender newly coined rupees;
In case His Excellency should
Befoul his gloves with dirt and grease.
By arts like these, I strive to win
The friendship of Lord Dufferin.

But, when the red chaprassi brings—
Magnificent in marge and line
A letter, hinting awful things,
From some respected friend of mine,
Because my tax is overdue,
Then much, my Lord, I mourn for you.

My friend is kindest of the kind,
I meet him oft—I know him well—
It ne'er would cross his courteous mind
To threaten me with dungeon cell.
Who drove him, therefore, into sin?
He answers sadly:—'Dufferin'.

And when some 'unearned increment'
Is added to my modest stipend—
Like Achan in the fateful tent
So I—a neatly-worded lie penned—
Secrete my gold untaxed, and smile
With glee ungodly at my guile.

Now, I was nurtured in a creed
That hates a lie and scorns a theft;
Who makes me traitor to my breed,
Of truth and honour both bereft?
Who vulcanized my moral skin?—
My business partner—Dufferin.

And when I pay that tax no more,
And pass beyond the fires they kindle,
St Peter at the half-shut door
Will tax me with my latest swindle.
But I shall answer:—'Let me in!
Refer the debt to Dufferin.'

And thus the Silver Chain hooks on
Our destinies diverse in tether;
And Frederick Temple Hamilton,
And You and I, and they together,
Are linked in ties, occult, unreckoned,
Of last year's Act, surnamed the Second.