A Vision of India

(TENNYSON)




Mother India, wan and thin,
Here is forage come your way;
Take the young Civilian in,
Kill him swiftly as you may.

Smite him with the deadly breath
From your crowded cities sped;
Still the heart that beats beneath
That girl's picture o'er his bed.

Brains that thought and lips that kissed,
Mouldering under alien clay,
Stir a stagnant Civil List,
Help us on our upward way.

Iee the amber whisky-peg!
Evry man that yields to thee
Gives his junios each a leg
Shakes the sere Pagoda-Rree.)

Well indeed we know your power,
Goddess of our deep devotion,
Who can grant us in an hour
Steps of rapidest promotion.

Lurking in our daily grub,
Where the untinned degchies lie;
Smiting gaily at the Club,
O'er the card-room's revelry.

Chaperon to many a maid,
Calling, when the music dies,
To a stiller, deeper shade
Than the dim-lit balconies.

(Fill the long-necked glass with whisky!
Every man that owns thy sway
Leaves a widow, mostly frisky,
Makes the gossip of a day.)

Brown and Jones and Smith shall die;
We succeed to all their places,
Bear the badge of slavery,
Sunken eyes and pallid faces.

Laughter that is worse than tears
Is our portion in the land,
And the tombstones of our peers
Make the steps whereon we stand.