Page:Poets of John Company.djvu/124

This page has been validated.



Clive's Dream before the Battle of Plassey.

"The majority of the council pronounced against fighting, and Clive declared his concurrence with the majority. But scarcely had the meeting broken tip than he was himself again. He retired alone under the shade of some trees and passed near an hour there in thought. He came back determined to put everything to the hazard, and gave orders that all should be in readiness for passing the river on the morrow."—Macaulay.

Beneath the thick old mang-o-trees the trunks are growing black;
The night-hawk screams a bolder note, and wheels a wider track;
Far to the right, all ghastly white, thick tents are dimly seen;
Barbaric music faintly wails, the river runs between;
All blood-red on the western verge the skirts of twilight lie,
And two pale horns from the east go slowly up the sky.

Who walks at such an hour in the strange garb of the Frank,
And flings himself in gloomy guise on yonder grassy bank;
And mutters oft—"'Twere madness, sure, with such a force as ours.
To bide the brunt while yet the Moor unbroken holds his powers,
In hope to gain Moorshedabad or Patna's distant towers?"
Sore labour has that leader proved, but toil has worn him less
Than cares which weighed, and nigh dismayed his soul with their distress.
For stronger is the chief to do, than steady to endure.
And till to-day the swift with him has ever been the sure.