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THOMAS FRANCIS BIGNOLD

1839–1888.

The Successful Competitor–1863.

Oh! for the palmy days, the days of old!
When Writers revelled in barbaric gold;
When each auspicious smile secured a gem
From Merchant's store or Raja's diadem;
When 'neath the pankha frill the Court reclined,
When Amlah wrote and Judges only signed;
Or lordlier still, beneath a virgin space
Inscribed their names and hied them to the chase!

Chained to the desk, the worn Civilian now
Clears his parched throat and wipes his weary brow;
Bound by his oath at every boor's behest
To hear, examine, sift, record, attest,
Recite the whole in dialect uncouth,
And dive in wells of perjury for truth!
Toil as he may, his guerdon is the same—
The scantest praise, the largest meed of blame.
Acquit? And brave the Superintendent's curse?
Convict? To see a dubious Judge reverse?
Commit? An Aryan jury will ignore;
For does not Kali gloat on human gore?

What tho' Assessors fail to find a flaw,
And trust the Judge alike for facts and law;
Tho' link in link of evidence appear—
Proof piled on proof make clearer and more clear
The prisoner's guilt—the bland High Court shines out
More skilled than Eldon in the art of doubt;
And as the German limner sought to find
Within the hidden chambers of his mind

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