Page:Poets of John Company.djvu/147

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THOMAS FRANCIS BIGNOLD.

To penetrate the city's slums and sinks;
Concocting bye-laws subtler than the stinks;
O'er emigrants an angel-guard to keep,
Harangue them on the dangers of the deep,
Or temper gilded visions of Cachar,
By painting jails and jungles as they are;
(Alas! I watch the vanishing Rupee
Worth but one-third the rice it used to be,
And wish that Wood had been as frank with me!)
'Tis not enough—but how shall I portray
The legion labours of a single day?

Is it for this that Granta bade me seek
To mould Ben Jonson in Iambic Greek,
Condense my prose, like Tacitus the terse.
And rival Ovid's elegance in verse?
Cull roots with Donaldson, weigh words with Trench;
Read, write and talk Italian, German, French;
Repair to town in pestilent July,
When dogs were rabid, and the Thames half dry,
Abjuring bat and racket, oar and cue,
To spend three weeks disgorging all I knew?

Alas! my Muse, it boots not to complain;
Who shall restore a service on the wane?
No longer wooed by fame, or power, or pay,
Isis and Granta proudly turn away.
Ho! Tinkers, come, and Tailors, share the feast!
I bid you welcome to the gorgeous East!
My die is cast. I can but vent my spleen.
And yield me victim to my fate—Routine.


Twenty O'clock.

I cannot exactly say how it arises—
I am always the victim of startling surprises;
And now I've just suffered a terrible shock!
I'm asked out to dinner at twenty o'clock!