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INTRODUCTION.

after his time. In the work of Sir Edwin Arnold and of Sir Alfred Lyall, the poetry of Englishmen in India reached its maturity. The first applied the energy of true literary genius, and the precision of scholarship to the interpretation of oriental themes: the second allowed his intimate knowledge of India to become concentrated in verse of small bulk but of unmistakable quality. As a poet he is known by one tiny volume of less than thirty pieces; but amongst these is the incomparable Siva.

To compile an anthology of Anglo-Indian verse written during the last century and a half, and to publish it unexpurgated and unexplained implies no slight temerity. The dilettante whose travels have never drawn him east of Suez may say, as he once said to Joachim Hayward Stocqueler, the founder of The Englishman, "We eat no rice and curry in Cornhill." He will not believe that the art and spirit of poetry ever flourished amongst the merchant-adventurers of John Company—

Men who prepared ambrosial Sangaree,
And double Sangaree or Sangarorum:
Now took a fleet, now sold a pound of tea,
Weighed soap, stormed forts, held princes in terrorem,
Drank, fought, smoked, lied, went home and, good papas,
Gave diamonds to their little boys for taws.

Nor is it possible to maintain that these men who builded greater than they knew, have given us more than occasional and topical verse. The writers amongst them founded no literary tradition, and they established no school of poetry. Most of them were the imitators of poets whom they had known in their youth; but they have preserved a few quaint pictures of English life in an India that has passed away, and have shown an exuberant vitality that it might be our pride to recall. Their attitude to the East was simple and undisguised—it was a place of uncongenial, if remunerative, exile.

If this fact should ruffle any Indian reader of these pages, he will find consolation in the thought that Anglo-Indian poetry rises into originality and greatness only when it is concerned with purely Oriental themes. In his poem Siva, Sir Alfred Lyall abandons ephemeral topics and faces one of the immemorial