Page:Poets of John Company.djvu/45

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When fell revenge a cruel coward smote,
And Meerum's poignard struck Surajah's throat.
To bolder prospects learning to aspire,
The peaceful merchant caught the soldier's fire;
In native squabbles ventured to intrigue,
Revenged another's wrong, or joined a league;
In self-defence he triumphed o'er his foes,
And courted quarrels to ensure repose.
A nobler policy, a wiser plan,
Ne'er reared a state, nor animated man:
For kings amazed in passing years beheld
The modest factory to an empire swelled,
The power of India's ancient rulers flown.
And nabobs take a pension for a throne!
Hence vig'rous commerce, unexampled trade.
Springs from that best of maxims—to invade;
And 'tis far better, spurning all control,
To stretch an honest hand, and grasp the whole;
To tax a people ready to obey.
And hug the sweets of universal sway;
Than fix on articles a stated price.
And meanly trade for indigo and rice!


Alas! creative nature calls to light
Myriads of winged forms in sportive flight,
When gathered clouds with ceaseless fury pour
A constant deluge in the rushing shower,
On every dish the bouncing beetle falls,
The cockroach plays, or caterpillar crawls;
A thousand shapes of variegated hues
Parade the table, and inspect the stews!
To living walls the swarming hundreds stick,
Or court a dainty meal, the oil wick,
Heaps over heaps their slimy bodies drench.
Out go the lamps with suffocating stench!
When hideous insects ev'ry plate defile,
The laugh how empty, and how forced the smile!