Poets of John Company/The Adventures of Qui Hi



The Adventures of Qui Hai.

Next morning's sun had just arisen,
And drove the dusky clouds from heaven.
Ere Qui Hai, on his Arab horse.
Set off to find Byculla course;
Where, 'twas determin'd, ev'ry man
Should meet before the hunt began.
Their breakfast now the sportsmen take.
Merely a "plug of malt," and steak,
The bugle's signal now, of course,
Summon'd the bobbery to horse:
They get the word, and off they move,
In all directions, to Love-Grove.
A jackass, buff'lo, or tattoo.
The sportsmen anxiously pursue.
Old women join the beasts in running:
"The jungle wallas now are coming!"
A loud "view-hollo" now is given:
"A dog, a Paria, by heaven!
"Surround him—there he goes—a-head:
"Put all your horses to their speed."
He's lost—the knave has taken cover!
Old L—n now perceives another.
"Hark! forward, sportsmen—'tis the same:
"The rascal he shews famous game.
"See how the fellow scours along,
"In a direction to Ghirghon:
"Dash after him; he turns again;
"We'll find him on Byculla plain.
"Oh luckless! we have lost all hope—
"He's taken cover in a tope."
Thus spoke the huntsman, and he swore
He'd find him, or he'd hunt no more.

The horsemen fearlessly push in,
Contending who the ear should win;
For, gentle reader! know, that here
A brush is nothing to an ear.
But Qui Hai, disregarding care,
Fell headlong on a prickly pear:
Making, incautiously, a bound.
Both horse and rider bit the ground;
But luckily, except some dirt,
They both escap'd without a hurt.
The Paria in the tope they caught;
His ear extravagantly bought.
The cur had run them such a heat,
As put the hunters in a sweat;
They vow'd that on a future day,
They'd take his other ear away;
Now jumping-powder, wine and beer.
The riders and the horses cheer.
The huntsman now inform'd them all,
They were to tiff at Bobb'ry Hall.
Mounted again, the party starts,
Upsets the hackeries and carts;
Hammalls, and palanquins, and doolies,
Dobies, and Burrawas, and coolies,
Malabar hill at last they gain'd;
Our hero at its foot remain'd;
His horse he could not think to ride,
Like others, up its rugged side.
So wisely took another path,
That led directly to the bath.
Where soon he found the party met
Were all for tiffin sharply set.
What rounds of beef, hampers of beer.
What jumping-powder they had here,
It is impossible to tell—
To hint at them will do as well.
It, therefore, must suffice to say,
That Qui Hai spent a pleasant day;

But with the jumping-powder heated,
He got completely—elevated;
So much so he could scarce remember
The huntsman's song, "Fifth of November";
And 'ere they could cry out encore,
He tumbled plump upon the floor;
But as he lay upon the ground,
His health with three times three went round.
Our hero soon regain'd his seat,
And kept it up till it was late.
More jumping-powder, they were sure.
Would certainly effect a cure;
This antidote so soon discovered.
Our hero tried, and got recover'd;
Then join'd them in their songs and laughter.
Nor e'er complain'd of head-ache after.

Homewards the party now proceeds,
Scarce capable to guide their steeds.
But tho' through rocks and topes they went,
None of them met an accident.
How Qui Hai had contriv'd to mount.
He never after could account;
Nor how his saddle he could keep.
For all the time he was asleep.
The horse (quite sober) knew the way,
Without direction, to Bombay;
Nor stopp'd till at th' Apollo gate.
Him and his rider's forc'd to wait;
Soon as the sentry hoarsely spoke,
Qui Hai immediately awoke:
He found his horse had been mistaken.
And an improper road had taken;
He chang'd his course, and soon he found
The way into his own compound;
Where he, as usual, from his gipsy,
A lecture got for being tipsy.