Poets of John Company/The Pindaree
The steed paws the ground, with a snort and a neigh,
The Pindaree has mounted, and hied him away;
He has braced on his shield, and his sword by his side.
And forth he has gone, on a foray to ride.
His turban is twisted, and wreathed round his brow,
Its colour as red, as his blood in its glow;
From his shoulder behind him his carbine is slung,
And light o'er his saddle his long spear is hung.
Loose streams to the wind his white flowing garb,
And gaily bedeck'd is his Dekhani barb;
To the bells at his neck, that chime as they ride.
His charger is bounding and prancing in pride.
His comrades are joined, they are mounted alike;
They must drink, they must smoke, ere their tents they will strike—
Their tents did I say? they are spangled and high,
Their couches the ground, and their curtains the sky.
Through the jungle they wend, till they reach the broad stream;
It is shallow enough, and they cross in the gleam
Of a moon shining sweet as the smile on the face
Of the maiden we love, and would die to embrace.
The river is forded, the frontier is passed,
And they reach the lone village by midnight at last:
Would you gather its fate? In the darkness of night
The forests around it are red in its light.
Its dwellers have fled, in the wild woods to roam;
All roofless and black is the place of their home;
And their daughters, dishonoured, are weeping in vain,
Nor will boast of their pride and their scorning again.