Poets of John Company/The Rajpoot's Lament

The Rajpoot's Lament.

Shades of the mighty, mighty dead.
Then have ye lived and died in vain?
And are ye fled, for ever fled.
With all the glories of your reign,
And left the world ye used to bless,
In guilt as deep—in need no less—
Than when ye burst upon its guilt,
And half the blood it bore was spilt?

The Keytrie's pride—the Brahmin's god—
Shall both be trampled and o'erthrown?
And the pure land your footsteps trod.
Stoop to a race to you unknown;
And will ye sleep, for ever sleep,
While good men pray, and brave ones weep,
And native honour's latest gasp.
Is ebbing in the oppressor's grasp?

Whose foot is on the Brahmin's land?
A foot the country had not borne.
Whose hand is on the soldier brand?
A hand the soldier holds in scorn.
Whose lance is in the country's heart?
A lance more odious than its smart.
Who fill the thrones ye reared of old?
The slaves of slaves, whose God is gold.

Soft Gunga checks her troubled wave,
And slave-like weeps with veiled brow;
'Twas there, 'twas there ye bid us lave,
And will ye, can ye bid us now?
The pomp and pride of native sway,
Our lands, our names have past away.
And will ye never, never aid,
To guard the rights your glory made.

Shades of the mighty, who shall dare
To say ye are not mighty still?
Your whispers breathe in every air.
Your spirits move in every thrill.
Dim—thro' the misty gulf of years—
Dim—thro' the glimmering veil of tears—
I see ye—warriors stern and grey,
I see ye—but no other may.

I breathed it to the rushing flood.
The water's murmuring voice replied;
I breathed it to the waving wood,
The conscious branches bowed and sighed;
I told the rock, I told the cloud,
And they returned it doubly loud;
I spoke it in the haunts of men.
And not a voice was heard again.

Stupendous spirits—Ye could mould.
And re-create a nation's mind;
And will no whispering voice unfold,
Till my young heart grew old with thought
The magic art that rules mankind?
Oh, I have mused on all ye taught,
But never yet that sacred gleam
Has reached my soul in thought or dream.

'Tis vain, the task is not for me;
Fly, dreamy hopes and shadowy throne,
My country's soul I cannot free,
I will be master of my own;
Shades of the mighty—yet, oh yet
Shed o'er this heart the proud regret
That throbs and thrills in every beat,
A little while, and we shall meet.

Tho' ear is deaf, and voice is dumb,
I know the spirit dieth not;
The ocean sleeps, the storm shall come,
When I perchance shall be forgot;
Enough for me If freedom's eyes
Shall glisten where my ashes lie,
And freedom's tardy hand confer
A wreath on him who died for her.