Poets of John Company/The Successful Competitor—1873

The Successful Competitor—1873.

Oh palmy days of old! Oh glorious past!
Long years have circled since I sang thee last;
Long years of exile on an alien soil,
Where weeks of fever temper months of toil;
And still I mourn the land, to woes a prey,
Where tape accumulates, and men decay.

I mourn the rule the Magistrate of yore,
A fostering despot o'er his people bore;
He reigned supreme within his little State,
His smile shed honour, and his frown was fate.
Prompt with the rifle, niggard of the pen,
By manly deeds he won the hearts of men;
His watchful eye each rival chieftain viewed,
And oftener calmed than curbed the rising feud.
He knew the intense devotion that reveres
Each usage hallowed by a thousand years;

Nor sought to substitute with ruthless hand
The alien systems of a distant land.
Friend of the people, in their midst he moved,
To all familiar and by all beloved;
And those who gathered prattling where he came,
Grey-headed now, still gossip of his name.

*****

For the good Magistrate, our Rulers say,
Decides all night, investigates all day;
The crack Collector, man of equal might,
Reports all day, and corresponds all night.
Oh, could I raise my fascinated eyes
From Salt, Stamps, Cesses, Income-Tax, Excise,
Or quit the bench, and loose my courser's rein,
To scour observant o'er the teeming plain.
Could I, with Janus, boast a double face
Incongruous scenes alternately to grace,
To twin tribunals twin delights afford,
Please the High Court, and gratify the Board—
Then all were well; and I might touch the goal,
A square, round, man within a round, square, hole.