A Ballade of
Bad Entertainment






A WANDERER from East to West,
From Mandalay to Matheran,
By itch of loaferdom possess,
I scour the plains of Hindustan.
Dismissed the fragrant, gariwân, (1)
I clamour at each hostelry :
What, ho ! within there, be imán ! (2)
Khodawund, siruf murghi hai ! (3)

The days repeat the sorry jest
The dusty drive, the dreary barn.
All things await the Sahib's behest,
Borne through his slave Muhammed Jan.
And after ? Hear the wild tufan' (4)
Among the cockerels as they fly
What comes of that false feigned élan
Khodawund, siruf murghi hai !'

Though in ten thousand fashions messed
They bear the Janwar ki nishan, (5)
The bold black legs, the bony crest,
The flesh more tough than sailors' yarn.
Oh land of uttr and of pan,
For this poor corpse thy children cry,
Loud as the mullah shouts azán, (6)
Khodawund, siruf murghi hai I'


L'ENVOI

Prince ! (Here the wearied bard will rest `
From long I a' rhymes.) If Famine fan
The flames of Fury in your breast,
And grievously you smite your man,
For his one answer, this I can
Add to your comfort : An he die,
You shall be told by all his clan :
Khodawund, siruf murghia hai ! (7)





(1)Driver
(2)Man without faith
(3)'Heaven-born, there is only fowl.'
(4)Uproar
(5)Mark of the Beast
(6)The call to prayer
(7)'Heaven-born, he is only dead.