Lord Ripon's Reverie






I shall leave it in a little—leave it ere my term has run.
Of the millions that I govern, who will wish me back? Not one.
Curse the land and all within it. As of old, the papers scoff—
Dreary columns of invective, read by stealth at Peterhoff.
Peterhoff, that through the pine-trees overlooks the Simla hills,
And the City of Calcutta where they rave against my Bills.
There I sketched my swart Utopia, nourishing the Babu's pride
On the fairy tales of Justice—with a leaning to his side.
Many a morn at Chota Hazri have I read Britannicus
In the merry, merry spring-time when we'd Ilbert's child at 'nuss'.
There, at more than one tamasha, have I heard the rowdies hiss,
And the whisper filled my pulses with a more than mule-like vis.
So I pushed my measures forward, moulding words and facts like clay,
And I think I raised a dust storm in my 'cycle of Cathay'.
Praise be blessed! I 'cut my lucky'—too delighted to resign
All the God-forsaken sub chiz to a clearer head than mine.
As the Country, so the Satrap. I was set to rule a land
Where the dullness of its people stayed my philanthropic hand.
And I held them, when they halted, 'spite of legislative prog,
Something slower than a snail, a trifle denser than a log.
So you've got it now, dear Duffy. Don't imagine East is West.
Come and rule it ('tis your duty); try to kick it from its rest.
It will answer:—'Sahib jo hookum', and when pressed to clean its drains:-
'We don't want to play at mehters. Give us crops and steady rains .'
(For my 'Loki Sluff's a failure, and I'll whisper, entre nous,
There's a limp, unhappy Rent Bill that you've got to carry through.)
Yes! I see you old and soured (as you will be in a year),
Playing skittles, just as I did, with the rights men hold most dear.
As for me. Well—read the Mirror. Chatterjee becomes my foe.
I am but a simple Viceroy. Where is it that I shall go?
Where there dwells no Secretariat—-nor the myriad caller flocks—
Never comes the red chaprassee with the clinking office box.
Stay! I have it! O'er the ocean, man and climate both are kind.
I will fly to Studley Royal—that shall soothe my wearied mind .
Clad in tweed of heather-mixture will I turn to rod and gun—
Catch the salmon with the gaff, and 'pot' the rabbits as they run.
I would wish you joy, dear Duffy, you've your work cut out, I know .
But the special train is waiting at Umballa, and I go.