If it were mine to choose A single gift from Fate, I would not ask for Rank or Fame, I would not seek a knighted name— Give me, for office use, One good subordinate. Up the steep Official Stair With rapidity amazing Clomb, his seniors bedazing, Into Heights of Glory blazing, With the Stars that mortals wear On their dress-coat breasts at Levees, Hastings Clive Macaulay Bevys. And they stood below and cursed— All the juniors of his calling— With a fluency appalling, Betting on his chance of falling; Prayed to see the bubble burst Of the reputation first-class Of this Idler of the worst class. In his office, scorned of all, Saddle-hued, grotesque of feature, Worked a weird, bi-racial creature, Far too humble-souled to meet your Eye—Concepcion Gabral; Santu Ribiera Paul Luz Concepcion Gabral. [What he did I cannot say. Did he give or take instruction, Break the eggs for Bevys' suction, Work that highly paid deduction Which—while sparing Bevys' pay— Cut in graduated stages Everybody's else's wages?] This I know, and this is all: For his labours unremitting Came a recompense befitting Bevys, plus a well-paid flitting Into Burmahorbengal; But Concepcion, the able, Stirred not from the office-table. This I know, and this is all: There were hints unfit for hinting, There was speech unfit for printing, There were protests without stinting, Heard in Burmahorbengal— Crudely, nudely, rudely, rawly, Saying, `Take back this Macaulay'. In the brutal, bitter wit Much affected east of Suez, Where the Englishman so few is, And a man must work or rue his Incapacity and quit, Fell innumerable bastings Upon Clive Macaulay Hastings. With the Hand of Common Sense On the Waistband of Despair, they Raised that ruler high in air, they Stripped him miserably bare, they On the soft flesh of Pretence In the face of India, smacked him, Then, as shop-boys say, they `sacked' him. You may find him still to-day 'Twixt Peshawur and Colaba, Derelict without a harbour, A civilian Micawber (Spare the rhyme who read the lay!) In `officiating' fetters, Doing duty for his betters. And—oh, irony supreme! All the Gods who rule the Nation Have withheld the explanation Of his open degradation From the man they justly deem An administrative novice Trusting blindly to his office. This I know, and this is all (He is ignorant as ever) And if Fate decrees he never Meet again the humble, clever, Quick-to-grasp-ideas Gabral, Sure am I his end, alas! Will be madness or—Madras.'