Personal Responsibilities

Nay, not 'mechanical' my Lord—
      A personal and private glow
Pervades us when our humble hoard
      Is 'cut' by twenty dibs  or so.
Least of your  subjects, store immense I 
Set monthly by Your Excellency.

For when I pay my little dues,
      I wonder where the money goes;
And read the papers for the news,
      Or write to ventilate my woes. 
Because I sink my money in
The firm of  'Queen and Dufferin'.

Oft in some ultra loyal mood
      I tender newly coined rupees; 
In case His Excellency should
      Befoul his gloves with dirt and grease.
By arts like these, I strive to win 
The friendship of Lord Dufferin.

But, when the red chaprassi  brings—
      Magnificent in marge and line
A letter, hinting awful things,
      From some respected friend of mine,
Because my tax is overdue,
Then much, my Lord, I mourn for you.

My friend is kindest of the kind,
      I meet him oft—I know him well—
It ne'er would cross his courteous mind 
      To threaten me with dungeon cell.
Who drove him, therefore, into sin?
He answers sadly:—'Dufferin'.

And when some 'unearned increment' 
      Is added to my modest stipend—
Like Achan  in the fateful tent
      So I—a neatly-worded lie penned—
Secrete my gold untaxed, and smile
With glee ungodly at my guile.

Now,  I was nurtured in a creed
      That hates a lie and scorns a theft;
Who makes me traitor to my breed,
      Of truth and honour both bereft?
Who vulcanized my moral skin?—
 My business partner—Dufferin.

And when I pay that tax no more,
      And pass beyond the fires they kindle,
St Peter at the half-shut door
      Will tax me with my latest swindle. 
But I shall answer:—'Let me in! 
Refer the debt to Dufferin.'

And thus the Silver Chain hooks on 
      Our destinies diverse in tether;
And  Frederick Temple  Hamilton,
      And  You  and I, and they together,
Are linked in ties, occult, unreckoned, 
Of last year's Act, surnamed the Second.

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