A Vision of India


Mother India, wan and thin,
  Here is forage come your way;
Take the young Civilian  in,
  Kill him swiftly as you may. 

Smite him with the deadly breath 
  From your crowded cities sped; 
Still the heart that beats beneath 
  That girl's picture o'er his bed. 

Brains that thought and lips that kissed,
  Mouldering under alien clay,
Stir a stagnant Civil List, 
  Help us on our upward way.

(Ice the amber whisky-peg! 
  Every man that yields to thee
Gives his juniors each a leg
  Shakes the sere Pagoda-tree.)

Well indeed we know your power, 
  Goddess of our deep devotion,
Who can grant us in an hour 
  Steps of rapidest promotion.

Lurking in our daily grub,
  Where the untinned degochies lie; 
  Smiting gaily at the Club,
O'er the card-room's revelry.

Chaperon to many a maid, 
  Calling, when the music dies,
To a stiller, deeper shade 
  Than the dim-lit balconies.

(Fill the long-necked glass with whisky! 
  Every man that owns thy sway
Leaves a widow, mostly frisky, 
  Makes the gossip of a day.)

Brown and Jones and Smith shall die; 
  We succeed to all their places,
Bear the badge of slavery, 
  Sunken eyes and pallid faces.

Laughter that is worse than tears 
  Is our portion in the land,
And the tombstones of our peers 
  Make the steps whereon we stand.