Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Asia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII.  1876–79.
 
India: Mooltan
Mooltan
Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–1886)
 
          “A company of Moolraj’s Muzubees, or outcasts turned Sikhs, led on the mob. It was an appalling sight; and Sirdar Khan Sing begged of Mr. Agnew to be allowed to wave a sheet and sue for mercy. Weak in body from loss of blood, Agnew’s heart failed him not. He replied: ‘The time for mercy is gone; let none be asked for. They can kill us two if they like, but we are not the last of the English: thousands of Englishmen will come down here when we are gone, and annihilate Moolraj, and his soldiers, and his fort!’ The crowd now rushed in with horrible shouts; made Khan Sing prisoner, and, pushing aside the servants with the butts of their muskets, surrounded the two wounded officers. Lieutenant Anderson, from the first, had been too much wounded even to move; and now Mr. Agnew was sitting by his bedside, holding his hand, and talking in English. Doubtless, they were bidding each other farewell for all time…. Anderson was hacked to death with swords, and afterward the two bodies were dragged outside, and slashed and insulted by the crowd; then left all night under the sky.”—Major Edwardes’s Year on the Punjaub Frontier, Vol. II. p. 58.

BEAR them gently, bear them duly up the broad and sloping breach
Of this torn and shattered city, till their resting-place they reach.
 
In the costly cashmeres folded, on the stronghold’s topmost crown,
In the place of foremost honor, lay these noble relics down.
 
Here repose, for this is meetest, ye who here breathed out your life—        5
Ah! in no triumphant battle, but beneath the assassin’s knife.
 
Hither bearing England’s message, bringing England’s just command,
Under England’s ægis, came ye to the chieftain of the land:
 
In these streets beset and wounded, hardly borne with life away—
Faint and bleeding and forsaken, in your helplessness ye lay.        10
 
But the wolves that once have tasted blood will raven still for more;
From the infuriate city rises high the wild and savage roar.
 
Near and nearer grows the tumult of the gathering, murderous crew;
Tremble round those helpless couches an unarmed but faithful few:
 
“Profitless is all resistance; let us, then, this white flag wave;        15
Ere it be too late, disdain not mercy at their hands to crave.”
 
But to no unworthy pleading would descend that noble twain:—
“Nay, for mercy sue not; ask not what to ask from these were vain.
 
“We are two, betrayed and lonely; human help or hope is none;
Yet, O friends, be sure that England owns beside us many a son.        20
 
“They may slay us: in our places multitudes will here be found,
Strong to hurl this guilty city with its murderers to the ground!
 
“Yea, who stone by stone would tear it from its deep foundations strong,
Rather than to leave unpunished them that wrought this bloody wrong.”
 
Other words they changed between them, which none else could understand—        25
Accents of our native English, brothers grasping hand in hand.
 
So they died, the gallant-hearted! so from earth their spirits past
Uttering words of lofty comfort each to each unto the last:
 
And we heed, but little heeded their true spirits far away,
All of wrong and coward outrage, heaped on the unfeeling clay!        30
 
—Lo! a few short moons have vanished, and the promised ones appear;
England’s pledged and promised thousands, England’s multitudes are here.
 
Flame around the blood-stained ramparts swiftest messengers of death,
Girdling with a fiery girdle, blasting with a fiery breath!
 
Ceasing not, till, choked with corpses, low is laid the murderers’ hold,        35
And in his last lair the tiger toils of righteous wrath enfold.
 
Well, O, well!—ye have not failed them who on England’s truth relied—
Who on England’s name and honor did in that dread hour confide:
 
Now one last dear duty render to the faithful and the brave,
What they left of earth behind them rescuing for a worthier grave.        40
 
O, then, bear them, hosts of England, up the broad and sloping breach
Of this torn and shattered city, till their resting-place they reach.
 
In the costly cashmeres folded, on the rampart’s topmost crown,
In the place of foremost honor, lay these noble relics down.
 
 
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