Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
Studies at Delhi
By Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall (1835–1911)
 
I.  The Hindu Ascetic
HERE as I sit by the Jumna bank,
  Watching the flow of the sacred stream,
Pass me the legions, rank on rank,
  And the cannon roar, and the bayonets gleam.
 
Is it a god or a king that comes?        5
  Both are evil, and both are strong;
With women and worshipping, dancing and drums,
  Carry your gods and your kings along.
 
Fanciful shapes of a plastic earth,
  These are the visions that weary the eye;        10
These I may ’scape by a luckier birth,
  Musing, and fasting, and hoping to die.
 
When shall these phantoms flicker away
  Like the smoke of the guns on the wind-swept hill,
Like the sounds and colours of yesterday:        15
  And the soul have rest, and the air be still?
 
II.  Badminton
Hardly a shot from the gate we storm’d,
  Under the Moree battlement’s shade;
Close to the glacis our game was form’d,
  There had the fight been, and there we play’d.        20
 
Lightly the demoiselles titter’d and leapt,
  Merrily caper’d the players all;
North, was the garden where Nicholson slept,
  South, was the sweep of a batter’d wall.
 
Near me a Musalmán, civil and mild,        25
  Watch’d as the shuttlecocks rose and fell;
And he said, as he counted his beads and smiled,
  ‘God smite their souls to the depths of hell.’
 
 
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