THIS is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the
Away from books, away from art, the day
erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing,
pondering the themes thou
Night, sleep, death and the stars.
THIS is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the
Away from books, away from art, the day
erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing,
pondering the themes thou
Night, sleep, death and the stars.
पूर्नेको जूनलाई किन पर्खेको ?
भेट्ने उनैलाई हो क्यारे,
तिमी उनैलाई उनकै प्रकाशमा देख,
तिमी उनलाई आजै यो औंसीको रातमा भेट ।
आउने त्यो वसन्तलाई किन कुरेको ?
तिमीले खोजेको फुल हो र ?
उनकै सुवासमा तिमी सास फेर,
तिमी उनलाई आजै यो आएको पुसमै भेट ।
तिमी उनलाई आजै यो औँसीको रातमै भेट ।
भेटमा ओझाले साइत गाओस् भन्ने छ ?
के उनको बोली सुरिलो छैन ?
उनको बोलीको लयमा तिमी खालि मुन्टो हल्लाउँदै—
ताल मात्रै दिन सक,
तिमी उनलाई अहिले नै बिनाबाजा नै भेट ।
तिमी उनलाई आजै यो औँसीको रातमै भेट ।
तिमीले कल्पनामै कैयौंचोटि उनलाई
इन्द्रधनुजस्तो चुनरीको घुम्टो ओढाइदिसकयौ,
मजुरको घाँटी–रङ्गको साटनको चोली लगाइदिसक्यौ,
त्यसैले भेटमा त्यस्तो घुम्टो र चोलो
लैजाने सुर होला,
तर तिमी उनी जस्ती छन् उस्तै नै भेट,
बजार जान बेर नगर ।
उनको लाज नै उनको घुम्टो होस्,
तिम्रो अङ्गालोले उनलाई छोपोस्;
साटनजस्तो उनको छाला हेर,
उनी जस्ती छन् उस्तै नै भेट ।
तिमी उनलाई आजै यो औँसीको रातमा भेट ।
केही आहझैं केही चाहझैँ
सौरभ छरी वरिपरि
तिमी प्रतीक्षामा झैं कसको
भन न भन कली !
जब भिखारीको हातसरि
फुक्नेछ तिम्रो सुन्दर तन
के ठानी के दिऊँ तिमीलाई
भन न भन कली !
समीप छ हेर्छु देख्छु
तिमी फुले झरेमा
रोए हाँसेझैं गर्छु
तर यै हाँसो यै आँसु
यै समीपताको जीवन–जलमा
तिमीले प्रतिबिम्बित पायौ आफूलाई
भन न भन कली !
सन्देह चियाउँछ जब यो विश्वबीचमा
तिमी दूर हुन्छ्यौ ताराझैं;
दूर हुनाले चाह गरेको
त्यै तारासित तर फिराद यही छ—
किन त्यो मेरो कलीझैं
रोइने हाँसिने भएन
समीप भएन ?
भन न भन कली !
क्षणभरको छोटो जीवन
वसन्त लाख फुलाउँछ !
शिशिर लाख सुकाउँछ !
अनादि भूत अनन्त भविष्यको
कस्तो यो जीवन–काल कली ?
भन न भन कली !
म मानिस आफ्नो खुशीले जन्मेको होइन,
आफ्नो खुशीले मर्ने पनि होइन ।
यो ज्ञान कसलाई भएको हो साथी ?
यो संसार सपना हो,
जीवन पानीको फोका हो,
यहाँ कोही पनि आफ्ना छैनन्,
जो छन् तिमीजस्तै नै जन्मेका हुन् ।
तिमीजस्तै नै मर्ने हुन् ।
यो वैराग कसलाई भएको हो साथी ?
म सर्वसम्पन्न अर्थात् ईश्वर हुँ,
म भोगी हुँ,
म सिद्ध हुँ,
मजत्तिको अरु कोही छैन,
म मोज गर्छु ।
यस्तो मोहजाल, यस्तो प्रकारको अज्ञान
कसलाइृ भउको हो साथी ?
म मानिस न त आफ्नो खुशीले जन्मेको हुँ,
म आफ्नो खुशीले मर्ने हुं ।
यस्तो मोहजाल, यस्तो प्रकारको अज्ञान
कसलाई भएको हो साथी ?
कामी क्रोधीहरु आफ्नो मनोकामना
पूर्ण गनका लागि अन्यायपूर्वक
धन जम्मा गर्ने चेष्टा गर्छन्,
काम, क्रोध र लोभ यी तीन तमेद्वार हुन्,
यो होश कसलाई भएको हो साथी ?
म त न आफ्नो खुशीले आँखा खोल्ने हुँ,
न आफ्नो खुशीले आँखा चिम्लने हुँ, साथी !
यो होश कसलाई भएको हो साथी ?
रातो र चन्द्रसुर्जे, जङ्गी निसान हाम्रो।
जिउँदो रगतसरि यो, बल्दो यो सान हाम्रो।।
हिमालझैं अटल यो, झुकेन यो कहिल्यै।
लत्रेन यो कहिल्यै, जङ्गी निसान हाम्रो।।
यो जन्मँदै जगत्मा कैयौं प्रहार आए।
साम्राज्य दुई हारे, हारेन सान हाम्रो।।
जबसम्म चन्द्रसुर्जे आकाशमा रहन्छन्।
तबसम्म हुन्छ आफ्नै रातो रगत यो हाम्रो।।
गाईसरि छन् साधु जोजो यहाँ जगत्मा।
सबको सरन बलियो, जङ्गी निसान हाम्रो।।
A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
is any more than he.
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
green stuff woven.
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we
may see and remark, and say Whose?
Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe
of the vegetation.
Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the
same, I receive them the same.
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.
Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them;
It may be you are from old people and from women, and
from offspring taken soon out of their mother’s laps,
And here you are the mother’s laps.
This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.
O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues!
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths
I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring
taken soon out of their laps.
What do you think has become of the young and old men?
What do you think has become of the women and
They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprouts show there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait
at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.
All goes onward and outward. . . .and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and
TO get betimes in Boston town, I rose this morning early;
Here’s a good place at the corner–I must stand and see the show.
Clear the way there, Jonathan!
Way for the President’s marshal! Way for the government cannon!
Way for the Federal foot and dragoons–and the apparitions copiously
I love to look on the stars and stripes–I hope the fifes will play
How bright shine the cutlasses of the foremost troops!
Every man holds his revolver, marching stiff through Boston town.
A fog follows–antiques of the same come limping,
Some appear wooden-legged, and some appear bandaged and bloodless. 10
Why this is indeed a show! It has called the dead out of the earth!
The old grave-yards of the hills have hurried to see!
Phantoms! phantoms countless by flank and rear!
Cock’d hats of mothy mould! crutches made of mist!
Arms in slings! old men leaning on young men’s shoulders!
What troubles you, Yankee phantoms? What is all this chattering of
Does the ague convulse your limbs? Do you mistake your crutches for
fire-locks, and level them?
If you blind your eyes with tears, you will not see the President’s
If you groan such groans, you might balk the government cannon.
For shame, old maniacs! Bring down those toss’d arms, and let your
white hair be; 20
Here gape your great grand-sons–their wives gaze at them from the
See how well dress’d–see how orderly they conduct themselves.
Worse and worse! Can’t you stand it? Are you retreating?
Is this hour with the living too dead for you?
Retreat then! Pell-mell!
To your graves! Back! back to the hills, old limpers!
I do not think you belong here, anyhow.
But there is one thing that belongs here–shall I tell you what it
is, gentlemen of Boston?
I will whisper it to the Mayor–he shall send a committee to England;
They shall get a grant from the Parliament, go with a cart to the
royal vault–haste! 30
Dig out King George’s coffin, unwrap him quick from the grave-
clothes, box up his bones for a journey;
Find a swift Yankee clipper–here is freight for you, black-bellied
Up with your anchor! shake out your sails! steer straight toward
Now call for the President’s marshal again, bring out the government
Fetch home the roarers from Congress, make another procession, guard
it with foot and dragoons.
This centre-piece for them:
Look! all orderly citizens–look from the windows, women!
The committee open the box, set up the regal ribs, glue those that
will not stay,
Clap the skull on top of the ribs, and clap a crown on top of the
You have got your revenge, old buster! The crown is come to its own,
and more than its own.
Stick your hands in your pockets, Jonathan–you are a made man from
this day; 40
You are mighty cute–and here is one of your bargains.
ARM’D year! year of the struggle! No dainty rhymes or sentimental love verses for you, terrible year!
Not you as some pale poetling, seated at a desk, lisping cadenzas
But as a strong man, erect, clothed in blue clothes, advancing,
carrying a rifle on your shoulder,
With well-gristled body and sunburnt face and hands–with a knife in
the belt at your side,
As I heard you shouting loud–your sonorous voice ringing across the
Your masculine voice, O year, as rising amid the great cities,
Amid the men of Manhattan I saw you, as one of the workmen, the
dwellers in Manhattan;
Or with large steps crossing the prairies out of Illinois and
Rapidly crossing the West with springy gait, and descending the
Or down from the great lakes, or in Pennsylvania, or on deck along
the Ohio river;
Or southward along the Tennessee or Cumberland rivers, or at
Chattanooga on the mountain top,
Saw I your gait and saw I your sinewy limbs, clothed in blue, bearing
weapons, robust year;
Heard your determin’d voice, launch’d forth again and again;
Year that suddenly sang by the mouths of the round-lipp’d cannon,
I repeat you, hurrying, crashing, sad, distracted year.
Siddhartha is extremely proud of his ability to think, fast, and wait. These qualities also allow him to get a job with Kamaswami as a merchant. These are basically Siddhartha’s life achievements. Being able to do these
things shows he is intelligent and more than able to do most tasks. This is probably why he flaunts it, and is proud of these abilities so much. In this essay I will discuss each of these abilities individually, and show how they apply to his life, what they do to teach him, or show him, and also show how they help him or hinder him in various situations.
The ability to think obviously is something to be proud of. When a man can think on any topic, give feedback, and reflect on it, they are considered very valuable in any situation or job. When Kamaswami first meets
Siddhartha, he is instantly impressed with his ability to read and write. We see how this ability to think can gain a man instant respect. All Siddhartha’s life he has been reading, writing, meditating, and studying. It
is quite evident tat if you or I worked that hard, we would feel the same achievement he has, and try to apply our abilities to anything we do. Aside from thinking though, Kamaswami is also very impressed with waiting as we see when he says, “Writing is good, thinking is better. Cleverness is good, patience is better.”
As much as Siddhartha thinks, his ability to wait is something that really defines his character even better. This is also incorporates with fasting, as well as thinking, but by itself waiting is extremely important.
I have found, in all my years, myself to be quite impatient. This will probably harm me later in my life. The ability to wait also spurs the ability to think, and fast. Throughout all his studies, Siddhartha had to
wait out the array of different teachings he went through to know truly in his heart, that they didn’t apply to him. To wait on something shows wisdom, and maturity. These are traits that no good businessman can ignore, as Kamaswami realizes. That is a major reason Siddhartha was hired.
Lastly, fasting is something that once again requires patience, and deep thought. As Siddhartha says “It is of great value, sir. If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do. It, for instance, had not learned to fast, he would have had to seek some type of work today, either with you, or elsewhere, began hunger would have driven him. But as it is, Siddhartha can wait calmly. He is not impatient, he is not in need, he can ward off hunger for a long time, and them laugh at it. Therefore, but fasting it useless sir.” Siddhartha believes in fasting, because it builds character, and lets him flaunt his ability to do certain things even more so.
In conclusion, Siddhartha’s three like achievements demonstrate how really strong his character truly is. All these mean the world to him, because his beliefs don’t really incorporate a family. Although these traits
didn’t score him any points with Kamala, she refused him and off he went. Siddhartha has a very strong independence soul. These traits, thinking, fasting, and waiting all define him as a very intelligent, hard working, and patience young man. The reason is obvious to why he is so prove of his achievements. They are impressive, and something he spent his lifetime working on.
झरेको पात झैँ भयो उजाड मेरो जिन्दगी
निभेको दीप झैँ भयो उदास मेरो जिन्दगी
चुरा फुटेसरी भयो चराहरू उडीगए
चुरा फुटेसरी भयो चराहरू उडीगए
हजार कोपिलाहरू नमुस्कुराउँदै झरे
उठेको बस्ती झैँ भयो प्रवास मेरो जिन्दगी
बिहान जो खुशी थियो जलेर साँझ भैसक्यो
भिजेको पात-पातमा निशादको कथा थियो
अधेँरी रात झैँ भयो विषाद मेरो जिन्दगी
जलिरहेछ लास भित्र-भित्र कहीँ छातीमा
टुटेफुटेका स्वप्न झैँ अँगारमात्र छातीमा
बिजन बदल सरी भयो उराठ मेरो जिन्दगी
A parrot called a bird, a twice-born child,
By Fate into an iron cage beguiled,
I find, O God, nor peace nor quiet rest,
For even in a dream I lie oppressed.
My parents and relations that there are,
Do in a forest corner dwell afar.
To whom shall I my agonies outpour,
From this, my iron cage, lamenting sore?
Sometimes my tears roll down my swelling eyes,
At times I feel a corpse, my spirit flies,
At other times I madden and I jump,
Recalling woodland pleasures with a lump.
A poor and little forest wanderer I,
Fed on wild fruits, delighted who did fly,
Have been by Fate allured into this cage,
Destiny, O, has strange mysterious ways.
How far might I have freely roamed and flown,
Into what different countries soared and gone!
Alas! In vain, why Fate has me beguiled,
Into this dungeon, a forest-wandering child.
Cool waters and cool shades of verdant wood,
Really delicious fruits to pick for food.
Ah! All those things are vanished dreams today,
What now remains? A fear, my mind must sway.
Delightful shades of forests, rich and green,
Affection for the dear ones that have been
Feasting on food and wandering in the wild
Have now become but dreams to this poor child.
My aged ailing parents for me pine,
Tears in their eyes, dejected, dropping brine,
They may be everyday beating their breast,
Our close ties broken, Fate has us oppressed.
I see but enemies all around me lie,
There’s not a thing on which I can rely.
What shall I do? And how effect a flight?
To whom unburden woes in this sad plight?
The bird to whom the open boundless blue
Was field for flights of pleasure to renew
Has now, alas, for his life’s single stay
A narrow cage of iron here today.
Seeking to break this dungeon open here,
Against the bars that check my free career,
The hard-struck beak is blunted, wings and feet
Are cramped. How shall I pass long days? Defeat!
Sometimes the cramping cold, sometimes the heat,
A prattling now, and then a silent seat.
After the varying whims of boys that play,
My fate changes her course perverse today.
When I recall the shows sad Fate displays,
Then like a mad thing do I pass my days,
My tears pour down, then cracks and breaks my breast,
My heart constantly wails by Fate oppressed.
Dark apprehensions in long waves arise,
Shocked and bewildered, I survey the skies.
Without Death’s call the life-breath cannot cease,
Excruciating must I end my lease.
A stinted measure of some third class rice,
That, half a fill, doth Destiny devise.
I cast a thirsty glance upon the pot
Devoid of water, such is my life’s sad lot.
Dry is my throat, my bondage sharp and tight,
A prating still compelled, I hate downright.
Should I refuse to speak, brandishing cane,
They threaten me with thrashing once again.
One says, “Look here! This is an ass’s colt!”
Another says, “He is displeased! Behold!”
A third induces me God to repeat,
Says, “Atmaram! Read on! Be famed! A wit!”
What sort of fellow is this tiny life?
How comes he here? What food and of which type,
Takes he within this cage? There’s none to know.
And so my heart must tingle in my woe.
To be a life subjected to a bond,
And to be forced to callers to respond.
Strange Fate! Thou giv’st me yet such stinted measure
Of sustenance! How hard, they cruel pleasure.
Hard Providence! Thou didst me just provide
With power of speech and reasoning, my pride,
And this has been the parent of my woes—
Scolding and threats, and a confinement close.
Man must indulge in strange and merry sport,
Anguishing me, a cage for my resort.
How sinful is this human course, this crime,
Help me escape, O Pitying God sublime!
The human race hostile to virtues fair,
Exploits the worthy till the breast dries sheer.
Till winged breath be taken not away,
How should it be content or kind today!
So long as on this wide terrestrial plain
A single human being shall remain,
O Lord! Let not a parrot’s life be given,
Suddenly comes a sense to me, O Heaven !
Lekhnath Paudyal’s poem translated by L.P. Devkota.
हरायो पानीको वर्षा
भवानीको भयो पूजा
चल्यो आनन्दको वर्षा
जता जाउ उतै भन्छन्
दशैं आयो दशैं आयो
यही आनन्द चर्चाले
सबै संकष्ट बिर्सायो
ठूला साना सबैलाई
दशैं अत्यन्त राम्रो छ
चलेका चाडमा ज्यादै
यही उत्कृष्ट हाम्रो छ
सबै अत्यन्त आनन्दी
सबै छन् पिङमा दंग
सबैको देखिंदै आयो
उज्यालो चेहरा रंग !
इन्द्रै बिन्ति गरुन् झुकेर पदमा त्यो बिन्ति मान्दैन त्यो,
थुप्रोमा उधिनी मिठो र नमिठो रोजेर छान्दैन त्यो,
खाता जाँची सबै दुरुस्त नबुझी बिर्सेर हान्दैन त्यो ।१।
राजा रङ्क सबै समान उसका वैषम्य गर्दैन त्यो,
आयो टप्प टिप्यो, लग्यो, मिति पुग्यो टारेर र्टर्दैन त्यो,
लाखौँ औषध अस्त्रशस्त्र महिमा देखेर र्डर्दैन त्यो,
व्याधातुल्य लुकेर चल्दछ सदा मारेर मर्दैन त्यो ।२।
आँसुका दहमा नुहाउँछ चिसो पानी रुचाउन्न त्यो,
सुख्खा जर्जर अस्थिपञ्जर विना शैया बनाउन्न त्यो,
मैलो भष्मसिवाय अङ्गभरमा केही लगाउन्न त्यो,
हाहाकार सरी मिठो अरु कुनै संङ्गीत गाउन्न त्यो ।३।
जोजो मिल्छ सुलुक्क निल्छ मुखमा हाली चपाउन्न त्यो
थाल्यो च्वाम्म सबै चपाउन भने आहार पाउन्न त्यो,
जत्ती मिल्छ उती उकेल्दछ पनि केही पचाउन्न त्यो,
यै चालासित कल्पकल्प कहिल्यै खाई अघाउन्न त्यो ।४।
Mother-in-law shrills at me,
her daughter sneers,
the prince stumbles about in a permanent fury.
Now they’ve bolted my door
and mounted a guard.
But who could abandon a love
developed through uncounted lifetimes?
The Dark One is Mirabai’s lord,
who else could
slake her desire?
Concupiscence, anger, pride, greed, attachment: wash these out of your consciousness.
Mira’s Lord is the Mountain-Holder, the suave lover. Soak yourself in the dye of His colour.
My strength, my crown,
I am empty of virtues,
You, the ocean of them.
My heart’s music, you help me
In my world-crossing.
You protected the king of the elephants.
You dissolve the fear of the terrified.
Where can I go? Save my honour
For I have dedicated myself to you
And now there is no one else for me.
from distant lifetimes is ancient,
do not revile it.
Seeing your elegant body
I am ravished.
Visit our courtyard, hear the women
singing old hymns
On the square I’ve laid
out a welcome of teardrops,
body and mind I surrendered ages ago,
wherever your feet pass.
Mira flees from lifetime to lifetime,
I have spread a bedmade of
delicately selected buds and blossoms,
And have arrayed myself in bridal garb
From head to toe.
I have been Thy slave during many births,
Thou art the be-all of my existence.
Mira’s Lord is Hari, the Indestructible.
Come, grant me Thy sight at once.
For emulation can with it compare?
When to Westminster the Royal Spinster,
And the Duke of Leinster, all in order did repair!
‘Twas there you’d see the New Polishemen
Making a skrimmage at half after four,
And the Lords and Ladies, and the Miss O’Gradys,
All standing round before the Abbey door.
Their pillows scorning, that self-same morning
Themselves adorning, all by the candle light,
With roses and lilies, and daffy-down-dillies,
And gould, and jewels, and rich di’monds bright.
And then approaches five hundred coaches,
With Giniral Dullbeak.– Och! ’twas mighty fine
To see how asy bould Corporal Casey,
With his swoord drawn, prancing, made them kape the line.
Then the Guns’ alarums, and the King of Arums,
All in his Garters and his Clarence shoes,
Opening the massy doors to the bould Ambassydors,
The Prince of Potboys, and great haythen Jews;
‘Twould have made you crazy to see Esterhazy
All jew’ls from jasey to his di’mond boots,
With Alderman Harmer, and that swate charmer,
The famale heiress, Miss Anjâ-ly Coutts.
And Wellington walking with his swoord drawn, talking
To Hill and Hardinge, haroes of great fame;
And Sir De Lacy, and the Duke Dalmasey,
(They call’d him Sowlt afore he changed his name,)
Themselves presading Lord Melbourne, lading
The Queen, the darling, to her Royal chair,
And that fine ould fellow, the Duke of Pell-Mello,
The Queen of Portingal’s Chargy-de-fair.
Then the Noble Prussians, likewise the Russians,
In fine laced jackets with their goulden cuffs,
And the Bavarians, and the proud Hungarians,
And Everythingarians all in furs and muffs.
Then Misthur Spaker, with Misthur Pays the Quaker,
All in the Gallery you might persave,
But Lord Brougham was missing, and gone a fishing,
Ounly crass Lord Essex would not give him lave.
There was Baron Alten himself exalting,
And Prince Von Swartzenburg, and many more,
Och! I’d be bother’d, and entirely smother’d
To tell the half of ’em was to the fore;
With the swate Peeresses, in their crowns and dresses,
And Aldermanesses, and the Boord of Works;
But Mehemet Ali said, quite gintaly,
‘I’d be proud to see the likes among the Turks!’
Then the Queen, Heaven bless her! och! they did dress her
In her purple garaments, and her goulden Crown;
Like Venus or Hebe, or the Queen of Sheby,
With eight young Ladies houlding up her gown.
Sure ’twas grand to see her, also for to he-ar
The big drums bating, and the trumpets blow,
And Sir George Smart! Oh! he play’d a Consarto,
With his four-and-twenty fidlers all on a row!
Then the Lord Archbishop held a goulden dish up,
For to resave her bounty and great wealth,
Saying ‘Plase your Glory, great Queen Vict-ory!
Ye’ll give the Clargy lave to dhrink your health!’
Then his Riverence, retrating, discoorsed the mating,
‘Boys! Here’s your Queen! deny it if you can!
And if any bould traitour, or infarior craythur,
Sneezes at that, I’d like to see the man!’
Then the Nobles kneeling to the Pow’rs appealing,
‘Heaven send your Majesty a glorious reign!’
And Sir Claudius Hunter he did confront her,
All in his scarlet gown and goulden chain.
The great Lord May’r, too, sat in his chair too,
But mighty sarious, looking fit to cry,
For the Earl of Surrey, all in his hurry
Throwing the thirteens, hit him in his eye.
Then there was preaching, and good store of speeching,
With Dukes and Marquises on bended knee;
And they did splash her with raal Macasshur,
And the Queen said, ‘Ah! then, thank ye all for me!’–
Then the trumpets braying, and the organ playing,
And sweet trombones with their silver tones,
But Lord Rolle was rolling;–‘ twas mighty consoling
To think his Lordship did not break his bones.
Then the crames and the custards, and the beef and mustard,
All on the tombstones like a poultherer’s shop,
With lobsters and white-bait, and other swate-meats,
And wine, and nagus, and Imparial Pop!
There was cakes and apples in all the Chapels,
With fine polonies, and rich mellow pears,
Och! the Count Von Strogonoff, sure he got prog enough,
The sly ould Divil, underneath the stairs.
Then the cannons thunder’d, and the people wonder’d,
Crying, ‘God save Victoria, our Royal Queen!’
Och! if myself should live to be a hundred,
Sure it’s the proudest day that I’ll have seen!
And now I’ve ended, what I pretended,
This narration splendid in swate poe-thry,
Ye dear bewitcher, just hand the pitcher,
Faith, it’s meself that’s getting mighty dhry
At the midnight hour,
Beneath the Gallows Tree,
Hand in hand
The Murderers stand
By one, by two, by three!
And the Moon that night
With a grey, cold light
Each baleful object tips;
One half of her form
Is seen through the storm,
The other half ‘s hid in Eclipse!
And the cold Wind howls,
And the Thunder growls,
And the Lightning is broad and bright;
It ‘s very bad weather,
And an unpleasant sort of a night!
‘Now mount who list,
And close by the wrist
Sever me quickly the Dead Man’s fist!–
Now climb who dare
Where he swings in air,
And pluck me five locks of the Dead Man’s hair!’
There ‘s an old woman dwells upon Tappington Moor,
She hath years on her back at the least fourscore,
And some people fancy a great many more;
Her nose it is hook’d,
Her back it is crook’d,
Her eyes blear and red:
On the top of her head
Is a mutch, and on that
A shocking bad hat,
Extinguisher-shaped, the brim narrow and flat!
Then,– My Gracious!– her beard!– it would sadly perplex
A spectator at first to distinguish her sex;
Nor, I’ll venture to say, without scrutiny could be
Pronounce her, off-handed, a Punch or a Judy.
Did you see her, in short, that mud-hovel within,
With her knees to her nose, and her nose to her chin,
Leering up with that queer, indescribable grin,
You’d lift up your hands in amazement, and cry,
‘– Well!– I never did see such a regular Guy!’
And now before
That old Woman’s door,
Where nought that ‘s good may be,
Hand in hand
The Murderers stand
By one, by two, by three!
Oh! ’tis a horrible sight to view,
In that horrible hovel, that horrible crew,
By the pale blue glare of that flickering flame,
Doing the deed that hath never a name!
‘Tis awful to hear
Those words of fear!
The prayer mutter’d backwards, and said with a sneer!
(Matthew Hopkins himself has assured us that when
A witch says her prayers, she begins with ‘Amen.’) —
–‘ Tis awful to see
On that Old Woman’s knee
The dead, shrivell’d hand, as she clasps it with glee!–
And now, with care,
The five locks of hair
From the skull of the Gentleman dangling up there,
With the grease and the fat
Of a black Tom Cat
She hastens to mix,
And to twist into wicks,
And one on the thumb, and each finger to fix.–
(For another receipt the same charm to prepare,
Consult Mr Ainsworth and Petit Albert.)
‘Now open lock
To the Dead Man’s knock!
Fly bolt, and bar, and band!
— Nor move, nor swerve
Joint, muscle, or nerve,
At the spell of the Dead Man’s hand!
Sleep all who sleep!– Wake all who wake!–
But be as the Dead for the Dead Man’s sake!!’
All is silent! all is still,
Save the ceaseless moan of the bubbling rill
As it wells from the bosom of Tappington Hill.
And in Tappington Hall
Great and Small,
Gentle and Simple, Squire and Groom,
Each one hath sought his separate room,
And sleep her dark mantle hath o’er them cast,
For the midnight hour hath long been past!
All is darksome in earth and sky,
Save, from yon casement, narrow and high,
A quivering beam
On the tiny stream
Plays, like some taper’s fitful gleam
By one that is watching wearily.
Within that casement, narrow and high,
In his secret lair, where none may spy,
Sits one whose brow is wrinkled with care,
And the thin grey locks of his failing hair
Have left his little bald pate all bare;
For his full-bottom’d wig
Hangs, bushy and big,
On the top of his old-fashion’d, high-back’d chair.
Unbraced are his clothes,
Ungarter’d his hose,
His gown is bedizen’d with tulip and rose,
Flowers of remarkable size and hue,
Flowers such as Eden never knew;
— And there, by many a sparkling heap
Of the good red gold,
The tale is told
What powerful spell avails to keep
That careworn man from his needful sleep!
Haply, he deems no eye can see
As he gloats on his treasure greedily,–
The shining store
Of glittering ore,
The fair Rose-Noble, the bright Moidore,
And the broad Double-Joe from beyond the sea,–
But there’s one that watches as well as he;
For, wakeful and sly,
In a closet hard by
On his truckle bed lieth a little Foot-page,
A boy who ‘s uncommonly sharp of his age,
Like young Master Horner,
Who erst in a corner
Sat eating a Christmas pie:
And, while that Old Gentleman’s counting his hoards,
Little Hugh peeps through a crack in the boards!
There ‘s a voice in the air,
There ‘s a step on the stair,
The old man starts in his cane-back’d chair;
At the first faint sound
He gazes around,
And holds up his dip of sixteen to the pound.
Then half arose
From beside his toes
His little pug-dog with his little pug nose,
But, ere he can vent one inquisitive sniff,
That little pug-dog stands stark and stiff,
For low, yet clear,
Now fall on the ear,
— Where once pronounced for ever they dwell,–
The unholy words of the Dead Man’s spell!
To the Dead Man’s knock!
Fly bolt, and bar, and band!–
Nor move, nor swerve,
Joint, muscle, or nerve,
At the spell of the Dead Man’s hand!
Sleep all who sleep!– Wake all who wake!–
But be as the Dead for the Dead Man’s sake!’Now lock, nor bolt, nor bar avails,
Nor stout oak panel thick-studded with nails.
Heavy and harsh the hinges creak,
Though they had been oil’d in the course of the week,
The door opens wide as wide may be,
And there they stand,
That murderous band,
Lit by the light of the GLORIOUS HAND,
By one!– by two!– by three!
They have pass’d through the porch, they have pass’d through the hall,
Where the Porter sat snoring against the wall;
The very snore froze,
In his very snub nose,
You’d have verily deem’d he had snored his last
When the Glorious HAND by the side of him pass’d!
E’en the little wee mouse, as it ran o’er the mat
At the top of its speed to escape from the cat,
Though half dead with affright,
Paused in its flight;
And the cat that was chasing that little wee thing
Lay crouch’d as a statue in act to spring!
And now they are there,
On the head of the stair,
And the long crooked whittle is gleaming and bare,
— I really don’t think any money would bribe
Me the horrible scene that ensued to describe,
Or the wild, wild glare
Of that old man’s eye,
His dumb despair,
And deep agony.
The kid from the pen, and the lamb from the fold,
Unmoved may the blade of the butcher behold;
They dream not — ah, happier they!– that the knife,
Though uplifted, can menace their innocent life;
It falls;– the frail thread of their being is riven,
They dread not, suspect not, the blow till ’tis given.–
But, oh! what a thing ’tis to see and to know
That the bare knife is raised in the hand of the foe,
Without hope to repel, or to ward off the blow!–
— Enough!– let ‘s pass over as fast as we can
The fate of that grey, that unhappy old man!
But fancy poor Hugh,
Aghast at the view,
Powerless alike to speak or to do!
In vain doth be try
To open the eye
That is shut, or close that which is clapt to the chink,
Though he’d give all the world to be able to wink!–
No!– for all that this world can give or refuse,
I would not be now in that little boy’s shoes,
Or indeed any garment at all that is Hugh’s!
–‘ Tis lucky for him that the chink in the wall
He has peep’d through so long, is so narrow and small.
Wailing voices, sounds of woe
Such as follow departing friends,
That fatal night round Tappington go,
Its long-drawn roofs and its gable ends:
Ethereal Spirits, gentle and good,
Aye weep and lament o’er a deed of blood.
‘Tis early dawn — the morn is grey,
And the clouds and the tempest have pass’d away,
And all things betoken a very fine day;
But, while the lark her carol is singing,
Shrieks and screams are through Tappington ringing!
Great and small
Each one who ‘s found within Tappington Hall,
Gentle and Simple, Squire or Groom,
All seek at once that old Gentleman’s room;
And there, on the floor,
Drench’d in its gore,
A ghastly corpse lies exposed to the view,
Carotid and jugular both cut through!
And there, by its side,
‘Mid the crimson tide,
Kneels a little Foot-page of tenderest years;
Adown his pale cheek the fast-falling tears
Are coursing each other round and big,
And he ‘s staunching the blood with a full-bottom’d wig!
Alas! and alack for his staunching!–’tis plain,
As anatomists tell us, that never again
Shall life revisit the foully slain,
When once they’ve been cut through the jugular vein.
There’s a hue and a cry through the County of Kent,
And in chase of the cut-throats a Constable’s sent,
But no one can tell the man which way they went:
There’s a little Foot-page with that Constable goes,
And a little pug-dog with a little pug nose.
In Rochester town,
At the sign of the Crown,
Three shabby-genteel men are just sitting down
To a fat stubble-goose, with potatoes done brown;
When a little Foot-page
Rushes in, in a rage,
Upsetting the apple-sauce, onions, and sage.
That little Foot-page takes the first by the throat,
And a little pug-dog takes the next by the coat,
And a Constable seizes the one more remote;
And fair rose-nobles and broad moidores,
The Waiter pulls out of their pockets by scores,
And the Boots and the Chambermaids run in and stare;
And the Constable says, with a dignified air,
‘You’re wanted, Gen’lemen, one and all,
For that ‘ere precious lark at Tappington Hall!’
There ‘a a black gibbet frowns upon Tappington Moor,
Where a former black gibbet has frown’d before:
It is as black as black may be,
And murderers there
Are dangling in air,
By one!– by two!– by three!
There ‘s a horrid old hag in a steeple-crown’d hat,
Round her neck they have tied to a hempen cravat
A Dead Man’s hand, and a dead Tom Cat!
They have tied up her thumbs, they have tied up her toes,
They have tied up her eyes, they have tied up her limbs!
Into Tappington mill-dam souse she goes,
With a whoop and a halloo!–‘She swims!– She swims!’
They have dragg’d her to land,
And every one’s hand
Is grasping a faggot, a billet, or brand,
When a queer-looking horseman, drest all in black,
Snatches up that old harridan just like a sack
To the crupper behind him, puts spurs to his hack,
Makes a dash through the crowd, and is off in a crack!
No one can tell,
Though they guess pretty well,
Which way that grim rider and old woman go,
For all see he ‘s a sort of infernal Ducrow;
And she scream’d so, and cried,
We may fairly decide
That the old woman did not much relish her ride
Poor Tray charmant! Poor Tray de mon Ami!
— Dog-bury, and Vergers.
Oh! where shall I bury my poor dog Tray,
Now his fleeting breath has pass’d away?
Seventeen years, I can venture to say,
Have I seen him gambol, and frolic, and play,
Evermore happy, and frisky, and gay,
As though every one of his months was May,
And the whole of his life one long holiday —
Now he’s a lifeless lump of clay,
Oh! where shall I bury my faithful Tray?
I am almost tempted to think it hard
That it may not be there, in yon sunny churchyard,
Where the green willows wave
O’er the peaceful grave,
Which holds all that once was honest and brave,
Kind, and courteous, and faithful, and true;
Qualities, Tray, that were found in you.
But it may not be — you sacred ground,
By holiest feelings fenced around,
May ne’er within its hallow’d bound
Receive the dust of a soul-less hound.
I would not place him in yonder fane,
Where the mid-day sun through the storied pane
Throws on the pavement a crimson stain;
Where the banners of chivalry heavily swing
O’er the pinnacled tomb of the Warrior King,
With helmet and shield, and all that sort of thing.
No!– come what may,
My gentle Tray
Shan’t be an intruder on bluff Harry Tudor,
Or panoplied monarchs yet earlier and ruder,
Whom you see on their backs,
In stone or in wax,
Though the sacristans now are ‘forbidden to ax’
For what Mister Hume calls ‘a scandalous tax;’
While the Chartists insist they’ve a right to go snacks.
No!– Tray’s humble tomb would look but shabby
‘Mid the sculptured shrines of that gorgeous Abbey.
Besides, in the place
They say there’s not space
To bury what wet-nurses call ‘a Babby.’
Even ‘Rare Ben Jonson,’ that famous wight,
I am told, is interr’d there bolt upright,
In just such a posture, beneath his bust,
As Tray used to sit in to beg for a crust.
The epitaph, too,
Would scarcely do;
For what could it say, but ‘Here lies Tray,
A very good sort of a dog in his day?’
And satirical folks might be apt to imagine it
Meant as a quiz on the House of Plantagenet.
No! no!– The Abbey may do very well
For a feudal ‘Nob’ or poetical ‘Swell,’
‘Crusaders,’ or ‘Poets,’ or ‘Knights of St. John,’
Or Knights of St. John’s Wood, who last year went on
To the Castle of Goode Lorde Eglintonne.
Count Fiddle-fumkin, and Lord Fiddle-faddle,
‘Sir Craven,’ ‘Sir Gael,’ and ‘Sir Campbell of Saddell,’
(Who, as Mr. Hook said, when he heard of the feat,
‘Was somehow knock’d out of his family-seat;’)
The Esquires of the body
To my Lord Tomnoddy;
‘Sir Fairlie,’ ‘Sir Lamb,’
And the ‘Knight of the Ram,’
The ‘Knight of the Rose,’ and the ‘Knight of the Dragon,’
Who, save at the flagon,
And prog in the waggon,
The Newspapers tell us did little ‘to brag on;’
And more, though the Muse knows but little concerning ’em,
‘Sir Hopkins,’ ‘Sir Popkins,’ ‘Sir Gage,’ and ‘Sir Jerningham.’
All Preux Chevaliers, in friendly rivalry
Who should best bring back the glory of Chi-valry.–
(Pray be so good, for the sake of my song,
To pronounce here the ante-penultimate long;
Or some hyper-critic will certainly cry,
‘The word ‘Chivalry’ is but a ‘rhyme to the eye.”
And I own it is clear
A fastidious ear
Will be, more or less, always annoy’d with you when you
Insert any rhyme that’s not perfectly genuine.
As to pleasing the ‘eye,’
‘Tisn’t worth while to try,
Since Moore and Tom Campbell themselves admit ‘spinach’
Is perfectly antiphonetic to ‘Greenwich.)
But stay!– I say!–
Let me pause while I may —
This digression is leading me sadly astray
From my object — A grave for my poor dog Tray!
I would not place him beneath thy walls,
And proud o’ershadowing dome, St. Paul’s!
Though I’ve always consider’d Sir Christopher Wren,
As an architect, one of the greatest of men;
And,– talking of Epitaphs,– much I admire his,
‘Circumspice, si Monumentum requiris;’
Which an erudite Verger translated to me,
‘If you ask for his Monument, Sir-come-spy-see!’
No!– I should not know where
To place him there;
I would not have him by surly Johnson be;–
Or that Queer-looking horse that is rolling on Ponsonby;–
Or those ugly minxes
The sister Sphynxes,
Mix’d creatures, half lady, half lioness, ergo
(Denon says) the emblems of Leo and Virgo;
On one of the backs of which singular jumble,
Sir Ralph Abercrombie is going to tumble,
With a thump which alone were enough to despatch him,
If that Scotchman in front shouldn’t happen to catch him.
No! I’d not have him there, nor nearer the door,
Where the Man and the Angel have got Sir John Moore,
And are quietly letting him down through the floor,
Near Gillespie, the one who escaped, at Vellore,
Alone from the row;–
Neither he, nor Lord Howe
Would like to be plagued with a little Bow-wow.
No, Tray, we must yield,
And go further a-field;
To lay you by Nelson were downright effront’ry;–
We’ll be off from the City, and look at the country.
It shall not be there,
In that sepulchred square,
Where folks are interr’d for the sake of the air,
(Though, pay but the dues, they could hardly refuse
To Tray what they grant to Thuggs and Hindoos,
Turks, Infidels, Heretics, Jumpers, and Jews,)
Where the tombstones are placed
In the very best taste,
At the feet and the head
Of the elegant Dead,
And no one’s received who’s not ‘buried in lead:’
For, there lie the bones of Deputy Jones,
Whom the widow’s tears and the orphan’s groans
Affected as much as they do the stones
His executors laid on the Deputy’s bones;
Little rest, poor knave!
Would he have in his grave;
Since Spirits, ’tis plain,
Are sent back again,
To roam round their bodies,– the bad ones in pain,–
Dragging after them sometimes a heavy jack-chain;
Whenever they met, alarmed by its groans, his
Ghost all night long would be barking at Jones’s.
Nor shall he be laid
By that cross Old Maid,
Miss Penelope Bird, of whom it is said
All the dogs in the Parish were always afraid.
He must not be placed
By one so strait-laced
In her temper, her taste, and her morals, and waist.
For, ’tis said, when she went up to heaven, and St. Peter,
Who happened to meet her,
Came forward to greet her,
She pursed up with scorn every vinegar feature,
And bade him ‘Get out for a horrid Male Creature!’
So, the Saint, after looking as if he could eat her,
Not knowing, perhaps, very well how to treat her,
And not being willing, or able, to beat her,
Sent her back to her grave till her temper grew sweeter,
With an epithet — which I decline to repeat here.
No, if Tray were interr’d
By Penelope Bird,
No dog would be e’er so be-‘whelp”d and be-‘cur’r’d.
All the night long her cantankerous Sprite
Would be running about in the pale moon-light,
Chasing him round, and attempting to lick
The ghost of poor Tray with the ghost of a stick.
Stay!– let me see!–
Ay — here it shall be
At the root of this gnarl’d and time-worn tree,
Where Tray and I
Would often lie,
And watch the light clouds as they floated by
In the broad expanse of the clear blue sky,
When the sun was bidding the world good b’ye;
And the plaintive Nightingale, warbling nigh,
Pour’d forth her mournful melody;
While the tender Wood-pigeon’s cooing cry
Has made me say to myself, with a sigh,
‘How nice you would eat with a steak in a pie!’
Ay, here it shall be!– far, far from the view
Of the noisy world and its maddening crew.
Simple and few,
Tender and true
The lines o’er his grave.– They have, some of them, too,
The advantage of being remarkably new
But have heard of a Jew,
Named Shylock, of Venice, as arrant a ‘screw’
In money transactions as ever you knew;
An exorbitant miser, who never yet lent
A ducat at less than three hundred per cent.,
Insomuch that the veriest spendthrift in Venice,
Who’d take no more care of his pounds than his pennies,
When press’d for a loan, at the very first sight
Of his terms, would back out, and take refuge in Flight.
It is not my purpose to pause and inquire
If he might not, in managing thus to retire,
Jump out of the frying-pan into the fire;
Suffice it, that folks would have nothing to do,
Who could possibly help it, with Shylock the Jew.
But, however discreetly one cuts and contrives,
We’ve been most of us taught in the course of our lives,
That ‘Needs must when the Elderly Gentleman drives!’
In proof of this rule,
A thoughtless young fool,
Bassanio, a Lord of the Tomnoddy school,
Who, by showing at Operas, Balls, Plays, and Court,
A ‘swelling’ (Payne Collier would read ‘swilling’) ‘port,’
And inviting his friends to dine, breakfast, and sup,
Had shrunk his ‘weak means,’ and was ‘stump’d,’ and ‘hard up,’
Took occasion to send
To his very good friend
Antonio, a merchant whose wealth had no end,
And who’d often before had the kindness to lend
Him large sums, on his note, which he’d managed to spend.
‘Antonio,’ said he, ‘Now listen to me;
I’ve just hit on a scheme which, I think you’ll agree,
All matters consider’d, is no bad design,
And which, if it succeeds, will suit your book and mine.
‘In the first place, you know all the money I’ve got,
Time and often, from you has been long gone to pot,
And in making those loans you have made a bad shot;
Now do as the boys do when, shooting at sparrows
And tom-tits, they chance to lose one of their arrows,
— Shoot another the same way — I’ll watch well its track,
And, turtle to tripe, I’ll bring both of them back!
So list to my plan,
And do what you can,
To attend to and second it, that’s a good man!
‘There’s a Lady, young, handsome, beyond all compare, at
A place they call Belmont, whom, when I was there, at
The suppers and parties my friend Lord Mountferrat
Was giving last season, we all used to stare at,
Then, as to her wealth, her solicitor told mine,
Besides vast estates, a pearl fishery, and gold mine,
Her iron strong box
Seems bursting its locks,
It’s stuffed so with shares in ‘Grand Junctions,’ and ‘Docks,’
Not to speak of the money’s she’s got in the stocks,
French, Dutch, and Brazilian, Columbian, and Chilian,
In English Exchequer-bills full half a million,
Not ‘kites,’ manufactured to cheat and inveigle,
But the right sort of ‘flimsy,’ all signed by Monteagle.
Then I know not how much in Canal-shares and Railways
And more speculations I need not detail, ways
Of vesting which, if not so safe as some think’em,
Contribute a deal to improving one’s income;
In short, she’s a Mint!
— Now I say, deuce is in’t
If with all my experience, I can’t take a hint,
And her ‘eye’s speechless messages,’ plainer than print
At the time that I told you of, know from a squint,
In short, my dear Tony,
My trusty old crony,
Do stump up three thousand once more as a loan — I
Am sure of my game — though, of course there are brutes,
Of all sorts and sizes, preferring their suits
To her you may call the Italian Miss Coutts,
Yet Portia — she’s named from that daughter of Cato’s–
Is not to be snapp’d up like little potatoes,
And I have not a doubt I shall rout every lout
Ere you’ll whisper Jack Robinson — cut them all out —
Surmount every barrier, Carry her, marry her!
— Then hey! my old Tony, when once fairly noosed,
For her Three-and-a-half per cents — New and Reduced!’
With a wink of his eye His friend made reply
In his jocular manner, sly, caustic, and dry.
‘Still the same boy, Bassanio — never say ‘die’!
— Well — I hardly know how I shall do’t, but I’ll try.–
Don’t suppose my affairs are at all in a hash,
But the fact is, at present I’m quite out of cash;
The bulk of my property, merged in rich cargoes, is
Tossing about, as you know, in my Argosies,
Tending, of course, my resources to cripple,– I
‘ve one bound to England,– another to Tripoli–
Cyprus — Masulipatam — and Bombay;–
A sixth, by the way, I consigned t’other day
To Sir Gregor M’Gregor, Cacique of Poyais,
A country where silver’s as common as clay.
Meantime, till they tack, And come, some of them, back,
What with Custom-house duties, and bills falling due,
My account with Jones Loyd and Co. looks rather blue;
While, as for the ‘ready,’ I’m like a Church-mouse,–
I really don’t think there’s five pounds in the house.
But, no matter for that,
Let me just get my hat,
And my new silk umbrella that stands on the mat,
And we’ll go forth at once to the market — we two,–
And try what my credit in Venice can do;
I stand well on ‘Change, and, when all’s said and done, I
Don’t doubt I shall get it for love or for money.’
They were going to go,
When, lo! down below,
In the street, they heard somebody crying, ‘Old Clo’!’
–‘By the Pope, there’s the man for our purpose!– I knew
We should not have to search long. Salanio, run you,
— Salarino,– quick!– haste! ere he get out of view,
And call in that scoundrel, old Shylock the Jew!’
With a pack,
Like a sack
Of old clothes at his back,
And three hats on his head, Shylock came in a crack,
Saying, ‘Rest you fair, Signior Antonio!– vat, pray,
Might your vorship be pleashed for to vant in ma vay!’
–‘Why, Shylock, although, As you very well know,
I am what they call ‘warm,’– pay my way as I go,
And, as to myself, neither borrow nor lend,
I can break through a rule to oblige an old friend;
And that’s the case now — Lord Bassanio would raise
Some three thousand ducats — well,– knowing your ways,
And that nought’s to be got from you, say what one will,
Unless you’ve a couple of names to the bill,
Why, for once, I’ll put mine to it,
Yea, seal and sign to it —
Now, then, old Sinner, let’s hear what you’ll say
As to ‘doing’ a bill at three months from to-day?
Three thousand gold ducats, mind — all in good bags
Of hard money — no sealing-wax, slippers, or rags?’
‘– Vell, ma tear,’ says the Jew, ‘I’ll see vat I can do!
But Mishter Antonio, hark you, ’tish funny
You say to me, ‘Shylock, ma tear, ve’d have money!’
Ven you very vell knows, How you shpit on ma clothes,
And use naughty vords — call me Dog — and avouch
Dat I put too much int’resht py half in ma pouch,
And vhile I, like de resht of ma tribe, shrug and crouch,
You find fault mit ma pargains, and say I’m a Smouch.
— Vell!–n o matters, ma tear,– Von vord in your ear!
I’d be friends mit you bote — and to make dat appear,
Vy, I’ll find you de monies as soon as you vill,
Only von littel joke musht be put in de pill;
Ma tear, you musht say,
If on such and such day
Such sum or such sums, you shall fail to repay,
I shall cut vere I like, as de pargain is proke,
A fair pound of your flesh — chest by vay of a joke.’
So novel a clause Caused Bassanio to pause;
But Antonio, like most of those sage ‘Johnny Raws’
Who care not three straws
About Lawyers or Laws,
And think cheaply of ‘Old Father Antic,’ because
They have never experienced a gripe from his claws,
‘Pooh pooh’d’ the whole thing.–‘Let the Smouch have his way,
Why, what care I, pray,
For his penalty?– Nay,
It’s a forfeit he’d never expect me to pay:
And, come what come may, I hardly need say
My ships will be back a full month ere the day.’
So, anxious to see his friend off on his journey,
And thinking the whole but a paltry concern, he
Affixed with all speed
His name to a deed,
Duly stamp’d and drawn up by a sharp Jew attorney.
Thus again furnish’d forth, Lord Bassanio, instead
Of squandering the cash, after giving one spread,
With fiddling and masques, at the Saracen’s Head,
In the morning ‘made play,’ And without more delay,
Started off in the steam-boat for Belmont next day.
But scarcely had he
From the harbour got free,
And left the Lagunes for the broad open sea,
Ere the ‘Change and Rialto both rung with the news
That he’d carried off more than mere cash from the Jew’s.
Though Shylock was old,
And, if rolling in gold,
Was as ugly a dog as you’ wish to behold,
For few in his tribe ‘mongst their Levis and Moseses,
Sported so Jewish an eye, beard, and nose as his,
Still, whate’er the opinion of Horace and some be,
Your aquilæ generate sometimes Columbæ,
Like Jephthah, as Hamlet says, he’d ‘one fair daughter,’
And every gallant, who caught sight of her, thought her,
A jewel — a gem of the very first water;
A great many sought her,
Till one at last caught her,
And, upsetting all that the Rabbis had taught her,
To feelings so truly reciprocal brought her,
That the very same night Bassanio thought right
To give all his old friends that farewell ‘invite,’
And while Shylock was gone there to feed out of spite,
On ‘wings made by a tailor’ the damsel took flight.
By these ‘wings’ I’d express
A grey duffle dress,
With brass badge and muffin cap, made, as by rule,
For an upper-class boy in the National School.
Jessy ransack’d the house, popp’d her breeks on, and when so
Disguised, bolted off with her beau — one Lorenzo,
An ‘Unthrift,’ who lost not a moment in whisking
Her into the boat,
And was fairly afloat
Ere her Pa had got rid of the smell of the griskin.
Next day, while old Shylock was making a racket,
And threatening how well he’d dust every man’s jacket
Who’d help’d her in getting aboard of the packet,
Bassanio at Belmont was capering and prancing,
And bowing, and scraping, and singing, and dancing,
Making eyes at Miss Portia, and doing his best
To perform the polite, and to cut out the rest;
And, if left to herself, he, no doubt, had succeeded,
For none of them waltz’d so genteelly as he did;
But an obstacle lay, Of some weight, in his way,
The defunct Mr. P. who was now turned to clay,
Had been an odd man, and, though all for the best he meant,
Left but a queer sort of ‘Last will and testament,’–
Bequeathing her hand,
With her houses and land,
&c., from motives one don’t understand,
As she rev’renced his memory, and valued his blessing,
To him who should turn out the best hand at guessing!
Like a good girl, she did
Just what she was bid,
In one of three caskets her picture she hid,
And clapp’d a conundrum a-top of each lid.
A couple of Princes, a black and a white one,
Tried first, but they both fail’d in choosing the right one.
Another from Naples, who shoe’d his own horses;
A French Lord, whose graces might vie with Count D’Orsay’s;–
A young English Baron;– a Scotch Peer his neighbour;–
A dull drunken Saxon, all moustache and sabre;
All follow’d, and all had their pains for their labour.
Bassanio came last — happy man be his dole!
Put his conjuring cap on,– considered the whole,–
The gold put aside as
Mere ‘hard food for Midas,’
The silver bade trudge
As a ‘pale common drudge;’
Then choosing the little lead box in the middle,
Came plump on the picture, and found out the riddle.
Now, you’re not such a goose as to think, I dare say,
Gentle Reader, that all this was done in a day,
Any more than the dome Of St. Peter’s at Rome
Was built in the same space of time; and, in fact,
Whilst Bassanio was doing
His billing and cooing,
Three months had gone by ere he reach’d the fifth act;
Meanwhile that unfortunate bill became due,
Which his Lordship had almost forgot, to the Jew,
And Antonio grew In a deuce of a stew,
For he could not cash up, spite of all he could do;
(The bitter old Israelite would not renew,)
What with contrary winds, storms, wrecks, and embargoes, his
Funds were all stopp’d, or gone down in his argosies,
None of the set having come into port,
And Shylock’s attorney was moving the Court
For the forfeit supposed to be set down in sport.
The serious news
Of this step of the Jew’s,
And his fix’d resolution all terms to refuse,
Gave the newly-made Bridegroom a fit of ‘the Blues,’
Especially, too, as it came from the pen
Of his poor friend himself on the wedding-day,– then,
When the Parson had scarce shut his book up, and when
The Clerk was yet uttering the final Amen.
‘Dear Friend,’ it continued, ‘all’s up with me — I
Have nothing on earth now to do but to die!
And, as death clears all scores, you’re no longer my debtor;
I should take it as kind
Could you come — never mind —
If your love don’t persaude you, why,– don’t let this letter!’
I hardly need say this was scarcely read o’er
Ere a post-chaise and four
Was brought round to the door
And Bassanio, though, doubtless, he thought it a bore,
Gave his Lady one kiss, and then started at score.
But scarce in his flight
Had he got out of sight
Ere Portia, addressing a groom, said, ‘My lad, you a
Journey must take on the instant to Padua;
Find out there Bellario,a Doctor of Laws,
Who, like Follett, is never left out of a cause,
And give him this note,
Which I’ve hastily wrote,
Take the papers he’ll give you — then push for the ferry
Below, where I’ll meet you, you’ll do’t in a wherry,
If you can’t find a boat on the Brenta with sails to it
— Stay, bring his gown too, and wig with three tails to it.’
Giovanni (that’s Jack)
Brought out his hack,
Made a bow to his mistress, then jump’d on its back,
Put his hand to his hat, and was off in a crack.
The Signora soon follow’d herself, taking as her
Own escort Nerissa her maid, and Balthasar.
‘The Court is prepared, the Lawyers are met,
The Judges all ranged, a terrible show!’
As Captain Macheath says,– and when one’s in debt,
The sight’s as unpleasant a one as I know,
Yet still not so bad after all, I suppose,
As if, when one cannot discharge what one owes,
They should bid people cut off one’s toes or one’s nose;
Yet here, a worse fate,
Stands Antonio, of late
A Merchant, might vie e’en with Princes in state,
With his waistcoat unbutton’d, prepared for the knife,
Which, in taking a pound of flesh, must take his life;
— On the other side Shylock, his bag on the floor,
And three shocking bad hats on his head, as before,
As he waits their commands
With his scales and his great snicker-snee in his hands:
— Between them, equipt in a wig, gown and bands,
With a very smooth face, a young dandified Lawyer,
Whose air, ne’ertheless, speaks him quite a top-sawyer,
Though his hopes are but feeble,
Does his possible
To make the hard Hebrew to mercy incline,
And in lieu of his three thousand ducats take nine,
Which Bassanio, for reasons we well may divine,
Shows in so many bags all drawn up in a line.
But vain are all efforts to soften him — still
He points to the bond He so often has conn’d,
And says in plain terms he’ll be shot if he will.
So the dandified Lawyer, with talking grown hoarse,
Says, ‘I can say no more — let the law take its course.’
Just fancy the gleam of the eye of the Jew,
As he sharpen’d his knife on the sole of his shoe
From the toe to the heel, And grasping the steel,
With a business-like air was beginning to feel
Whereabouts he should cut, as a butcher would veal,
When the dandified Judge puts a spoke in his wheel.
‘Stay, Shylock,’ says he, Here’s one thing — you see
This bond of yours gives you here no jot of blood!
— The words are ‘A pound of flesh,’– that’s clear as mud —
Slice away, then, old fellow — but mind!– if you spill
One drop of his claret that’s not in your bill,
I’ll hang you, like Haman?– By Jingo I will!’
When apprised of this flaw, You never yet saw
Such an awfully mark’d elongation of jaw
As in Shylock, who cried, ‘Plesh ma heart! ish dat law?’–
Off went his three hats,
And he look’d as the cats
Do, whenever a mouse has escaped from their claw.
‘– Ish’t the law?’– why the thing won’t admit of a query —
‘No doubt of the fact,
Only look at the act;
Acto quinto, cap. tertio, Dogi Falieri —
Nay, if, rather than cut, you’d relinquish the debt,
The Law, Master Shy, has a hold on you yet.
See Foscari’s ‘Statutes at large’–‘If a Stranger
A Citizen’s life shall, with malice, endanger,
The whole of his property, little or great,
Shall go, on conviction, one half to the State,
And one to the person pursued by his hate;
And, not to create
Any farther debate,
The Doge, if he pleases, may cut off his pate.’
So down on your marrowbones, Jew, and ask mercy!
Defendant and Plaintiff are now wisy wersy.’
What need to declare
How pleased they all were
At so joyful an end to so sad an affair?
Or Bassanio’s delight at the turn things had taken,
His friend having saved, to the letter, his bacon?–
How Shylock got shaved, and turn’d Christian, though late,
To save a life-int’rest in half his estate?
How the dandified Lawyer, who’d managed the thing,
Would not take any fee for his pains but a ring
Which Mrs. Bassanio had given to her spouse,
With injunctions to keep it on leaving the house?–
How when he, and the spark
Who appeared as his clerk,
Had thrown off their wigs, and their gowns, and their jetty coats,
There stood Nerissa and Portia in petticoats?–
How they pouted, and flouted, and acted the cruel,
Because Lord Bassanio had not kept his jewel?–
How they scolded and broke out,
Till having their joke out,
They kissed, and were friends, and, all blessing and blessed,
Drove home by the light
Of a moonshiny night,
Like the one in which Troilus, the brave Trojan knight,
Sat astride on a wall, and sigh’d after his Cressid?–
All this, if ’twere meet,
I’d go on to repeat,
But a story spun out so’s by no means a treat,
So, I’ll merely relate what, in spite of the pains
I have taken to rummage among his remains,
No edition of Shakspeare, I’ve met with, contains;
But, if the account which I’ve heard be the true one,
We shall have it, no doubt, before long, in a new one.
In an MS., then sold
For its full weight in gold,
And knock’d down to my friend, Lord Tomnoddy, I’m told
It’s recorded that Jessy, coquettish and vain,
Gave her husband, Lorenzo, a good deal of pain;
Being mildly rebuked, she levanted again,
Ran away with a Scotchman, and, crossing the main,
Became known by the name of the ‘Flower of Dumblane.’
That Antonio, whose piety caused, as we’ve seen,
Him to spit upon every old Jew’s gaberdine,
And whose goodness to paint
All colours were faint,
Acquired the well-merited prefix of ‘Saint,’
And the Doge, his admirer, of honour the fount,
Having given him a patent, and made him a Count,
He went over to England, got nat’ralis’d there,
And espous’d a rich heiress in Hanover Square.
That Shylock came with him; no longer a Jew,
But converted, I think may be possibly true,
But that Walpole, as these self-same papers aver,
By changing the y in his name into er,
Should allow him a fictitious surname to dish up,
And in Seventeen-twenty-eight make him a Bishop,
I cannot believe–but shall still think them two men
Till some Sage proves the fact ‘with his usual acumen.’
From this tale of the Bard
It’s uncommonly hard
If an editor can’t draw a moral.–‘Tis clear,
Then,– In ev’ry young wife-seeking Bachelor’s ear
A maxim, ‘bove all other stories, this one drums,
‘PITCH GREEK TO OLD HARRY, AND STICK TO CONUNDRUMS!!’
To new-married ladies this lesson it teaches,
‘You’re “no that far wrong” in assuming the breeches!’
Monied men upon ‘Change, and rich Merchants it schools
To look well to assets — nor play with edge tools!
Last of all, this remarkable History shows men,
What caution they need when they deal with old-clothesmen!
So bid John and Mary
To mind and be wary,
And never let one of them come down the are’
Catherine of Cleves was a Lady of rank,
She had lands and fine houses, and cash in the Bank;
She had jewels and rings,
And a thousand smart things;
Was lovely and young,
With a rather sharp tongue,
And she wedded a Noble of high degree
With the star of the order of St. Esprit;
But the Duke de Guise
Was, by many degrees,
Her senior, and not very easy to please;
He’d a sneer on his lip, and a scowl with his eye,
And a frown on his brow,– and he look’d like a Guy,–
So she took to intriguing
With Monsieur St. Megrin,
A young man of fashion, and figure, and worth,
But with no great pretensions to fortune or birth;
He would sing, fence, and dance
With the best man in France,
And took his rappee with genteel nonchalance;
He smiled, and he flatter’d, and flirted with ease,
And was very superior to Monseigneur de Guise.
Now Monsieur St. Megrin was curious to know
If the Lady approved of his passion or no;
So without more ado,
He put on his surtout,
And went to a man with a beard like a Jew.
One Signor Ruggieri,
A Cunning-man near, he
Could conjure, tell fortunes, and calculate tides,
Perform tricks on the cards, and Heaven knows what besides,
Bring back a stray’d cow, silver ladle, or spoon,
And was thought to be thick with the Man in the Moon.
The Sage took his stand
With his wand in his hand,
Drew a circle, then gave the dread word of command,
Saying solemnly –‘ Presto!– Hey, quick!– Cock-alorum!!’
When the Duchess immediately popped up before ’em.
Just then a Conjunction of Venus and Mars,
Or something peculiar above in the stars,
Attracted the notice of Signor Ruggieri,
Who ‘bolted,’ and left him alone with his deary.–
Monsieur St. Megrin went down on his knees,
And the Duchess shed tears large as marrow-fat peas,
When,– fancy the shock,–
A loud double-knock,
Made the Lady cry ‘Get up, you fool!– there’s De Guise!’–
‘Twas his Grace, sure enough;
So Monsieur, looking bluff,
Strutted by, with his hat on, and fingering his ruff,
While, unseen by either, away flew the Dame
Through the opposite key-hole, the same way she came;
But, alack! and alas!
A mishap came to pass,
In her hurry she, somehow or other, let fall
A new silk Bandana she’d worn as a shawl;
She had used it for drying
Her bright eyes while crying,
And blowing her nose, as her Beau talk’d of ‘dying!’
Now the Duke, who had seen it so lately adorn her,
And knew the great C with the Crown in the corner;
The instant he spied it smoked something amiss,
And said with some energy, ‘D– it! what’s this?’
He went home in a fume,
And bounced into her room,
Crying, ‘So, Ma’am, I find I’ve some cause to be jealous;
Look here!– here’s a proof you run after the fellows!
— Now take up that pen,– if it’s bad choose a better,–
And write, as I dictate, this moment a letter
To Monsieur — you know who!’
The Lady look’d blue;
But replied with much firmness –‘ Hang me if I do!’
De Guise grasped her wrist
With his great bony fist,
And pinch’d it, and gave it so painful a twist,
That his hard, iron gauntlet the flesh went an inch in,–
She did not mind death, but she could not stand pinching;
So she sat down and wrote
This polite little note:–
‘Dear Mister St. Megrin,
The Chiefs of the League in
Our house mean to dine
This evening at nine;
I shall, soon after ten,
Slip away from the men,
And you’ll find me up stairs in the drawing-room then;
Come up the back way, or those impudent thieves
Of Servants will see you; Yours,
Catherine of Cleves.’
She directed and sealed it, all pale as a ghost,
And De Guise put it into the Twopenny Post.
St. Megrin had almost jumped out of his skin
For joy that day when the post came in;
He read the note through,
Then began it anew,
And thought it almost too good news to be true.–
He clapped on his hat,
And a hood over that,
With a cloak to disguise him, and make him look fat;
So great his impatience, from half after four
He was waiting till Ten at De Guise’s back-door.
When he heard the great clock of St. Genevieve chime
He ran up the back staircase six steps at a time;
He had scare made his bow,
He hardly knew how,
When alas! and alack!
There was no getting back,
For the drawing-room door was bang’d to with a whack;–
In vain he applied
To the handle and tried,
Somebody or other had locked it outside!
And the Duchess in agony mourn’d her mishap,
‘We are caught like a couple of rats in a trap.’
Now the Duchess’s Page,
About twelve years of age,
For so little a boy was remarkably sage;
And, just in the nick, to their joy and amazement,
Popp’d the Gas-lighter’s ladder close under the casement.
But all would not do,–
Though St. Megrin got through
The window,– below stood De Guise and his crew,
And though never man was more brave than St. Megrin,
Yet fighting a score is extremely fatiguing;
He thrust carte and tierce
But not Beelzebub’s self could their cuirasses pierce,
While his doublet and hose,
Being holiday clothes,
Were soon cut through and through from his knees to his nose.
Still an old crooked sixpence the Conjuror gave him
From pistol and sword was sufficient to save him,
But, when beat on his knees,
That confounded De Guise
Came behind with the ‘fogle’ that caused all this breeze,
Whipp’d it tight round his neck, and, when backward he’d jerk’d him,
The rest of the rascals jump’d on him and Burk’d him.
The poor little Page too himself got no quarter, but
Was served the same way,
And was found the next day
With his heels in the air and his head in the water-butt.
Catherine of Cleves
Roar’d ‘Murder!’ and ‘Thieves!’
From the window above
While they murder’d her love;
Till, finding the rogues had accomplish’d his slaughter,
She drank Prussic acid without any water,
And died like a Duke and a Duchess’s daughter!
Take warning, ye Fair, from this tale of the Bard’s,
And don’t go where fortunes are told on the cards!
But steer clear of Conjurors,– never put query
To ‘Wise Mrs. Williams,’ or folks like Ruggieri.
When alone in your room shut the door close, and lock it;
Above all,– keep your handkerchief safe in your pocket!
Lest you too should stumble, and Lord Leveson Gower, he
Be call’d on,– sad poet!– to tell your sad story
Its air and situation sweet and pretty;
It matters very little — if at all —
Whether its denizens are dull or witty,
Whether the ladies there are short or tall,
Brunettes or blondes, only, there stands a city!–
Perhaps ’tis also requisite to minute
That there’s a Castle and a Cobbler in it.
A fair Cathedral, too, the story goes,
And kings and heroes lie entomb’d within her;
There pious Saints, in marble pomp repose,
Whose shrines are worn by knees of many a Sinner;
There, too, full many an Aldermanic nose
Roll’d its loud diapason after dinner;
And there stood high the holy sconce of Becket,
— Till four assassins came from France to crack it.
The Castle was a huge and antique mound,
Proof against all th’ artillery of the quiver,
Ere those abominable guns were found
To send cold lead through gallant warrior’s liver.
It stands upon a gently rising ground,
Sloping down gradually to the river,
Resembling (to compare great things with smaller),
A well-scooped, mouldy Stilton cheese,– but taller.
The Keep, I find, ‘s been sadly alter’d lately,
And, ‘stead of mail-clad knights, of honour jealous,
In martial panoply so grand and stately,
Its walls are fill’d with money-making fellows,
And stuff’d, unless I’m misinformed greatly,
With leaden pipes, and coke, and coals, and bellows;
In short, so great a change has come to pass,
‘Tis now a manufactory of Gas.
But to my tale.– Before this profanation,
And ere its ancient glories were cut short all,
A poor hard-working Cobbler took his station
In a small house, just opposite the portal;
His birth, his parentage, and education,
I know but little of — a strange, odd mortal;
His aspect, air, and gait, were all ridiculous;
His name was Mason — he’d been christen’d Nicholas.
Nick had a wife possessed of many a charm,
And of the Lady Huntingdon persuasion;
But, spite of all her piety, her arm
She’d sometimes exercise when in a passion;
And, being of a temper somewhat warm,
Would now and then seize, upon small occasion,
A stick, or stool, or anything that round did lie,
And baste her lord and master most confoundedly.
No matter!–’tis a thing that’s not uncommon,
‘Tis what we have all heard, and most have read of,–
I mean, a bruizing, pugilistic woman,
Such as I own I entertain a dread of,
— And so did Nick, whom sometimes there would come on
A sort of fear his spouse might knock his head off,
Demolish half his teeth, or drive a rib in,
She shone so much in ‘facers’ and in ‘fibbing.’
‘There’s time and place for all things,’ said a sage,
(King Solomon, I think,) and this I can say,
Within a well-roped ring, or on a stage,
Boxing may be a very pretty Fancy,
When Messrs. Burke or Bendigo engage;
–‘ Tis not so well in Susan, Jane, or Nancy;–
To get well mill’d by any one’s an evil,
But by a lady –‘ tis the very Devil.
And so thought Nicholas, whose only trouble
(At least his worst) was this his rib’s propensity,
For sometimes from the alehouse he would hobble,
His senses lost in a sublime immensity
Of cogitation — then he couldn’t cobble —
And then his wife would often try the density
Of his poor skull, and strike with all her might,
As fast as kitchen wenches strike a light.
Mason, meek soul, who ever hated strife,
Of this same striking had the utmost dread,
He hated it like poison — or his wife —
A vast antipathy!– but so he said —
And very often for a quiet life
On these occasions he’d sneak up to bed,
Grope darkling in, and, soon as at the door
He heard his lady — he’d pretend to snore.
One night, then, ever partial to society,
Nick, with a friend (another jovial fellow),
Went to a Club — I should have said Society —
At the ‘City Arms,’ once called the Porto Bello;
A Spouting party, which, though some decry it, I
Consider no bad lounge when one is mellow;
There they discuss the tax on salt, and leather,
And change of ministers, and change of weather.
In short, it was a kind of British Forum,
Like John Gale Jones’s, erst in Piccadilly,
Only they managed things with more decorum,
And the Orations were not quite so silly;
Far different questions, too, would come before ’em,
Not always Politics, which, will ye nill ye,
Their London prototypes were always willing,
To give one quantum suff. of — for a shilling.
It more resembled one of later date,
And tenfold talent, as I’m told, in Bow Street,
Where kindlier natured souls do congregate,
And, though there are who deem that same a low street,
Yet, I’m assured, for frolicsome debate
And genuine humour it’s surpaass’d by no street,
When the ‘Chief Baron’ enters, and assumes
To ‘rule’ o’er mimic ‘Thesigers’ and ‘Broughams.’
Here they would oft forget their Rulers’ faults,
And waste in ancient lore the midnight taper,
Inquire if Orpheus first produced the Waltz,
How Gas-lights differ from the Delphic Vapour,
Whether Hippocrates gave Glauber’s Salts,
And what the Romans wrote on ere they’d paper;
This night the subject of their disquisitions
Was Ghosts, Hobgoblins, Sprites, and Apparitions.
One learned gentleman, ‘a sage grave man,’
Talk’d of the Ghost in Hamlet, ‘sheath’d in steel;’–
His well-read friend, who next to speak began,
Said, ‘That was Poetry, and nothing real;’
A third, of more extensive learning, ran
To Sir George Villiers’ Ghost, and Mrs. Veal;
Of sheeted Spectres spoke with shorten’d breath,
And thrice he quoted ‘Drelincourt on Death.’
Nick smoked, and smoked, and trembled as he heard
The point discuss’d, and all they said upon it,
How, frequently, some murder’d man appear’d,
To tell his wife and children who had done it;
Or how a Miser’s ghost, with grisly beard,
And pale lean visage, in an old Scotch bonnet,
Wander’d about, to watch his buried money!
When all at once Nick heard the clock strike one,– he
Sprang from his seat, not doubting but a lecture
Impended from his fond and faithful she;
Nor could he well to pardon him expect her,
For he had promised to ‘be home to tea;’
But having luckily the key o’ the back door,
He fondly hoped that, unperceived, he
Might creep up stairs again, pretend to doze,
And hoax his spouse with music from his nose.
Vain, fruitless hope!– The weary sentinel
At eve may overlook the crouching foe,
Till, ere his hand can sound the alarum-bell,
He sinks beneath the unexpected blow;
Before the whiskers of Grimalkin fell,
When slumb’ring on her post, the mouse may go;–
But woman, wakeful woman, ‘s never weary,
— Above all, when she waits to thump her deary.
Soon Mrs. Mason heard the well known tread,
She heard the key slow creaking in the door,
Spied, through the gloom obscure, towards the bed
Nick creeping soft, as oft he had crept before;
When bang, she threw a something at his head,
And Nick at once lay prostrate on the floor;
While she exclaim’d, with her indignant face on,–
‘How dare you use your wife so, Mr. Mason?’
Spare we to tell how fiercely she debated,
Especially the length of her oration,–
Spare we to tell how Nick expostulated,
Roused by the bump into a good set passion,
So great, that more than once he execrated,
Ere he crawl’d into bed in his usual fashion;
The Muses hate brawls; suffice it then to say,
He duck’d below the clothes — and there he lay!
‘Twas now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards groan, and graves give up their dead,
And many a mischievous enfranchised Sprite
Had long since burst his bonds of stone or lead,
And hurried off, with schoolboy-like delight,
To play his pranks near some poor wretch’s bed,
Sleeping perhaps serenely as a porpoise,
Nor dreaming of this fiendish Habeas Corpus.
Not so our Nicholas, his meditations
Still to the same tremendous theme recurr’d,
The same dread subject of the dark narrations,
Which, back’d with such authority, he’d heard;
Lost in his own horrific contemplations,
He ponder’d o’er each well-remember’d word;
When at the bed’s foot, close beside the post,
He verily believed he saw — a Ghost!
Plain, and more plain, the unsubstantial Sprite
To his astonish’d gaze each moment grew;
Ghastly and gaunt, it rear’d its shadowy height,
Of more than mortal seeming to the view,
And round its long, thin, bony fingers drew
A tatter’d winding-sheet, of course all white;
The moon that moment peeping through a cloud,
Nick very plainly saw it through the shroud!
And now those matted locks, which never yet
Had yielded to the comb’s unkind divorce,
Their long-contracted amity forget,
And spring asunder with elastic force;
Nay, e’en the very cap, of texture coarse,
Whose ruby cincture crown’d that brow of jet,
Uprose in agony — the Gorgon’s head
Was but a type of Nick’s up-squatting in the bed.
From every pore distill’d a clammy dew,
Quaked every limb,– the candle, too, no doubt,
En règle, would have burnt extremely blue,
But Nick unluckily had put it out;
And he, though naturally bold and stout,
In short, was in a most tremendous stew;–
The room was filled with a sulphureous smell,
But where that came from Mason could not tell.
All motionless the Spectre stood, and now
Its rev’rend form more clearly shone confest;
From the pale cheek a beard of purest snow
Descended o’er its venerable breast;
The thin grey hairs, that crown’d its furrow’d brow,
Told of years long gone by.– An awful guest
It stood, and with an action of command,
Beckon’d the Cobbler with its wan right hand.
‘Whence, and what art thou, Execrable Shape?’
Nick might have cried, could he have found a tongue,
But his distended jaws could only gape,
And not a sound upon the welkin rung;
His gooseberry orbs seem’d as they would have sprung
Forth from their sockets,– like a frighten’d Ape,
He sat upon his haunches, bolt upright,
And shook, and grinn’d, and chatter’d with affright.
And still the shadowy finger, long and lean,
Now beckon’d Nick, now pointed to the door;
And many an ireful glance, and frown, between,
The angry visage of the Phantom wore,
As if quite vex’d that Nick would do no more
Than stare, without e’en asking, ‘What d’ye mean?’
Because, as we are told,– a sad old joke too,–
Ghosts, like the ladies, never speak till spoke to.
Cowards, ’tis said, in certain situations,
Derive a sort of courage from despair,
And then perform, from downright desperation,
Much more than many a bolder man would dare.
Nick saw the Ghost was getting in a passion,
And therefore, groping till he found the chair,
Seized on his awl, crept softly out of bed,
And follow’d quaking where the Spectre led.
And down the winding-stair, with noiseless tread,
The tenant of the tomb pass’d slowly on,
Each mazy turning of the humble shed
Seem’d to his step at once familiar grown,
So safe and sure the labyrinth did he tread
As though the domicile had been his own,
Though Nick himself, in passing through the shop,
Had almost broke his nose against the mop.
Despite its wooden bolt, with jarring sound,
The door upon its hinges open flew;
And forth the Spirit issued,– yet around
It turn’d as if its follower’s fears it knew,
And, once more beckoning, pointed to the mound,
The antique Keep, on which the bright moon threw
With such effulgence her mild silvery gleam,
The visionary form seem’d melting in her beam.
Beneath a pond’rous archway’s sombre shade,
Where once the huge portcullis swung sublime,
Mid ivied battlements in ruin laid,
Sole, sad memorials of the olden time,
The Phantom held its way,– and though afraid
Even of the owls that sung their vesper chime,
Pale Nicholas pursued, its steps attending,
And wondering what on earth it all would end in.
Within the mouldering fabric’s deep recess
At length they reach a court obscure and lone;–
It seem’d a drear and desolate wilderness,
The blacken’d walls with ivy all o’ergrown;
The night-bird shriek’d her note of wild distress,
Disturb’d upon her solitary throne,
As though indignant mortal step should dare,
So led, at such an hour, to venture there!
— The Apparition paused, and would have spoke,
Pointing to what Nick thought an iron ring,
But then a neighbouring chaunticleer awoke,
And loudly ‘gan his early matins sing;
And then ‘it started like a guilty thing,’
As his shrill clarion the silence broke.
— We know how much dead gentlefolks eschew
The appalling sound of ‘Cock-a-doodle-do!’
The Vision was no more — and Nick alone —
‘His streamers waving’ in the midnight wind,
Which through the ruins ceased not to groan;
— His garment, too, was somewhat short behind,–
And, worst of all, he knew not where to find
The ring, which made him most his fate bemoan.–
The iron ring,– no doubt of some trap door,
‘Neath which the old dead Miser kept his store.
‘What’s to be done?’ he cried; ”Twere vain to stay
Here in the dark without a single clue —
Oh for a candle now, or moonlight ray!
‘Fore George, I’m vastly puzzled what to do.’
(Then clapp’d his hand behind) –‘ ‘Tis chilly too —
I’ll mark the spot, and come again by day.
What can I mark it by?– Oh, here’s the wall —
The mortar’s yielding — here I’ll stick my awl!’
Then rose from earth to sky a withering shriek,
A loud, a long-protracted note of woe,
Such as when tempests roar, and timbers creak,
And o’er the side the masts in thunder go;
While on the deck resistless billows break,
And drag their victims to the gulfs below;–
Such was the scream when, for the want of candle,
Nick Mason drove his awl in up to the handle.
Scared by his Lady’s heart-appalling cry,
Vanish’d at once poor Mason’s golden dream —
For dream it was;– and all his visions high,
Of wealth and grandeur, fled before that scream —
And still he listens with averted eye,
When gibing neighbours make ‘the Ghost’ their theme;
While ever from that hour they all declare
That Mrs. Mason used a cushion in her chair
Standing dumb before my mother, my father, some dear people,
For some years now.
For some years now I do not know exactly whether I’m dead or alive,
For some years now the distinction between living and death
Has gone on reducing till it’s a thread now
Waving in emptiness.
For some years now the being that inhabits me within and without
Has been a horrible, dumb creature,
The last leaf long gone from its tree,
Spring gone forever from its life.
If I die tonight, don’t speak a word,
Only bury an epitaph under a shiuli tree somewhere,
An epitaph I’ve written over some years now,
An epitaph neatly written in white on a white sheet
and you’d better not forget
that when you cross the threshold of your house
men will look askance at you.
When you keep on walking down the lane
men will follow you and whistle.
When you cross the lane and step onto the main road
men will revile you, call you a loose woman.
If you’ve no character
you’ll turn back,
and if you have
you’ll keep on going
as you’re going now.
I’m going to move ahead.
Behind me my whole family is calling,
My child is pulling my sari-end,
My husband stands blocking the door,
But I will go.
There’s nothing ahead but a river.
I will cross.
I know how to swim,
but they won’t let me swim, won’t let me cross.
There’s nothing on the other side of the river
but a vast expanse of fields,
But I’ll touch this emptiness once
and run against the wind, whose whooshing sound
makes me want to dance.
I’ll dance someday
and then return.
I’ve not played keep-away for years
as I did in childhood.
I’ll raise a great commotion playing keep-away someday
and then return.
For years I haven’t cried with my head
in the lap of solitude.
I’ll cry to my heart’s content someday
and then return.
There’s nothing ahead but a river,
and I know how to swim.
Why shouldn’t I go?
The fellow who sits in the air-conditioned office
is the one who in his youth raped
a dozen or so young girls,
and, at cocktail parties, is secretly stricken with lust,
fastening his eyes on lovelies’ bellybuttons.
In five-star hotels,
he tries out his different sexual tastes
with a variety of women,
then returns home and beats his wife
because of an over-ironed handkerchief or shirt collar.
In his office Mr. Big puffs on a cigarette,
shuffles through files,
rings for his employee
and returns to writing people’s character references.
His employee speaks in such a low voice
that no one would ever suspect
how, at home, he also raises his voice,
is vile to his family
but with his buddies on the porch or at a movie
indulges in loud harangues on politics,
art, literature, and how some female –
his mother, grandmother, or great-grandmother –
Bidding goodbye to his buddies,
he returns home,
beats his wife
over a bar of soap
or the baby’s pneumonia.
Next day, at work, he pleasantly brings the tea,
keeps the lighter in his pocket,
receives a tip of a couple of taka,
and tells no one that he divorced his first wife for her sterility,
his second for giving birth to a daughter,
his third for not bringing a sufficient dowry.
Now, with wife number four, he again has someone:
To beat over a green chili or a handful of rice.
My life, like a sandbar,
has been taken over by a monster of a man
who wants my body under his control
so that, if he wishes,
he can spit in my face,
slap me on the cheek,
pinch my rear;
so that, if he wishes,
he can rob me of the clothes,
take my naked beauty in his grip;
so that, if he wishes.
he can chain my feet,
with no qualms whatsoever whip me,
chop off my hands, my fingers,
sprinkle salt in the open wound,
throw ground-up black pepper in my eyes,
with a dagger can slash my thigh,
can string me up and hang me.
His goal: to control my heart
so that I would love him;
in my lonely house at night
sleepless, full of anxiety,
clutching at the window grille,
I would wait for him and sob;
tears rolling down, I would bake homemade bread,
would drink, as if they were ambrosia,
the filthy liquids of his polygynous body
so that, loving him, I would melt like wax,
not turning my eyes toward any other man.
I would give proof of my chastity all my life.
So that, loving him,
on some moonlit night
I would commit suicide
in a fit of ecstasy.
Women spend the afternoon squatting on the porch, picking lice from each other’s hair.
They spend the evening feeding the little ones,
lulling them to sleep in the glow of the bottle lamp.
The rest of the night
they offer their back to be slapped and kicked by the men of the house
or sprawl half-naked on the hard wooden cot.
Crows and women greet the dawn together,
the women blowing into the oven to start the fire,
tapping on the back of the winnowing tray with five fingers
and, with two, picking out the stones.
Half their lives women pick stones from the rice.
All their lives stones pile up in their hearts,
no one there to touch them even with two fingers.
To LateToo late! though flowerets round me blow,
And clearing skies shine bright and fair;
Their genial warmth avails not now —
Thou art not here the beam to share.
Through many a dark and dreary day,
We journeyed on ‘midst grief and gloom;
And now at length the cheering ray
Breaks forth, it only gilds thy tomb.
Our days of hope and youth are past,
Our short-lived joys for ever flown;
And now when Fortune smiles at last,
She finds me cheerless, chilled — alone!
Ah! no; too late the boon is given,
Alike the frowns and smiles of Fate;
The broken heart by sorrow riv’n,
But murmurs now, ‘Too late! Too late!’
Oh, my head! my head! my head!
Lack! for my poor unfortunate head!
Mister de Ville
Has been to feel,
And what do you think he said?
He felt it up, and he felt it down,
Behind the ears, and across the crown,
Sinciput, occiput, great and small,
Bumps and organs, he tickled ’em all;
And he shook his own, as he gravely said,
‘Sir, you really have got a most singular head!
‘Why here’s a bump,
Only feel what a lump;
Why the organ of “Sound” is an absolute hump;
And only feel here,
Why, behind each ear,
There’s a bump for a butcher or a bombardier;
Such organs of slaughter
Would spill blood like water;
Such “lopping and topping” of heads and of tails,
Why, you’ll cut up a jackass with Alderman S–.’
[Scene, the ‘Snuggery’ at Tappington.– Grandpapa in a high-backed cane-bottomed elbow-chair of carved walnut-tree, dozing; his nose at an angle of forty-five degrees,–his thumbs slowly perform the rotatory motion described by lexicographers as ‘twiddling.’–The ‘Hope of the family’ astride on a walking-stick, with burnt-cork mustachios, and a pheasant’s tail pinned in his cap, solaceth himself with martial music.– Roused by a strain of surpassing dissonance, Grandpapa Loquitur. ]
Come hither, come hither, my little boy Ned!
Come hither unto my knee–
I cannot away with that horrible din,
That sixpenny drum, and that trumpet of tin.
Oh, better to wander frank and free
Through the Fair of good Saint Bartlemy,
Than list to such awful minstrelsie.
Now lay, little Ned, those nuisances by,
And I’ll rede ye a lay of Grammarye.
[Grandpapa riseth, yawneth like the crater of an extinct volcano, proceedeth slowly to the window, and apostrophizeth the Abbey in the distance.]
I love thy tower, Grey Ruin,
I joy thy form to see,
Though reft of all,
Cell, cloister, and hall,
Nothing is left save a tottering wall,
That, awfully grand and darkly dull,
Threaten’d to fall and demolish my skull,
As, ages ago, I wander’d along
Careless thy grass-grown courts among,
In sky-blue jacket and trowsers laced,
The latter uncommonly short in the waist.
Thou art dearer to me, thou Ruin grey,
Than the Squire’s verandah over the way;
And fairer, I ween,
The ivy sheen
That thy mouldering turret binds,
Than the Alderman’s house about half a mile off,
With the green Venetian blinds.
Full many a tale would my Grandam tell,
In many a bygone day,
Of darksome deeds, which of old befell
In thee, thou Ruin grey!
And I the readiest ear would lend,
And stare like frighten’d pig;
While my Grandfather’s hair would have stood up an end,
Had he not worn a wig.
One tale I remember of mickle dread–
Now lithe and listen, my little boy Ned!
Thou mayest have read, my little boy Ned,
Though thy mother thine idlesse blames,
In Doctor Goldsmith’s history book,
Of a gentleman called King James,
In quilted doublet, and great trunk breeches,
Who held in abhorrence tobacco and witches.
Well,– in King James’s golden days,–
For the days were golden then,–
They could not be less, for good Queen Bess
Had died aged threescore and ten,
And her days, we know,
Were all of them so;
While the Court poets sung, and the Court gallants swore
That the days were as golden still as before.
Some people, ’tis true, a troublesome few,
Who historical points would unsettle,
Have lately thrown out a sort of a doubt
Of the genuine ring of the metal;
But who can believe to a monarch so wise
People would dare tell a parcel of lies?
— Well, then, in good King James’s days,–
Golden or not does not matter a jot,–
Yon ruin a sort of a roof had got;
For though, repairs lacking, its walls had been cracking
Since Harry the Eighth sent its friars a-packing,
Though joists, and floors,
And windows, and doors
Had all disappear’d, yet pillars by scores
Remain’d, and still propp’d up a ceiling or two,
While the belfry was almost as good as new;
You are not to suppose matters look’d just so
In the Ruin some two hundred years ago.
Just in that farthermost angle, where
You see the remains of a winding-stair,
One turret especially high in air
Uprear’d its tall gaunt form;
As if defying the power of Fate, or
The hand of ‘Time the Innovator;’
And though to the pitiless storm
Its weaker brethren all around
Bowing, in ruin had strew’d the ground,
Alone it stood, while its fellows lay strew’d,
Like a four-bottle man in a company ‘screw’d,’
Not firm on his legs, but by no means subdued.
One night –‘ twas in Sixteen hundred and six —
I like when I can, Ned, the date to fix,–
The month was May,
Though I can’t well say
At this distance of time the particular day —
But oh! that night, that horrible night!
Folks ever afterwards said with affright
That they never had seen such a terrible sight.
The Sun had gone down fiery red;
And if that evening he laid his head
In Thetis’s lap beneath the seas,
He must have scalded the goddess’s knees.
He left behind him a lurid track
Of blood-red light upon clouds so black,
That Warren and Hunt, with the whole of their crew,
Could scarcely have given them a darker hue.
There came a shrill and a whistling sound,
Above, beneath, beside, and around,
Yet leaf ne’er moved on tree!
So that some people thought old Beelzebub must
Have been lock’d out of doors, and was blowing the dust
From the pipe of his street-door key.
And then a hollow moaning blast
Came, sounding more dismally still than the last,
And the lightning flash’d, and the thunder growl’d,
And louder and louder the tempest howl’d,
And the rain came down in such sheets as would stagger a
Bard for a simile short of Niagara.
Rob Gilpin ‘was a citizen;’
But, though of some ‘renown,’
Of no great ‘credit’ in his own,
Or any other town.
He was a wild and roving lad,
For ever in the alehouse boozing;
Or romping,– which is quite as bad,–
With female friends of his own choosing.
And Rob this very day had made,
Not dreaming such a storm was brewing,
An assignation with Miss Slade,–
Their trysting-place this same grey Ruin.
But Gertrude Slade became afraid,
And to keep her appointment unwilling,
When she spied the rain on her window-pane
In drops as big as a shilling;
She put off her hat and her mantle again,–
‘He’ll never expect me in all this rain!’
But little he recks of the fears of the sex,
Or that maiden false to her tryst could be,
He had stood there a good half hour
Ere yet commenced that perilous shower,
Alone by the trysting-tree!
Robin looks east, Robin looks west,
But he sees not her whom he loves the best;
Robin looks up, and Robin looks down,
But no one comes from the neighbouring town.
The storm came at last, loud roar’d the blast,
And the shades of evening fell thick and fast;
The tempest grew; and the straggling yew,
His leafy umbrella, was wet through and through;
Rob was half dead with cold and with fright,
When he spies in the ruins a twinkling light —
A hop, two skips, and a jump, and straight
Rob stands within that postern gate.
And there were gossips sitting there,
By one, by two, by three:
Two were an old ill-favour’d pair;
But the third was young, and passing fair,
With laughing eyes and with coal-black hair;
A daintie quean was she!
Rob would have given his ears to sip
But a single salute from her cherry lip.
As they sat in that old and haunted room,
In each one’s hand was a huge birch broom,
On each one’s head was a steeple-crown’d hat,
On each one’s knee was a coal-black cat;
Each had a kirtle of Lincoln green —
It was, I trow, a fearsome scene.
‘Now riddle me, riddle me right, Madge Gray,
What foot unhallow’d wends this way?
Goody Price, Goody Price, now areed me aright,
Who roams the old ruins this drearysome night?’
Then up and spake that sonsie quean,
And she spake both loud and clear:
‘Oh, be it for weal, or be it for woe,
Enter friend, or enter foe,
Rob Gilpin is welcome here!–
‘Now tread we a measure! a hall! a hall!
Now tread we a measure,’ quoth she —
The heart of Robin
Beat thick and throbbing —
‘Roving Rob, tread a measure with me!’–
‘Ay, lassie!’ quoth Rob, as her hand he gripes,
‘Though Satan himself were blowing the pipes!’
Now around they go, and around, and around,
With hop-skip-and-jump, and frolicsome bound,
Such sailing and gilding,
Such sinking and sliding,
Such lofty curvetting,
And grand pirouetting;
Ned, you would swear that Monsieur Gilbert
And Miss Taglioni were capering there!
And oh! such awful music!– ne’er
Fell sounds so uncanny on mortal ear,
There were the tones of a dying man’s groans
Mix’d with the rattling of dead men’s bones:
Had you heard the shrieks, and the squeals, and the squeaks,
You’d not have forgotten the sound for weeks.
And around, and around, and around they go,
Heel to heel, and toe to toe,
Prance and caper, curvet and wheel,
Toe to toe, and heel to heel.
”Tis merry, ’tis merry, Cummers, I trow,
To dance thus beneath the nightshade bough!’–
‘Goody Price, Goody Price, now riddle me right,
Where may we sup this frolicsome night?’–
‘Mine Host of the Dragon hath mutton and veal!
The Squire hath partridge, and widgeon, and teal;
But old Sir Thopas hath daintier cheer,
A pasty made of the good red deer,
A huge grouse pie, and a fine Florentine,
A fat roast goose, and a turkey and chine.’–
–‘Madge Gray, Madge Gray,
Now tell me, I pray,
Where’s the best wassail bowl to our roundelay?’
‘– There is ale in the cellars of Tappington Hall,
But the Squire is a churl, and his drink is small;
Mine host of the Dragon
Hath many a flaggon
Of double ale, lamb’s-wool, and eau de vie,
But Sir Thopas, the Vicar,
Hath costlier liquor,–
A butt of the choicest Malvoisie.
He doth not lack
Canary or Sack;
And a good pint stoup of Clary wine
Smacks merrily off with a Turkey and Chine!’
‘Now away! and away! without delay,
Hey Cockalorum! my Broomstick gay,
We must be back ere the dawn of the day:
Hey up the chimney! away! away!’–
Old Goody Price
Mounts in a trice,
In showing her legs she is not over nice;
Old Goody Jones,
All skin and bones,
Follows ‘like winking.’ Away go the crones,
Knees and nose in a line with the toes,
Sitting their brooms like so many Ducrows;
Latest and last
The damsel pass’d,
One glance of her coal-black eye she cast;
She laugh’d with glee loud laughters three,
‘Dost fear, Rob Gilpin, to ride with me!’–
Oh, never might man unscath’d espy
One single glance from that coal-black eye.
— Away she flew!–
Without more ado
Rob seizes and mounts on a broomstick too,
‘Hey! up the chimney, lass! Hey after you!’
It’s a very fine thing on a fine day in June
To ride through the air in a Nassau Balloon;
But you’ll find very soon, if you aim at the Moon
In a carriage like that you’re a bit of a ‘Spoon,’
For the largest can’t fly
Above twenty miles high,
And you’re not half way then on your journey, nor nigh;
While no man alive
Could ever contrive,
Mr. Green has declared, to get higher than five.
And the soundest Philosophers hold that, perhaps,
If you reach’d twenty miles your balloon would collapse,
Or pass by such action
The sphere of attraction,
Getting into the track of some comet — Good-lack!
‘Tis a thousand to one that you’d never come back;
And the boldest of mortals a danger like that must fear,
And be cautious of getting beyond our own atmosphere.
No, no; when I try
A trip to the sky,
I shan’t go in that thing of yours, Mr. Gye,
Though Messieurs Monk Mason, and Spencer, and Beazly,
All join in saying it travels so easily.
No; there’s nothing so good
As a pony of wood —
Not like that which, of late, they stuck up on the gate
At the end of the Park, which caused so much debate,
And gave so much trouble to make it stand straight,–
But a regular Broomstick — you’ll find that the favourite,–
Above all, when, like Robin, you haven’t to pay for it.
— Stay — really I dread
I am losing the thread
Of my tale; and it’s time you should be in your bed,
So lithe now, and listen, my little boy Ned!
The Vicarage walls are lofty and thick,
And the copings are stone, and the sides are brick,
The casements are narrow, and bolted and barr’d,
And the stout oak door is heavy and hard;
Moreover, by way of additional guard,
A great big dog runs loose in the yard,
And a horse-shoe is nail’d on the threshold sill,–
To keep out aught that savours of ill,–
But, alack! the chimney-pot’s open still!
— That great big dog begins to quail,
Between his hind-legs he drops his tail,
Crouch’d on the ground, the terrified hound
Gives vent to a very odd sort of a sound;
It is not a bark, loud, open, and free,
As an honest old watch-dog’s bark should be;
It is not a yelp, it is not a growl,
But a something between a whine and a howl;
And, hark!–a sound from the window high
Responds to the watch-dog’s pitiful cry:
It is not a moan,
It is not a groan;
It comes from a nose,– but is not what a nose
Produces in healthy and sound repose.
Yet Sir Thopas the Vicar is fast asleep,
And his respirations are heavy and deep!
He snores, ’tis true, but he snores no more
As he’s aye been accustom’d to snore before,
And as men of his kidney are wont to snore;–
(Sir Thopas’s weight is sixteen stone four
He draws his breath like a man distress’d
By pain or grief, or like one oppress’d
By some ugly old Incubus perch’d on his breast.
A something seems
To disturb his dreams,
And thrice on his ear, distinct and clear,
Falls a voice as of somebody whispering near
In still small accents, faint and few,
‘Hey down the chimney-pot!–Hey after you!’
Throughout the Vicarage, near and far,
There is no lack of bolt or of bar,
Plenty of locks
To closet and box,
Yet the pantry wicket is standing ajar!
And the little low door, through which you must go,
Down some half-dozen steps, to the cellar below,
Is also unfasten’d, though no one may know,
By so much as a guess, how it comes to be so;
For wicket and door,
The evening before,
Were both of them lock’d, and the key safely placed
On the bunch that hangs down from the Housekeeper’s waist.
Oh! ’twas a jovial sight to view
In that snug little cellar that frolicsome crew!–
Old Goody Price
Had got something nice,
A turkey-poult larded with bacon and spice;–
Old Goody Jones
Would touch nought that had bones,–
She might just as well mumble a parcel of stones.
Goody Jones, in sooth, had got never a tooth,
And a New-College pudding of marrow and plums
Is the dish of all others that suiteth her gums.
Madge Gray was picking
The breast of a chicken,
Her coal-black eye, with its glance so sly,
Was fixed on Rob Gilpin himself, sitting by
With his heart full of love, and his mouth full of pie;
Grouse pie, with hare
In the middle, is fare
Which, duly concocted with science and care,
Doctor Kitchener says, is beyond all compare;
And a tenderer leveret
Robin had never ate;
So, in after times, oft he was wont to asseverate.
‘Now pledge we the wine-cup!–a health! a health!
Sweet are the pleasures obtain’d by stealth!
Fill up! fill up!– the brim of the cup
Is the part that aye holdeth the toothsomest sup!
Here’s to thee, Goody Price! Goody Jones, to thee!
To thee, Roving Rob! and again to me!
Many a sip, never a slip
Come to us four ‘twixt the cup and the lip!’
The cups pass quick,
The toasts fly thick,
Rob tries in vain out their meaning to pick,
But hears the words ‘Scratch,’ and ‘Old Bogey,’ and ‘Nick.’
More familiar grown,
Now he stands up alone,
Volunteering to give them a toast of his own.
‘A bumper of wine!
Fill thine! Fill mine!
Here’s a health to old Noah who planted the Vine!’
Oh then what sneezing,
What coughing and wheezing,
Ensued in a way that was not over pleasing!
Goody Price, Goody Jones, and the pretty Madge Gray,
All seem’d as their liquor had gone the wrong way.
But the best of the joke was, the moment he spoke
Those words which the party seem’d almost to choke,
As by mentioning Noah some spell had been broke,
Every soul in the house at that instant awoke!
And, hearing the din from barrel and bin,
Drew at once the conclusion that thieves had got in.
Up jump’d the Cook and caught hold of her spit;
Up jump’d the Groom and took bridle and bit;
Up jump’d the Gardener and shoulder’d his spade;
Up jump’d the Scullion,– the Footman,– the Maid;
(The two last, by the way, occasion’d some scandal,
By appearing together with only one candle,
Which gave for unpleasant surmises some handle
Up jump’d the Swineherd,– and up jump’d the big boy,
A nondescript under him, acting as pig boy;
Butler, Housekeeper, Coachman — from bottom to top
Everybody jump’d up without parley or stop,
With the weapon which first in their way chanced to drop,–
Whip, warming-pan, wig-block, mug, musket and mop.
Last of all doth appear,
With some symptoms of fear,
Sir Thopas in person to bring up the rear,
In a mix’d kind of costume, half Pontificalibus,
Half what scholars denominate Pure Naturalibus;
Nay, the truth to express,
As you’ll easily guess,
They have none of them time to attend much to dress;
But He or She,
As the case may be,
He or She seizes what He or She pleases,
Trunk-hosen or kirtles, and shirts or chemises.
And thus one and all, great and small, short and tall,
Muster at once in the Vicarage-hall,
With upstanding locks, starting eyes, shorten’d breath,
Like the folks in the Gallery Scene in Macbeth,
When Macduff is announcing their Sovereign’s death.
And hark! what accents clear and strong,
To the listening throng come floating along!
‘Tis Robin encoring himself in a song–
‘Very good song! very well sung!
Jolly companions every one!’–
On, on to the cellar! away! away!
On, on, to the cellar without more delay!
The whole posse rush onwards in battle array.
Conceive the dismay of the party so gay,
Old Goody Jones, Goody Price, and Madge Gray,
When the door bursting wide, they descried the allied
Troops, prepared for the onslaught, roll in like a tide,
And the spits, and the tongs, and the pokers beside!–
‘Boot and saddle’s the word! mount, Cummers, and ride!’–
Alarm was ne’er caused more strong and indigenous
By cats among rats, or a hawk in a pigeon-house;
Quick from the view
Away they all flew,
With a yell, and a screech, and a halliballoo,
‘Hey up the chimney! Hey after you!’
The Volscians themselves made an exit less speedy
From Corioli, ‘flutter’d like doves’ by Macready.
They are gone, save one,
Robin, whose high state of civilization
Precludes all idea of aërostation,
And who now has no notion
Of more locomotion
Than suffices to kick, with much zeal and devotion,
Right and left at the party, who pounced on their victim,
And maul’d him, and kick’d him, and lick’d him, and prick’d him,
As they bore him away scarce aware what was done,
And believing it all but a part of the fun,
Hic — hiccoughing out the same strain he’d begun,
‘Jol — jolly companions every one!’
Scarce bursts into day
Ere at Tappington Hall there’s the deuce to pay;
The tables and chairs are all placed in array
In the old oak-parlour, and in and out
Domestics and neighbours, a motley rout,
Are walking, and whispering, and standing about;
And the Squire is there
In his large arm-chair,
Leaning back with a grave magisterial air;
In the front of his seat a
Huge volume, called Fleta,
And Bracton, both tomes of an old-fashion’d look,
And Coke upon Lyttleton, then a new book;
And he moistens his lips
With occasional sips
From a luscious sack-posset that smiles in a tankard
Close by on a side-table — not that he drank hard,
But because at that day,
I hardly need say,
The Hong Merchants had not yet invented How Qua,
Nor as yet would you see Souchong or Bohea
At the tables of persons of any degree:
How our ancestors managed to do without tea
I must fairly confess is a mystery to me;
Yet your Lydgates and Chaucers
Had no cups and saucers;
Their breakfast, in fact, and the best they could get,
Was a sort of a déjeûner à la fourchette;
Instead of our slops
They had cutlets and chops,
And sack-possets, and ale in stoups, tankards, and pots;
And they wound up the meal with rumpsteaks and ‘schalots.
Now the Squire lifts his hand
With an air of command,
And gives them a sign, which they all understand,
To bring in the culprit; and straightway the carter
And huntsman drag in that unfortunate martyr,
Still kicking, and crying, ‘Come,– what are you arter?’
The charge is prepared, and the evidence clear,
‘He was caught in the cellar a-drinking the beer!
And came there, there’s very great reason to fear,
With companions,– to say but the least of them,– queer;
Such as Witches, and creatures
With horrible features,
And horrible grins,
And hook’d noses and chins,
Who’d been playing the deuce with his Reverence’s binns.’
The face of his worship grows graver and graver,
As the parties detail Robin’s shameful behaviour;
Mister Buzzard, the clerk, while the tale is reciting,
Sits down to reduce the affair into writing,
With all proper diction,
And due ‘legal fiction;’
Viz: ‘That he, the said prisoner, as clearly was shown,
Conspiring with folks to deponents unknown,
With divers, that is to say, two thousand, people,
In two thousand hats, each hat peak’d like a steeple,
With force and with arms,
And with sorcery and charms,
Upon two thousand brooms
Enter’d four thousand rooms;
To wit, two thousand pantries, and two thousand cellars,
Put in bodily fear twenty-thousand in-dwellers,
And with sundry,– that is to say, two thousand,– forks,
Drew divers,– that is to say, ten thousand,– corks,
And, with malice prepense, down their two thousand throttles,
Emptied various,–that is to say, ten thousand,– bottles;
All in breach of the peace, moved by Satan’s malignity,
And in spite of King James, and his Crown, and his Dignity.’
At words so profound
Rob gazes around,
But no glance sympathetic to cheer him is found.
— No glance, did I say?
Yes, one!– Madge Gray!–
She is there in the midst of the crowd standing by,
And she gives him one glance from her coal-black eye,
One touch to his hand, and one word to his ear,–
(That’s a line which I’ve stolen from Sir Walter, I fear,)–
While nobody near
Seems to see her or hear;
As his worship takes up, and surveys with a strict eye
The broom now produced as the corpus delicti,
Ere his fingers can clasp,
It is snatch’d from his grasp,
The end poked in his chest with a force makes him gasp,
And, despite the decorum so due to the Quorum,
His worship’s upset, and so too is his jorum;
And Madge is astride on the broomstick before’em.
‘Hocus Pocus! Quick, Presto! and Hey Cockalorum!
Mount, mount for your life, Rob!– Sir Justice, adieu!–
— Hey up the chimney-pot! hey after you!’
Through the mystified group,
With a halloo and whoop,
Madge on the pommel, and Robin en croupe,
The pair through the air ride as if in a chair,
While the party below stand mouth open and stare!
‘Clean bumbaized’ and amazed, and fix’d, all the room stick,
‘Oh! what’s gone with Robin,– and Madge,– and the broomstick?’
Ay, ‘what’s gone’ indeed, Ned?– of what befell
Madge Gray, and the broomstick I never heard tell;
But Robin was found, that morn, on the ground,
In yon old grey Ruin again, safe and sound,
Except that at first he complain’d much of thirst,
And a shocking bad headach, of all ills the worst,
And close by his knee
A flask you might see,
But an empty one, smelling of eau de vie.
Rob from this hour is an alter’d man;
He runs home to his lodgings as fast as he can,
Sticks to his trade,
Marries Miss Slade,
Becomes a Te-totaller — that is the same
As Te-totallers now, one in all but the name;
Grows fond of Small-beer, which is always a steady sign,
Never drinks spirits except as a medicine;
Learns to despise
Minds pretty girls no more than so many Guys;
Has a family, lives to be sixty, and dies!
Now my little boy Ned,
Brush off to your bed,
Tie your night-cap on safe, or a napkin instead,
Or these terrible nights you’ll catch cold in your head;
And remember my tale, and the moral it teaches,
Which you’ll find much the same as what Solomon preaches.
Don’t flirt with young ladies! don’t practise soft speeches;
Avoid waltzes, quadrilles, pumps, silk hose, and kneebreeches;–
Frequent not grey ruins,–shun riot and revelry,
Hocus Pocus, and Conjuring, and all sorts of devilry;–
Don’t meddle with broomsticks,–they’re Beelzebub’s switches;
Of cellars keep clear,–they’re the devil’s own ditches;
And beware of balls, banquettings, brandy, and — witches!
Above all! don’t run after black eyes,– if you do,–
Depend on’t you’ll find what I say will come true,–
Old Nick, some fine morning, will ‘hey after you!
When I die, leave my corpse there.
There where they vivisect dead bodies,
In the mortuary of the Medical College.
For I’ve vowed to donate my mortal frame there.
So leave me after death at Kolkata.
The city has willed to disown me in life,
Will she accept me after death?
How are you Many days, many thousand of days I don’t see you ma,
Many thousand of days I don’t hear your voice,
Many thousand of days I don’t feel your touch.
You were here, but never knew you were hear.,
As if you were made to be here for as long as I am
You filled my needs like a magician
When I got hungry., when I was thirsty,
When I wanted to play, when my heart opened, when my heart closed,
You knew before I knew.
You brought forth all my wishes
You remained behind in the shadows.
I took all the pleasures for myself by having u out of my sight, out of my mind
No one gave you anything, no one loved you, not even me.
I never considered you as human
Were you, were u a human being?
You were a slave for my happiness
Like a magician you gave anything and everything whatever I wanted
Near my hands, near my feet, near my mouth,
You gave even before I wanted
You never received any single smile.
You were behind, u were out of the party,
You were under a tree, alone in the dark.
Were you at all a human being?
You were nothing but a pawn.
Not a human being.
You were the cleaner, the cook, the one behind the smoke
You alone bore all your pain,
You cried alone with your misery
No one was there for u, no one was there to hold you, not even me.
You cured other’s diseases like a magician,
No one cured you, not even me.
I killed you before you knew that I was killing you..
You are not here,
Suddenly I feel through my spine inside my veins, that you are not here.
You are not anymore.
When you were here, I did not know that you were here
When you were here, I never wanted to know how you were.
My pride is barred under the stone of your intolerable absence
I want to bear the same pain as u once bored
I cant, I could not,
How is it possible?
I am not a kind like you, I am not a human like you.
I watched as they ruptured,
ash black and pallid I saw mountainous clouds
split and spew rain
for two hours.
Everywhere water, plants and rainwater,
a riot of green on the earth.
My lover’s gone off
to some foreign country,
sopping wet at our doorway
I watch the clouds rupture.
Mira says, nothing can harm him.
This passion has yet
to be slaked.
Something has reached out and taken in the beams of my eyes. There is a longing, it is for his body, for every hair of that dark body.
All I was doing was being, and the Dancing Energy came by my house.
His face looks curiously like the moon, I saw it from the side, smiling.
My family says: ‘Don’t ever see him again!’ And they imply things in a low voice.
But my eyes have their own life; they laugh at rules, and know whose they are.
I believe I can bear on my shoulders whatever you want to say of me.
Mira says: Without the energy that lifts mountains, how am I to live?
You taught Your songs to the birds first,
why was that?
And You practised Your love in the hearts of animals
before You created man,
I know the planets talk at night
and tell secrets
A limb just moved before me,
the beauty of this world
is causing me to
In my travels I spent time with a great yogi. Once he said to me.
“Become so still you hear the blood flowing
through your veins.”
One night as I sat in quiet,
I seemed on the verge of entering a world inside so vast
I know it is the source of
The plums tasted
sweet to the unlettered desert-tribe girl-
but what manners! To chew into each! She
low-caste, ill mannered and dirty,
but the god took the
fruit she’d been sucking.
Why? She’d knew how to love.
She might not distinquish
splendor from filth
but she’d tasted the nectar of passion.
Might not know any Veda,
but a chariot swept her away-
now she frolics in heaven, esctatically bound
to her god.
The Lord of Fallen Fools, says Mira,
will save anyone
who can practice rapture like that-
I myself in a previous birth
was a cowherding girl
A man, infirm
With age, slowly sucks
A fish bone.
a cuckoo cries
and through a thicket of bamboo
the late moon shines
A field of cotton–
as if the moon
At a hermitage:
A cool fall night–
getting dinner, we peeled
A cold rain starting
And no hat —
A cicada shell;
it sang itself
this deep in fall–
still not a butterfly.
of the peony.
you make the fire
and I’ll show you something wonderful:
a big ball of snow!
LORD BUDDHA, on thy Lotus-throne,
With praying eyes and hands elate,
What mystic rapture dost thou own,
Immutable and ultimate?
What peace, unravished of our ken,
Annihilate from the world of men?
The wind of change for ever blows
Across the tumult of our way,
To-morrow’s unborn griefs depose
The sorrows of our yesterday.
Dream yields to dream, strife follows strife,
And Death unweaves the webs of Life.
For us the travail and the heat,
The broken secrets of our pride,
The strenuous lessons of defeat,
The flower deferred, the fruit denied;
But not the peace, supremely won,
Lord Buddha, of thy Lotus-throne.
With futile hands we seek to gain
Our inaccessible desire,
Diviner summits to attain,
With faith that sinks and feet that tire;
But nought shall conquer or control
The heavenward hunger of our soul.
The end, elusive and afar,
Still lures us with its beckoning flight,
And all our mortal moments are
A session of the Infinite.
How shall we reach the great, unknown
Nirvana of thy Lotus-throne?
UNWILLING priestess in thy cruel fane,
Long hast thou held me, pitiless god of Pain,
Bound to thy worship by reluctant vows,
My tired breast girt with suffering, and my brows
Anointed with perpetual weariness.
Long have I borne thy service, through the stress
Of rigorous years, sad days and slumberless nights,
Performing thine inexorable rites.
For thy dark altars, balm nor milk nor rice,
But mine own soul thou’st ta’en for sacrifice:
All the rich honey of my youth’s desire,
And all the sweet oils from my crushed life drawn,
And all my flower-like dreams and gem-like fire
Of hopes up-leaping like the light of dawn.
I have no more to give, all that was mine
Is laid, a wrested tribute, at thy shrine;
Let me depart, for my whole soul is wrung,
And all my cheerless orisons are sung;
Let me depart, with faint limbs let me creep
To some dim shade and sink me down to sleep.
O YOUNG through all thy immemorial years! Rise, Mother, rise, regenerate from thy gloom,
And, like a bride high-mated with the spheres,
Beget new glories from thine ageless womb!
The nations that in fettered darkness weep
Crave thee to lead them where great mornings break . . . .
Mother, O Mother, wherefore dost thou sleep?
Arise and answer for thy children’s sake!
Thy Future calls thee with a manifold sound
To crescent honours, splendours, victories vast;
Waken, O slumbering Mother and be crowned,
Who once wert empress of the sovereign Past.
The serpents are asleep among the poppies, The fireflies light the soundless panther’s way
To tangled paths where shy gazelles are straying,
And parrot-plumes outshine the dying day.
O soft! the lotus-buds upon the stream
Are stirring like sweet maidens when they dream.
A caste-mark on the azure brows of Heaven,
The golden moon burns sacred, solemn, bright
The winds are dancing in the forest-temple,
And swooning at the holy feet of Night.
Hush! in the silence mystic voices sing
And make the gods their incense-offering.
A KOKILA called from a henna-spray:
Lira! liree! Lira! liree!
Hasten, maidens, hasten away
To gather the leaves of the henna-tree.
Send your pitchers afloat on the tide,
Gather the leaves ere the dawn be old,
Grind them in mortars of amber and gold,
The fresh green leaves of the henna-tree.
A kokila called from a henna-spray:
Lira! liree! Lira! liree!
Hasten maidens, hasten away
To gather the leaves of the henna-tree.
The tilka’s red for the brow of a bride,
And betel-nut’s red for lips that are sweet;
But, for lily-like fingers and feet,
The red, the red of the henna-tree.
SEE how the speckled sky burns like a pigeon’s throat, Jewelled with embers of opal and peridote.
See the white river that flashes and scintillates,
Curved like a tusk from the mouth of the city-gates.
Hark, from the minaret, how the muezzin’s call
Floats like a battle-flag over the city wall.
From trellised balconies, languid and luminous
Faces gleam, veiled in a splendour voluminous.
Leisurely elephants wind through the winding lanes,
Swinging their silver bells hung from their silver chains.
Round the high Char Minar sounds of gay cavalcades
Blend with the music of cymbals and serenades.
Over the city bridge Night comes majestical,
Borne like a queen to a sumptuous festival.
Nay, do not grieve tho’ life be full of sadness, Dawn will not veil her spleandor for your grief,
Nor spring deny their bright, appointed beauty
To lotus blossom and ashoka leaf.
Nay, do not pine, tho’ life be dark with trouble,
Time will not pause or tarry on his way;
To-day that seems so long, so strange, so bitter,
Will soon be some forgotten yesterday.
Nay, do not weep; new hopes, new dreams, new faces,
The unspent joy of all the unborn years,
Will prove your heart a traitor to its sorrow,
And make your eyes unfaithful to their tears.
O YOUTH, sweet comrade Youth, wouldst thou be gone?
Long have we dwelt together, thou and I;
Together drunk of many an alien dawn,
And plucked the fruit of many an alien sky.
Ah, fickle friend, must I, who yesterday
Dreamed forwards to long, undimmed ecstasy,
Henceforward dream, because thou wilt not stay,
Backward to transient pleasure and to thee?
I give thee back thy false, ephemeral vow;
But, O beloved comrade, ere we part,
Upon my mournful eyelids and my brow
Kiss me who hold thine image in my heart.
How neatly a cat sleeps,
sleeps with its paws and its posture,
sleeps with its wicked claws,
and with its unfeeling blood,
sleeps with all the rings-
a series of burnt circles-
which have formed the odd geology
of its sand-colored tail.
I should like to sleep like a cat,
with all the fur of time,
with a tongue rough as flint,
with the dry sex of fire;
and after speaking to no one,
stretch myself over the world,
over roofs and landscapes,
with a passionate desire
to hunt the rats in my dreams.
I have seen how the cat asleep
would undulate, how the night
flowed through it like dark water;
and at times, it was going to fall
or possibly plunge into
the bare deserted snowdrifts.
Sometimes it grew so much in sleep
like a tiger’s great-grandfather,
and would leap in the darkness over
rooftops, clouds and volcanoes.
Sleep, sleep cat of the night,
with episcopal ceremony
and your stone-carved moustache.
Take care of all our dreams;
control the obscurity
of our slumbering prowess
with your relentless heart
and the great ruff of your tail.
Out of lemon flowers
on the moonlight, love’s
lashed and insatiable
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow
from the tree’s planetarium
The harbors are big with it-
for the light and the
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
into the starry
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.
Cutting the lemon
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
to your touch:
a cup yellow
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.
You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs? and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?
I’ll tell you all the news.
I lived in a suburb,
a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
and clocks, and trees.
From there you could look out
over Castille’s dry face:
a leather ocean.
My house was called
the house of flowers, because in every cranny
geraniums burst: it was
a good-looking house
with its dogs and children.
Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember
from under the ground
my balconies on which
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
Brother, my brother!
loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
pile-ups of palpitating bread,
the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue
like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:
oil flowed into spoons,
a deep baying
of feet and hands swelled in the streets,
metres, litres, the sharp
measure of life,
the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which
the weather vane falters,
the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,
wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.
And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings —
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children’s blood.
Jackals that the jackals would despise,
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate!
Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives!
see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,
from every socket of Spain
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull’s eye of your hearts.
And you’ll ask: why doesn’t his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?
Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
In the streets!
Ode To Salt
in the salt cellar
I once saw in the salt mines.
salt sings, the skin
of the salt mines
with a mouth smothered
by the earth.
I shivered in those
when I heard
in the desert.
In its caves
the salt moans, mountain
of buried light,
crystal of the sea, oblivion
of the waves.
And then on every table
in the world,
we see your piquant
of the ancient
holds of ships,
the high seas,
of the unknown, shifting
byways of the foam.
Dust of the sea, in you
the tongue receives a kiss
from ocean night:
taste imparts to every seasoned
dish your ocean essence;
wave from the saltcellar
reveals to us
more than domestic whiteness;
in it, we taste infinitude.
Neither the heart cut by a piece of glass in a wasteland of thorns
nor the atrocious waters seen in the corners
of certain houses, waters like eyelids and eyes
can capture your waist in my hands
when my heart lifts its oaks
towards your unbreakable thread of snow.
Nocturnal sugar, spirit
of the crowns,
human blood, your kisses
send into exile
and a stroke of water, with remnants of the sea,
neats on the silences that wait for you
surrounding the worn chairs, wearing out doors.
Nights with bright spindles,
divided, material, nothing
but voice, nothing but
naked every day.
Over your breasts of motionless current,
over your legs of firmness and water,
over the permanence and the pride
of your naked hair
I want to be, my love, now that the tears are
into the raucous baskets where they accumulate,
I want to be, my love, alone with a syllable
of mangled silver, alone with a tip
of your breast of snow
Son : Daddy, I fell in love & want to date this awesome girl.Father : That’s great son. Who is she?
Son : It’s Sandra, the neighbour’s daughter.
Father : Ohhh I wish you hadn’t said that. I have to tell you something son, but you must promise not to tell your mother. Sandra is actually your sister.
The boy is naturally bummed out; but a couple of months later :
Son : Daddy, I fell in love again and she is even hotter!
Father : That’s great son. Who is she?
Son : It’s Angela, the other neighbour’s daughter.
Father : Ohhhh I wish you hadn’t said that. Angela is also your sister. This went on couple of times and son was so mad, He went straight to his mother crying.
Son : Mum I am so mad at dad! I fell in love with six girls but I can’t date any of them because dad is their father!
The mother hugs him affectionately and says : My love, You can date whoever you want. He isn’t your Father..!!
One day in the forest, 3 guys were just hiking along a trail when all of a sudden, a huge pack of Indians attaked them and knocked them out. When they woke up, they were at the leader of the tribe’s throne. The chief then said, “All of your lives may be spared if you can find ten of one fruit and bring them back to me.” So after a while the first man returned with 10 apples. The cheif then ordered him to stick all ten of them up his butt without making any expression at all on his face. He had a little bit of trouble with the first one and started crying while trying to put the next one in. He was soon killed. Later, the next guy came in with 10 grapes. The cheif soon ordered him to do the same as the first guy. After to the 9th grape, the man started laughing so hard for no apperant reason, and was killed. The first two guys soon met in heaven and the first guy ask the second, “Why did you start laughing? You only needed one more grape and you’d have gotten away!” The second guy answered while still laughing, “I couldn’t help it. I saw the third guy walking in with pineapples.”
Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Officer asks a young engineer fresh out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “And what starting salary are you looking for?” The engineer replies, “In the region of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.” The interviewer inquires, “Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Corvette?” The engineer sits up straight and says, “Wow! Are you kidding?” The interviewer replies, “Yeah, but you started it.”
Mother, I shall weave a chain of pearls for thy neck with my tears of sorrow.
The stars have wrought their anklets of light to deck thy feet,
but mine will hang upon thy breast.
Wealth and fame come from thee
and it is for thee to give or to withhold them.
But this my sorrow is absolutely mine own,
and when I bring it to thee as my offering
thou rewardest me with thy grace.
A woman starts dating a doctor. She eventually becomes pregnant and they don’t know what to do. About nine months later, just about the time she is going to give birth, a priest goes into the hospital for a prostate gland infection. The doctor says to the woman, “I know what we’ll do. After I’ve operated on the priest, I’ll give the baby to him and tell him it was a miracle.” “Do you think it will work?” she asks. “It’s worth a try,” he says. The doctor delivers the baby and then operates on the priest. After the operation, he goes to the priest and says, “Father, you’re not going to believe this.” “What happened?” asks the priest. “You gave birth to a child!” “But that’s impossible!” says the priest. “I just did the operation,” insists the doctor. “It’s a miracle! Here’s your baby.” About 15 years go by, and the priest realizes he must tell his son the truth. One day, he sits the boy down and says, “Son, I have something to tell you. I’m not your father.” The son says, “What do you mean, you’re not my father?” The priest replies, “I am your mother. The archbishop is your father.”
A woman starts dating a doctor. She eventually becomes pregnant and they don’t know what to do. About nine months later, just about the time she is going to give birth, a priest goes into the hospital for a prostate gland infection. The doctor says to the woman, “I know what we’ll do. After I’ve operated on the priest, I’ll give the baby to him and tell him it was a miracle.” “Do you think it will work?” she asks. “It’s worth a try,” he says. The doctor delivers the baby and then operates on the priest. After the operation, he goes to the priest and says, “Father, you’re not going to believe this.” “What happened?” asks the priest. “You gave birth to a child!” “But that’s impossible!” says the priest. “I just did the operation,” insists the doctor. “It’s a miracle! Here’s your baby.” About 15 years go by, and the priest realizes he must tell his son the truth. One day, he sits the boy down and says, “Son, I have something to tell you. I’m not your father.” The son says, “What do you mean, you’re not my father?” The priest replies, “I am your mother. The archbishop is your father.”
Wife: “How would you describe me?” Husband: “ABCDEFGHIJK.”
Wife: “What does that mean?”
Husband: “Adorable, beautiful, cute, delightful, elegant, fashionable, gorgeous, and hot.”
Wife: “Aw, thank you, but what about IJK?”
Husband: “I’m just kidding!”
Kasinath the new young singer fills the hall with sound:
The seven notes dance in his throat like seven tame birds.
His voice is a sharp sword slicing and thrusting everywhere,
It darts like lightening – no knowing where it will go when.
He sets deadly traps for himself, then cuts them away:
The courtiers listen in amazement, give frequent gasps of praise.
Only the old king Pratap Ray sits like wood, unmoved.
Haraj Lal is the only singer he likes, all others leave him cold.
From childhood he has spent so long listening to him sing –
Rag Kafi during holi, cloud-songs during the rains,
Songs for Durga at dawn in autumn, songs to bid her farewell –
His heart swelled when he heard them and his eyes swam with tears.
And on days when friends gathered and filled the hall
There were cowherds’ songs of Krsna, in raags Bhupali and Multan.
So many nights of wedding-festivity have passed in that royal house:
Servants dressed in red, hundreds of lamps alight:
The bridegroom sitting shyly in his finery and jewels,
Young friends teasing him and whispering in his ear:
Before him, singing raag Sahana, sits Baraj Lal.
The king’s heart is full of all those days and songs.
When he hears some other singer, he feels no chord inside,
No sudden magical awakening of memories of the past.
When Pratap Ray watches Kasinath he just sees his wagging head:
Tune after tune after tune, bu none with any echo in the heart.
Kasinath asks for a rest and the singing stops for a space.
Pratap Ray smilingly turns his eyes to Baraj Lal.
He puts his mouth to his ear and says, ‘Dear ustad,
Give us a song as songs ought to be, this is no song at all.
It’s all tricks and games, like a cat hunting a bird.
We used to hear songs in the old days, today they have no idea.’
Old Baraj Lal, white-haired, white turban on his head,
Bows to the assembled courtiers and slowly takes his seat.
He takes the tanpura in his wasted, heavily veined hand
And with lowered head and closed eyes begins raag Yaman-kalyap.
His quavering voice is swallowed by the enormous hall,
Is like a tiny bird in a storm, unable to fly for all it tries.
Pratap Ray, sitting to the left, encourages him again and again:
‘Superb, bravo!’ he says in his ear, ‘sing out loud.’
The courtiers are inattentive, some whisper amongst themselves,
Some of them yawn, some doze, some go off to their rooms;
Some of them call to servants, ‘Bring the bookah, bring some pan.’
Some fan themselves furiously and complain of the heat.
They cannot keep still for a minute, they shuffle or walk about –
The hall was quiet before, but every sort of noise has grown.
The old man’s singing is swamped, like a frail boat in a typhoon:
Only his shaky fingering of the tanpura shows it is there.
Music that should rise on its own joy from the depths of the heart
Is crushed by heedless clamour, like a fountain under a stone.
The song and Baraj Lal’s feelings go separate ways,
But he sings for all he is worth, to keep up the honour of his king.
One of the verses of the song has somehow slipped from his mind.
He quickly goes back, tries to get it right this time.
Again he forgets, it is lost, he shakes his head at the shame;
He starts the song at the beginning – again he has to stop.
His hand trembles doubly as he prays to his teachers name.
His voice quakes with distress, like a lamp guttering in a breeze.
He abandons the words of the song and tries to salvage the tune,
But suddenly his wide-mouthed singing breaks into loud cries.
The intricate melody goes to the winds, the rhythm is swept away –
Tears snap the thread of the song, cascade like pearls.
In shame he rests his head on the old tanpura in his lap –
He has failed to remember a song: he weeps as he did as a child.
With brimming eyes king Pratap Ray tenderly touches his friend:
‘Come, let us go from here,’ he says with kindness and love.
They leave that festive hall with its hundreds of blinding lights.
The two old friends go outside, holding each other’s hands.
Baraj says with hands clasped, ‘Master, our days are gone.
New men have come now, new styles and customs in the world.
The court we kept is deserted – only the two of us are left.
Don’t ask anyone to listen to me now, I beg you at your feet, my lord.
The singer along does not make a song, there has to be someone who hears:
One man opens his throat to sing, the other sings in his mind.
Only when waves fall on the shore do they make a harmonious sound;
Only when breezes shake the woods do we hear a rustling in the leaves.
Only from a marriage of two forces does music arise in the world.
Where there is no love, where listeners are dumb, there never can be song.’
In desperate hope I go and search for her in all the corners of my room;
I find her not.
My house is small
and what once has gone from it can never be regained.
But infinite is thy mansion, my lord,
and seeking her I have to come to thy door.
I stand under the golden canopy of thine evening sky
and I lift my eager eyes to thy face.
I have come to the brink of eternity from which nothing can vanish
—no hope, no happiness, no vision of a face seen through tears.
Oh, dip my emptied life into that ocean,
plunge it into the deepest fullness.
Let me for once feel that lost sweet touch
in the allness of the universe.
Bless this little heart, this white soul that has won the kiss of heaven for our earth.
He loves the light of the sun, he loves the sight of his
He has not learned to despise the dust, and to hanker after
Clasp him to your heart and bless him.
He has come into this land of an hundred cross-roads.
I know not how he chose you from the crowd, came to your door,
and grasped you hand to ask his way.
He will follow you, laughing the talking, and not a doubt in
Keep his trust, lead him straight and bless him.
Lay your hand on his head, and pray that though the waves
underneath grow threatening, yet the breath from above may come and
fill his sails and waft him to the heaven of peace.
Forget him not in your hurry, let him come to your heart and
I wish I could take a quiet corner in the heart of my baby’s very own world.
I know it has stars that talk to him, and a sky that stoops
down to his face to amuse him with its silly clouds and rainbows.
Those who make believe to be dumb, and look as if they never
could move, come creeping to his window with their stories and with
trays crowded with bright toys.
I wish I could travel by the road that crosses baby’s mind,
and out beyond all bounds;
Where messengers run errands for no cause between the kingdoms
of kings of no history;
Where Reason makes kites of her laws and flies them, the Truth
sets Fact free from its fetters.
If baby only wanted to, he could fly up to heaven this moment. It is not for nothing that he does not leave us.
He loves to rest his head on mother’s bosom, and cannot ever
bear to lose sight of her.
Baby know all manner of wise words, though few on earth can
understand their meaning.
It is not for nothing that he never wants to speak.
The one thing he wants is to learn mother’s words from
mother’s lips. That is why he looks so innocent.
Baby had a heap of gold and pearls, yet he came like a beggar
on to this earth.
It is not for nothing he came in such a disguise.
This dear little naked mendicant pretends to be utterly
helpless, so that he may beg for mother’s wealth of love.
Baby was so free from every tie in the land of the tiny
It was not for nothing he gave up his freedom.
He knows that there is room for endless joy in mother’s little
corner of a heart, and it is sweeter far than liberty to be caught
and pressed in her dear arms.
Baby never knew how to cry. He dwelt in the land of perfect
It is not for nothing he has chosen to shed tears.
Though with the smile of his dear face he draws mother’s
yearning heart to him, yet his little cries over tiny troubles
weave the double bond of pity and love.
When the heart is hard and parched up,
come upon me with a shower of mercy.
When grace is lost from life,
come with a burst of song.
When tumultuous work raises its din on all
sides shutting me out from
beyond, come to me, my lord of silence, with
thy peace and rest.
When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut
up in a corner,
break open the door, my king, and come with
the ceremony of a king.
When desire blinds the mind with delusion
and dust, O thou holy one,
thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder
You say that father write a lot of books, but what he write I don’t understand.
He was reading to you all the evening, but could you really
make out what he meant?
What nice stores, mother, you can tell us! Why can’t father
write like that, I wonder?
Did he never hear from his own mother stories of giants and
fairies and princesses?
Has he forgotten them all?
Often when he gets late for his bath you have to and call him
an hundred times.
You wait and keep his dishes warm for him, but he goes on
writing and forgets.
Father always plays at making books.
If ever I go to play in father’s room, you come and call me,
“What a naughty child!”
If I make the slightest noise you say, “Don’t you see that
father’s at his work?”
What’s the fun of always writing and writing?
When I take up father’s pen or pencil and write upon his book
just as he does,-a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,-why do you get cross with me
You never say a word when father writes.
When my father wastes such heaps of paper, mother, you don’t
seem to mind at all.
But if I take only one sheet to take a boat with, you say,
“Child, how troublesome you are!”
What do you think of father’s spoiling sheets and sheets of
paper with black marks all over both sides?
A woman starts dating a doctor. She eventually becomes pregnant and they don’t know what to do. About nine months later, just about the time she is going to give birth, a priest goes into the hospital for a prostate gland infection. The doctor says to the woman, “I know what we’ll do. After I’ve operated on the priest, I’ll give the baby to him and tell him it was a miracle.” “Do you think it will work?” she asks. “It’s worth a try,” he says. The doctor delivers the baby and then operates on the priest. After the operation, he goes to the priest and says, “Father, you’re not going to believe this.” “What happened?” asks the priest. “You gave birth to a child!” “But that’s impossible!” says the priest. “I just did the operation,” insists the doctor. “It’s a miracle! Here’s your baby.” About 15 years go by, and the priest realizes he must tell his son the truth. One day, he sits the boy down and says, “Son, I have something to tell you. I’m not your father.” The son says, “What do you mean, you’re not my father?” The priest replies, “I am your mother. The archbishop is your father.”Today’s JokeKingmanLike11661Social Media
After picking her son up from school one day, the mother asks him what he did at school. The kid replies, “I had sex with my teacher.” She gets so mad that when they get home, she orders him to go straight to his room. When the father returns home that evening, the mother angrily tells him the news of what their son had done. As the father hears the news, a huge grin spreads across his face. He walks to his son’s room and asks him what happened at school, the son tells him, “I had sex with my teacher.” The father tells the boy that he is so proud of him, and he is going to reward him with the bike he has been asking for. On the way to the store, the dad asks his son if he would like to ride his new bike home. His son responds, “No thanks Dad, my butt still hurts.”
A teacher is teaching a class and she sees that Johnny isn’t paying attention, so she asks him, “If there are three ducks sitting on a fence, and you shoot one, how many are left?” Johnny says, “None.” The teacher asks, “Why?” Johnny says, “Because the shot scared them all off.” The teacher says, “No, two, but I like how you’re thinking.” Johnny asks the teacher, “If you see three women walking out of an ice cream parlor, one is licking her ice cream, one is sucking her ice cream, and one is biting her ice cream, which one is married?” The teacher says, “The one sucking her ice cream.” Johnny says, “No, the one with the wedding ring, but I like how you’re thinking!”
Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House. One is from Chicago, another is from Tennessee, and the third is from Minnesota. All three go with a White House official to examine the fence. The Minnesota contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.” The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.” The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$2,700.” The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?” The Chicago contractor whispers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.” “Done!” replies the government official. And that, my friends, is how the new stimulus plan will work.
Pity, in place of love,
That pettiest of gifts,
Is but a sugar-coating over neglect.
Any passerby can make a gift of it
To a street beggar,
Only to forget the moment the first corner is turned.
I had not hoped for anything more that day.
You left during the last watch of night.
I had hoped you would say goodbye,
Just say ‘Adieu’ before going away,
What you had said another day,
What I shall never hear again.
In their place, just that one word,
Bound by the thin fabric of a little compassion
Would even that have been too much for you to bear?
When I first awoke from sleep
My heart fluttered with fear
Lest the time had been over.
I rushed out of bed.
The distant church clock chimed half past twelve
I sat waiting near the door of my room
Resting my head against it,
Facing the porch through which you would come out.
Even that tiniest of chances
Was snatched away by fate from hapless me;
I fell asleep
Shortly before you left.
Perhaps you cast a sidelong glance
At my reclining body
Like a broken boat left high and dry.
Perhaps you walked away with care
Lest you wake me up.
Awaking with a start I knew at once
That my vigil had been wasted
I realised, what was to go went away in a moment,
What was to stay behind stayed on
For all time.
Like that of a birds’ nest bereft of birds
On the bough of a songless tree.
With the lifeless light of the waning moon was now blended
The pallor of dawn
Spreading itself over the greyness of my empty life.
I walked towards your bedroom
For no reason.
Outside the door
Burnt a smoky lantern covered with soot,
The porch smelt of the smouldering wick.
Over the abandoned bed the flaps of the rolled-up mosquito-net
Fluttered a little in the breeze.
Seen in the sky outside through the window
Was the morning star,
Witness of all sleepless people
Bereft of hope.
Suddenly I found you had left behind by mistake
Your gold-mounted ivory walking stick.
If there were time, I thought,
You might come back from the station to look for it,
But not because
You had not seen me before going away.
I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side. The works
that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite,
and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and
the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.
Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing
dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.
That I should make much of myself and turn it on all sides, thus casting colored shadows on thy radiance
—such is thy Maya.
Thou settest a barrier in thine own being
and then callest thy severed self in myriad notes.
This thy self-separation has taken body in me.
The poignant song is echoed through all the sky in many-coloued tears
and smiles, alarms and hopes; waves rise up and sink again,
dreams break and form.
In me is thy own defeat of self.
This screen that thou hast raised is painted with innumerable figures
with the brush of the night and the day.
Behind it thy seat is woven in wondrous mysteries of curves,
casting away all barren lines of straightness.
The great pageant of thee and me has overspread the sky.
With the tune of thee and me all the air is vibrant,
and all ages pass with the hiding and seeking of thee and me.
A flower was offered to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said ‘I’ve a pretty rose tree,’
And I passed the sweet flower o’er.
Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turned away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.
Silent, silent night,
Quench the holy light
Of thy torches bright;
For possessed of Day
Thousand spirits stray
That sweet joys betray.
Why should joys be sweet
Used with deceit,
Nor with sorrows meet?
But an honest joy
Does itself destroy
For a harlot coy.
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The river sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the tree.
Today, the first and last of every tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river.
Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca,
You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me,
Then forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of other seekers-
Desperate for gain, starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot…
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the tree planted by the river,
Which will not be moved.
I, the rock, I the river, I the tree
I am yours- your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes,
Into your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
She came home running
back to the mothering blackness
deep in the smothering blackness
white tears icicle gold plains of her face
She came home running
She came down creeping
here to the black arms waiting
now to the warm heart waiting
rime of alien dreams befrosts her rich brown face
She came down creeping
She came home blameless
black yet as Hagar’s daughter
tall as was Sheba’s daughter
threats of northern winds die on the desert’s face
She came home blameless
It is not to be thought of that the Flood
Of British freedom, which, to the open sea
Of the world’s praise, from dark antiquity
Hath flowed, ‘with pomp of waters, unwithstood,’
Roused though it be full often to a mood
Which spurns the check of salutary bands,
That this most famous Stream in bogs and sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible Knights of old:
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.-In every thing we are sprung
Of Earth’s first blood, have titles manifold.
That is work of waste and ruin–
Do as Charles and I are doing!
Strawberry-blossoms, one and all,
We must spare them–here are many:
Look at it–the flower is small,
Small and low, though fair as any:
Do not touch it! summers two
I am older, Anne, than you.
Pull the primrose, sister Anne!
Pull as many as you can.
–Here are daisies, take your fill;
Pansies, and the cuckoo-flower:
Of the lofty daffodil
Make your bed, or make your bower;
Fill your lap, and fill your bosom;
Only spare the strawberry-blossom!
Primroses, the Spring may love them–
Summer knows but little of them:
Violets, a barren kind,
Withered on the ground must lie;
Daisies leave no fruit behind
When the pretty flowerets die;
Pluck them, and another year
As many will be blowing here.
God has given a kindlier power
To the favoured strawberry-flower.
Hither soon as spring is fled
You and Charles and I will walk;
Lurking berries, ripe and red,
Then will hang on every stalk,
Each within its leafy bower;
And for that promise spare the flower
One who was suffering tumult in his soul,
Yet failed to seek the sure relief of prayer,
Went forth–his course surrendering to the care
Of the fierce wind, while mid-day lightnings prowl
Insidiously, untimely thunders growl;
While trees, dim-seen, in frenzied numbers, tear
The lingering remnant of their yellow hair,
And shivering wolves, surprised with darkness, howl
As if the sun were not. He raised his eye
Soul-smitten; for, that instant, did appear
Large space (‘mid dreadful clouds) of purest sky,
An azure disc–shield of Tranquillity;
Invisible, unlooked-for, minister
Of providential goodness ever nigh!
OF mortal parents is the Hero born
By whom the undaunted Tyrolese are led?
Or is it Tell’s great Spirit, from the dead
Returned to animate an age forlorn?
He comes like Phoebus through the gates of morn
When dreary darkness is discomfited,
Yet mark his modest state! upon his head,
That simple crest, a heron’s plume, is worn.
O Liberty! they stagger at the shock
From van to rear–and with one mind would flee,
But half their host is buried:–rock on rock
Descends:–beneath this godlike Warrior, see!
Hills, torrents, woods, embodied to bemock
The Tyrant, and confound his cruelty.
Nought loves another as itself,
Nor venerates another so,
Nor is it possible to thought
A greater than itself to know.
‘And, father, how can I love you
Or any of my brothers more?
I love you like the little bird
That picks up crumbs around the door.’
The Priest sat by and heard the child;
In trembling zeal he seized his hair,
He led him by his little coat,
And all admired the priestly care.
And standing on the altar high,
‘Lo, what a fiend is here! said he:
‘One who sets reason up for judge
Of our most holy mystery.’
The weeping child could not be heard,
The weeping parents wept in vain:
They stripped him to his little shirt,
And bound him in an iron chain,
And burned him in a holy place
Where many had been burned before;
The weeping parents wept in vain.
Are such thing done on Albion’s shore?
Cruelty has a human heart,
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And Secresy the human dress.
The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace sealed,
The human heart its hungry gorge
HEAR the voice of the Bard, Who present, past, and future, sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walk’d among the ancient trees;
Calling the lapsed soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew!
‘O Earth, O Earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass!
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumbrous mass.
‘Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.’
Chapter – 6
“Oh, dear, with the just unfolded tender leaflets of Mango trees as his incisive arrows, and with shining strings of honeybees as his bowstring, the assailant named Vasanta came very nigh, to afflict the hearts of those that are fully engaged in affairs of lovemaking…
“Oh, dear, in Vasanta, Spring, trees are with flowers and waters are with lotuses, hence the breezes are agreeably fragrant with the fragrance of those flowers, thereby the eventides are comfortable and even the daytimes are pleasant with those fragrant breezes, thereby the women are with concupiscence, thus everything is highly pleasing…
“This Spring season endows prosperity to waters of swimming pools, and to moonshine, for their water or shine is pleasurable, and even to mango trees, as their flowers are just flowered, more so, to the bejewelled girdle strings of women, for their wearing is neither cumbersome nor irksome in this season, thus it endows prosperity to womenfolk of age, as they enjoy in wearing them, thus they too, become enjoyable, these days…
“These days the flirtatious women are adorning their roundish behinds with silk cloths that are dyed with Kusumbha flower’s reddish dye, and their bosomy busts with thin silks that are dyed with ocherish and reddish colours, for thinness and silkiness are agreeable in this thinnish ambience…
“The womenfolk of age are now decorating their temples with just unfolded new whitish flowers of Karnikara, and with new and reddish Ashoka flowers and with whitish jasmines flowers in their blackish hair-locks that are swaying, thus unfolded is the beauty of these women, with the flourishing resplendence of these newly unfolded flowers…
“The bosoms of women with burly rumps, whose hearts are now flurried by the Love-god, are now sharing pearly pendants that are wetted with white sandal-paste that is bedaubed on their busts, and their biceps with circlets of bicep-lets, and their hiplines with the strings of cinctures, that are till recently unbearably coldish to touch… thus, the touch of season is romantic…
“The golden lotuses like faces of flirtatious women are tattooed with erasable foliage tattoos with black Kasturi lines, and in those designs sweat-drops are now percolating, with them those faces are delightfully beautified as gem-studded jewellery, interspersed with pearls…
“Now the limbs of womenfolk are flustered by the Love-god, thus they are panting for their need-fulfilment, hence they are now loosening the fastenings of their undergarments, since spring fever makes them sultrily fervent, thus they are enamoured of their lovers, who are tarrying at their nearby…
“The Love-god is making the limbs of sybaritic women as thinnish, palish and lethargic, and tending to yawn time and again, and with these syndromes the bodies of women are becoming restless in the spring fever, with an air of enchantment…
“Now the Love-god is diversely apparent in women, who are jaded out by hard drinks, for their eyes are fluttery, their cheeks are whitely, their bosoms are stony, their waists are slimly, and their behinds are sturdy… thus these features are the evidences for their seasonal infatuation with Him…
“Advent to spring Love-god makes the limbs of womenfolk sluggishly dizzy with sleepiness, He makes their speech a little teeter-tottering with sensualities, and He also makes their looks aslant with the knitting and unknitting of their eyebrows, seeking vehement sensual pleasures…
“The frolicsome and lustful women that are with faineance are bedaubing their whitish bosoms with sandal-paste, in which well kneaded are the fragrant seeds of Priyangu, yellowish turmeric, saffron and musk, to relieve themselves of spring fever…
“These days the people, whose limbs are wearied down with their desire induced ebullience, are wearing thinnish cloths, that are fumigated with fragrant aloe vera resin and dyed in the colour of reddish lac resin, quickly discarding their coarse clothing, for this season is neither coarse nor crude…
“The passionate male koel, black singing bird, on savouring the invigorative essence of just grown flowers of Mango trees, is gladdened and passionately kissing his love, so also this honeybee, abiding in lotuses, and savouring their nectar, this too is passionately mating with his love to her complaisance, sequestered in the petals of lotuses…
“Delightful are the branches of mango trees that are laden with bunches of coppery tender leaves, and with just flowered flowers, and with their heads a little bent down, for they simile with the bashful women, whose heads are with flowery hairdos and coppery half-veils, and a little bent down and swaying in lustiness, like mango treetops that are gently swaying, swayed by the gentle breezes of this season, and on identifying themselves with those mango trees, the womenfolk is rendered muchly overenthusiastic for love, in this spring time…
“All-over adorned are those Ashoka trees with bunches of reddish folioles, and reddish flowers that resemble the hue of red corals, and when the new entrants to adulthood are observing those unfolded red flowers, those Ashoka trees are making them agonised, for unfulfilled is their new longing for a newish love…
“The charming flowers of mango trees are with delightful thickish buds, and they are overly swilled by tipsy honeybees, and slow breezes are flurrying and tilting their delicate leaflets, thus when lovelorn youngsters observe them, their hearts are quickly ecstasized by those mango trees…
“Oh, dear, the mien of this season is akin to the facial resplendence of ladyloves, with the utmost beauty of the clusters of flowers of Kuravaka plants that are uprisen in this season, and if this is observed by any good-hearted person, won’t his heart be agonised, indeed, struck by the arrow of Love-god?
“The ruddy flowers in springtime are sprung by the winds simile with the reddy flames that are just now set to flame, and everywhere the earth is overspread with such brakes of Kimshuka trees, and presently when their treetops are bent under the weight of those red flowers, whole of this earth similes with a new bride, shining forth in her new bridal redly costume, and her head a little bent under the half-veil of that costume…
“Aren’t the youthful hearts of youthful lovers that are hidden in the hearts of their pretty faced ladyloves unsplit by these Kimshuka flowers, that are in shine with the reddish bills of parrots… aren’t they already and definitely burnt by the flame-like redly Karnikaara flowers… then why for this Kokila, the black singing bird, is again gnawing away those hearts, with its gnawingly melodious singing…
“Passion is surging out in male Kokila-s, singing birds, as they obtained jollity in this springtime on chewing mango flowers, thus they are singing inexplicably, and the honeybees, when they are drunk with the flowery nectar of those flowers, they are also droning hums murmuringly as their drinking song, and with these hums and drones the hearts of new brides are flustered in a trice, even if they are in the service of their in-laws, where certain docility and prudishness are in demand…
“On the departure of mist-fall in springtime, the propitious breeze is breezing pleasantly to undulate the flowered branches of Mango trees, and to transmit the singings of Kokila-s in all directions, thereby to steal the hearts of humans, who can neither be blatant nor silent, of their longings…
“These days the pleasure gardens are brightened up with whitely jasmines, thus they simile with the toothy grins of sprightly brides, and hence they are heart-stealing, and these gardens are now stealing the hearts of saints or sages that have neutralised their materialistic indulgences long back, as such, these gardens must have stolen the hearts of youths, which are already tainted with seasonal sensualities…
“This Madhu month, Chaitra, nectarean month at the end of springtime, is forcefully stealing away the hearts of people, for the womenfolk, whose bodies are slenderised by the pride of Love-god, is eyeful with their golden strings of girdle that are pensile onto their hiplines, and their bosoms are clung by pendulous pearly pendants, besides, earful are the singings of Kokila-s and the humming of honeybees…
“These interiors of visible horizon are comprised of mountains that are adorned with divers and delightful flowery trees, and the areas of those mountainsides are hurly-burly with the singings of Kokila-s, and the masses of their rock faces are hemmed in and enwrapped with fragrant mountainy moss, that comes out now when those rocks were fissured during last summer, to see such an environ, all the people are rejoiced…
“On seeing a flowered mango tree, the frame of mind of any itinerant is overly woebegone, for he is dissociated with his ladylove, thus he shuts his eyes unable to behold that ladylike mango tree with her hairdo overlaid with flowers, and obstructs his nose, for the fragrance of this ladylike mango tree is akin to his ladylove, thus he goes into a state of woefulness, and even he bewails and shrieks loudly… thus pitiless is this season, Vasanta, Spring for singletons…
“Delightful is this flowery month with the racketing of lusty honeybees and Kokila-s around, and with flowered mango trees that fruit sweet mangos, and with Karniakra flowers, and each of these is becoming as though an acute of arrow of Love-god, that ecstasies and even cleaves the hearts of self-respectful women, who cannot explicitly explain their pangs for love, nor can suffer them, implicitly…
“Whose best arrow is the delightful cluster of mango flowers, whose bow is the Kimshuka flower, whose bowstring is the beeline, whose silvery parasol is the immaculate silvern moon, whose ruttish elephant for ride is the rutted breeze from Mt. Malaya, that waft the scent of sandalwood, which will be rutting, and whose panegyrists are the singing birds, namely Kokila-s, and such as he is, he that vanquisher of worlds, that formless Love-god, pairing up with his friend, namely Vasanta, the Spring season, that Love-god lavishes serendipities on you all, generously…
The slender young woman who is there would be the premier creation by the
Creator in the sphere of women, with fine teeth, lips like a ripe bimba fruit, a
slim waist, eyes like a startled gazelle’s, a deep navel, a gait slow on account
of the weight of her hips, and who is somewhat bowed down by her breasts.
You should know that she whose words are few, my second life, is like a
solitary female cakravaka duck when I, her mate, am far away. While these
weary days are passing, I think the girl whose longing is deep has taken on an
altered appearance, like a lotus blighted by frost.
Surely the face of my beloved, her eyes swollen from violent weeping, the
colour of her lower lip changed by the heat of her sighs, resting upon her
hand, partially hidden by the hanging locks of her hair, bears the miserable
appearance of the moon with its brightness obscured when pursued by you.
She will come at once into your sight, either engaged in pouring oblations, or
drawing from memory my portrait, but grown thin on account of separation,
or asking the sweet-voiced sarika bird in its cage, ‘I hope you remember the
master, O elegant one, for you are his favourite’;
Or having placed a lute on a dirty cloth on her lap, friend, wanting to sing a
song whose words are contrived to contain my name, and somehow plucking
the strings wet with tears, again and again she forgets the melody, even though she composed it herself;
Or engaged in counting the remaining months set from the day of our
separation until the end by placing flowers on the ground at the threshold, or
enjoying acts of union that are preserved in her mind. These generally are the
diversions of women when separated from their husbands.
During the day, when she has distractions, separation will not torment her so
much. I fear that your friend will have greater suffering at night without
distraction. You who carry my message, positioned above the palace roof-top,
see the good woman at midnight, lying on the ground, sleepless, and cheer her thoroughly.
Grown thin with anxiety, lying on one side on a bed of separation, resembling
the body of the moon on the eastern horizon when only one sixteenth part
remains, shedding hot tears, passing that night, lengthened by separation,
which spent in desired enjoyments in company with me would have passed in an instant.
Covering with eyelashes heavy with tears on account of her sorrow, her eyes
which were raised to face the rays of the moon, which were cool with nectar
and which entered by way of the lattice, fall again on account of her previous
love, like a bed of land-lotuses on an overcast day, neither open nor closed.
She whose sighs that trouble her bud-like lower lip will surely be scattering
the locks of her hair hanging at her cheek, dishevelled after a simple bath,
thinking how enjoyment with me might arise even if only in a dream, yearning
for sleep, the opportunity for which is prevented by the affliction of tears;
She who is repeatedly pushing from the curve of her cheek with her hand
whose nails are unkempt, the single braid, plaited by me, stripped of its
garland, on the first day of our separation, which will be loosened by me when
I am free from sorrow at the expiry of the curse, and which is rough to the touch, stiff, and hard.
That frail woman, supporting her tender body which he has laid repeatedly in
great suffering on a couch, will certainly cause even you to shed tears in the
form of fresh rain. Generally all tender-hearted beaing have a compassionate disposition.
I know that the mind of your friend is filled with accumulated love for me. On
account of that I imagine her condition thus at our first separation. Even the
thought of my good fortune does not make me feel like talking. All that I have
said, brother, will be before your eyes before long.
I think of the eyes of that deer-eyed one, the sideways movements of which
are concealed by her hair, which are devoid of the glistening of collyrium,
which have forgotten the play of their eyebrows on account of abstinence
from sweet liqour, and whose upper eyelids tremble when you are near: these
eyes take on the semblance of the beauty of a blue lotus that is trembling with the movement of a fish.
And her lovely thigh will tremble, being without the impressions of my
fingernails, caused to abandon it long-accustomed string of pearls by the
course of fate, used to the caresses of my hand at the end of our enjoyment,
and as pale as the stem of a beautiful plantain palm.
At that time, O cloud, if she is enjoying the sleep she has found, remaining
behind her, your thunder restrained, wait during the night-watch. Let not the
knot of her creeper-like arms in close embrace with me her beloved, somehow
found in a dream, fall from my neck at once.
Having woken her with a breeze cooled by your own water droplets, she will
be refreshed like the fresh clusters of buds of the malati. Your lightning held
within, being firm, begin to address her with words of thunder; she, the proud
on whose eyes are fixed on the window occupied by you:
‘O you who are not a widow, know me to be a cloud who is a dear friend of
your husband. With messages stored in my heart I have arrived at your side,
and with slow and friendly rumblings I urge along the road a multitude of
weary travellers who are eager to loosen the braids of their womenfolk.’
When this has been said, like Sita looking up at Hanuman, having beheld you
with her heart swollen with longing and having honoured you, she will listen
attentively to you further, O friend. For women, news of their beloved that
brought by a friend is little short of union.
O long-lived one, following my instructions and to bring credit to yourself,
address her thus: ‘Your partner who resides at the ashram on Ramagiri, who is
still alive though separated from you, inquires after your news, madam. This
is the very thing that is first asked by beings who may easily fall into misfortune.
He whose path is blocked by an invidious command and is at a distance, by
means of these intentions, unites his body with yours, the emaciated with the
emaciated, the afflicted with the deeply afflicted, that which is wet with tears
with that which is tearful, that whose longing is ceaseless with that which is
longed for, that whose sighs are hot with that whose sighs are even more numerous.
He who has become eager to say what is to be said in words in your ear, in the
presence of your female friends, with a desire to touch your face, he who is
beyond the range of your ears, unseen by your eyes, addresses these words
composed on account of his desire, through the agency of my mouth:
“I perceive your body in the priyangu vines, your glances in the eyes of the
startled deer, the beauty of your face in the moon, your hair in the peacock’s
feathers and the play of your eyebrows in the delicate ripples on the river, but
alas, your whole likeness is not to be found in a single thing, O passionate one.
Having painted your likeness, with mineral colours on a rock, appearing angry
because of love, as soon as I wish to paint myself fallen at your feet, my
vision is clouded again and again with copious tears. Cruel fate does not
permit our union, even in this picture.
Watching me with my arms stretched up into the air for an ardent embrace
when you have somhow been found by me in a vision or in a dream, the local
deities repeatedly shed teardrops as big as pearls on the buds of the trees.
Those winds from the snowy mountains which having broken open the sepals
of the buds of the devadaru trees become fragrant with their milky sap and
which blow southwards—they are embraced by me, O virtuous one, with the
thought that your body might previously have been touched by them.
How can the night with its long watches by compressed into a moment? How
may a day become cooler in every season? Thus my mind, whose desires are
difficult to satisfy, is rendered without refuge by the deep and burning pangs
of separation from you, O one of trembling eyes.
Indeed, ever brooding, I maintain myself by means of myself alone.
Therefore, O beautiful one, you also should not fear. Whose happiness is
endless or whose suffering is complete? The condition of life rises and falls like the felly of a wheel.
The the holder of the bow called Sharnga rises from his serpent bed, the
curse will end for me. Having closed your eyes, endure the remaining four
months. After that, we two will indulge our own various desires, increased by
separation, on nights lit by the full autumn moon.”
And he said further, “In the past you embraced my neck as we lay on our bed,
you called out something in your sleep and woke up. When I asked over and
over, you said to me with an inward smile, ‘I saw you in my dream enjoying another girl, you cheat!’
Having ascertained from the telling of this account that I am well, do not be
suspicious of me on account of any rumour, O dark-eyed one. They say that
love somehow perishes during separation, but because there is no fulfilment,
the love for that which is desired with increasing desire, becomes a even more ardent.”’
Having comforted her thus, your friens whose sorrow is great in her first
separation, return at once from the mountain whose peaks were cast up by the
bull of three-eyed one. Then you should prop up my life which flags like
kunda flowers in the morning with her words about her welfare, and an account of her.
I hope, friend, that you are firmly resolved upon this friendly service for me. I
certainly do not regard your silences as indicating refusal. When requested
you also apportion rain to the cataka cuckoos in silence, for the response of
the virtuous to those who make a request is the performance of that which is desired.
Having undertaken this favour for me who bears this request that is unworthy
of you, with thoughts of compassion for me, either out of friendship or
because you think that I am alone, proceed to your desired destination, O
cloud, your splendour enhanced by rainy season, and may you never be
separated like this even for a moment from your spouse, the lightning.
Where the palaces are worthy of comparison to you in these various aspects:
you possess lightning, they have lovely women; you have a rainbow, they are
furnished with pictures; they have music provided by resounding drums, you
produce deep, gentle rumbling; you have water within, they have floors made
of gemstones; you are lofty, their rooftops touch the sky;
Where there are decorative lotuses in the hands of the young wives; fresh
jasmine woven into their hair; where the beauty of their faces is made whiter
by the pollen of lodhra flowers; in the thick locks on their crowns are fresh
kurubaka flowers; on their ears charming shirisa flowers; and on the parting
of their hair, nipa flowers that bloom on your arrival;
Where the trees, humming with intoxicated bees, are always in flower; the lily
pools, having rows of wild geese as waistbands, always produce lotuses;
where the tails of the tame peacocks, their necks upstretched to cry out, are
always resplendent; and where the evenings are perpetually moonlit and pleasant, and darkness has been banished;
Where the tears of the lords of wealth are of utmost joy, having no other
cause, there being no suffering other than that caused by the flower-arrowed
god which is to be assuaged by union with the desired one; where there is
separation other than that arising from lovers’ quarrels; and where there is indeed no age other than youth;
Where yakshas, having assembled on the upper terraces of the palace, made of
crystal, accompanied by their excellent womenfolk, enjoy ratiphalam wine
produced by a wish-fulfilling tree, while drums whose sound resembles your deep thunder are beaten softly;
Where the girls fanned by breezes cooled by the waters of the Mandakini
river, the heat dispelled by the shade of the mandara trees that grow on its
banks, are urges by the gods to play with jewels hidden by burying them with
clenched fists in the golden sands and which are to be searched for;
Where the handfuls of powder flung by those red-lipped women bewildered
by shame when their lovers passionately pull away their linen garments, the
ties of which have been loosened and undone by restless hands, although they
reach the long-rayed jewel-lamps, they fail to extinguish them;
Where ragged clouds, like yourself, brought to the upper stories of the palaces
by the leader of the wind, having committed the misdeed of shedding
raindrops on a painting, cleverly imitating puffs of smoke, flee immediately by way of the lattices as if filled with dread;
Where at night the moonstones, hanging from a web of threads and shedding
full drops of water under the influence of moonbeams bright since the removal
of your obstruction, dispel the physical langour after sexual enjoyment on the
part of the women who are freed from the embraces of their lovers’ arms;
Where lovers, with inexhaustible treasure their residences, together with the
kinnaras who sing with sweet voices of the glory of the lord of wealth,
accompanied by celestial courtesans, engage in conversation and enjoy everyday the outer grove known as Vaibhraja;
Where at sunrise the route taken by women the previous night is indicated by
mandara flowers with torn petals that were shaken from their hair by the
movement of their walking, by the golden lotuses that slipped from behind
their ears, and by necklaces of strings of pearls the threads of which broke upon their breasts;
Where a single wish-fulfilling tree produces every adornment for women:
coloured garments, wine which is suitable for introducing an amorous
playfulness to the eyes, flowers together with buds which are distinctive
among ornaments, and red lac dye suitable for application to their lotus-like feet;
Where horses, as dark as leaves, rival the steeds of the sun; where elephants,
as tall as mountains, pour forth showers, like you, from the pores of their
temples; and where the foremost warriors stood in battle against the ten-faced
one, the splendour of their ornmanets surpassed by the scars of the wounds
Where the god of love does not generally carry his bow strung with bees,
knowing that the god who is the friend of the lord of wealth dwells there in
person: his task is accomplished by the amorous play of talented women
whose glances are cast by means of curved eyebrows and which are not in
vain among the objects of their desire.
There, to the north of the residence of the lord of wealth, our home is to be
recognised from afar by an arched portal as lovely as a rainbow, near which a
young mandara tree, caused to bow down by bunches of flowers that may be
touched by the hand, is cherished by my beloved like an adopted son.
And within is a pool the steps of which are studded with emerald stone, filled
with flowering golden lotuses whose stalks are of smooth chrysoberyl. On its
waters the geese that have take up residence there do not think of Lake Manas
close at hand, and are free from sorrow, having seen you.
On its bank there is a pleasure hill whose summit is studded with fine
sapphires, beautiful to behold with a hedge of golden plantain trees. Having
seen you, O friend, with flashing lightning, near at hand, I recall that mountain
with a despondent mind, thinking, ‘It is enjoyed by my spouse’.
Here is a red ashoka with trembling buds and a charming kesara near a hedge
of kurubaka and a bower of madhavi. One desires (as I do) the touch of your
friend’s left foot. The other longs for a mouthful of wine from her, having as
its pretext a craving.
And between these is a golden perch with a crystal base, studded at its foot
with gems that shine like half-grown bamboo, on which rests your friend the
blue-necked one, who, at the day’s end, is caused to dance by my beloved
with claps of her hands, made pleasant by the jingling of her bracelets.
Having seen the figures of Shanka and Padma painted near the door, by
these signs preserved in yout heart, O noble one, you may distinguish the
residence, now reduced in beauty because of my absence. Indeed, at the
setting of the sun, even the lotus does not display its own splendour.
Having shrunk at once to the size of a small elephant for the sake of a swift
descent, resting on the pleasure mountain with lovely peaks that I have
mentioned, please cast your gaze in the form of a flickering bolt of faint
lightning upon the interior of the house, like the glow of a swarm of fire-flies.
Your naturally beautiful reflection will gain entry into the clear waters of the
Gambhira River, as into a clear mind. Therefore it is not fitting that you, out
of obstinancy, should render futile her glances which are the darting leaps of
little fish, as white as night-lotus flowers.
Removing her blue garment which is her water, exposing her hips which are
her banks, it is clutched by cane-branches as if grasped by her hands.
Departure will inevitably be difficult for you who tarries, O friend. Who,
having experienced enjoyment, is able to forsake another whose loins are laid
A cool breeze, grown pleasant through contact with the scent of the earth
refreshed by your showers, which is inhaled by elephants with a pleasing
sound at their nostrils, and which is the ripener of wild figs in the forest,
gently fans you who desire to proceed to Devagiri.
There, you, taking the form of a cloud of flowers, should bathe Skanda, who
always resides there, with a shower of flowers, wet with the water of the
heavenly Ganges. For he is the energy surpassing the sun, that was born into
the mouth of the fire by the bearer of the crescent moon6 for the purpose of
protecting the forces of of the sons of Indra.
Then, with claps of thunder, magnified by their own echoes, you should cause
to dance the peacock of the son of Agni, the corners of whose eyes are bathed
by the light of the crescent moon at the head of Shiva and whose discarded
tail-feather, ringed by rays of light, Parvati placed behind her ear, next
to the petal of the blue lotus, out of her love for her son.
Having worshipped that god born in a reedbed, after you have travelled
further, your route abandoned by siddha-couples carrying lutes because they
fear rain-drops, you should descend while paying homage to the glory of
Randideva, born from the slaughter of the daughter of Surabhi, and who
arose on earth in the form or a river.
When you, the robber of the complexion of bearer of the bow Sharnga, stoop
to drink the water of that river, which is broad but appears narrow from a
distance, those who range the skies, when they look down, will certainly see
that the stream resembles a single string of pearls on the earth, enlarged at
its centre with a sapphire.
Having crossed the river, go on, making yourself into a form worthy of the
curiosity of the eyes of the women of Dashapura, adept in the amorous play of
their tendril-like eyebrows, whose dark and variageted brilliance flashes up at
the fluttering of their eyelashes, and whose splendour has been stolen from the
bees attendant on tossing kunda flowers.
Then, entering the district of Brahmavarta, accompanied by your shadow, you
should proceed to the plain of the Kurus, evocative of the battle of the
warriors, where the one whose bow is Gandiva brought down showers of
hundreds of sharp arrows, just as you bring down showers of rain on the faces
of the lotuses.
Having partaken of the waters of the Sarasvati which were enjoyed by the
bearer of the plough who was averse to war on account of his love for his
kinsfolk, after he had forsaken the wine of agreeable flavour which was
marked by the reflection of Revati’s eyes, you, friend, will be purified within:
only your colour will be black.
From there you should go to the daughter of Jahnu above the Kanakhula
mountains, where she emerges from the Himalaya, who provided a flight of
steps to heaven for the sons of Sagara, and who laughing with her foam at the
frown on the face of Gauri, made a grab at the hair of Shambhu and clasped
his crescent moon with her wave-hands.
If you, like an elephant of the gods, your front partly inclining down from the
sky to drink her waters which are pure as crystal, in an instrant, because of
your reflection on her gliding current, she would become very lovely, as if
united with the Yamuna in second location.
Having reached the mountain which is the source of that very river, whose
crags are made fragrant with the scent of the musk of the deer that recline
there, white with snow, reposing on the summit which dispells the fatigue of
travel, you will take on the splendour like that of the white soil cast up
by the bull of the three-eyed one.
If, when the wind is blowing, a forest fire were to afflict the mountain,
ignited by the friction of branches of the sarala trees, burning with its
flames the tailhairs of the yaks, it would befit you to extinguish it
completely with thousands of torrents of water, for the resources of the
great have as their fruit the alleviation of those who suffer misfortune.
The sharabha there, intent on springing in anger at you who departs from
their path, would lunge at you, only to break their own limbs. You should
cover them with a tumultuous storm of hail and rain. Who, intent upon a
fruitless endeavour, would not be the object of contempt?
There, with your body bowed in devotion, you should circumambulate the
foot-print of the one wears the half-moon diadem, which is continually
heaped with offerings from ascetics, and at the sight of which, at their
departure from the bodies, cleansed of their misdeeds, the faithful are able to
achieve the immuteable state of membership of Shiva’s following.
The bamboo canes filled with the wind sound sweetly. Victory over the three
cities is celebrated in song by the Kinnari demi-gods. If your rumbling like a
muraja drum resounds in the caves, the theme of a concert for Shiva will be
Having passed various features on the flanks of the Himalayas, proceed thence
north to Krauncarandhra, gateway for wild geese, which was the route to glory
for Bhrgupati—you whose beautiful form is flat and long, like the dark blue
foot of Vishnu uplifted for the suppression of Bali.
And having gone further, become the guest of Mt Kailasa, the seams of whose
peaks were rent by the arms of the ten-faced one and which is a mirror for
the consorts of the Thirty Gods, and which, extending with lofty peaks like
white lotuses, stands in the sky like the loud laughter of the three-eyed
one accumulated day by day.
I foresee that when you, resembling glossy powdered kohl, reach the foot of
that mountain as white as a freshly cut piece of ivory, the imminent beauty
will be fit to be gazed upon with an unerring eye, like the dark blue garment
placed on the shoulder of the plough-carrier.
And if Gauri should take a walk on the foot of that pleasure-hill, lent a hand
by Shiva who has set aside his serpent-bracelet, your shape transformed into a
flight of steps, your torrents of water withheld within yourself, become a
stairway rising in front of her for the ascent of the jewel-slopes.
There the young women of the gods will use you as a shower—you whose
waters are brought forth by the striking together of the diamonds in their
bracelets. If, friend, you were unable to release yourself from them, being
encountered in the hot season, startle them who are intent on playing with
you, with claps of thunder, harsh to the ear.
Partaking of the waters of Manasa which bring forth golden lotuses, bringing
at pleasure momentary delight like a cloth upon the face of Airavata, shaking
with your winds the sprouts of wish-fulfilling trees like garments, enjoy the
king of mountains with various playful actions, O cloud.
Once you, who wander at will, have seen Alaka seated in the lap of the
mountain like a lover, with the Ganges like a garment that has slipped, you
will not fail to recognise her again with her lofty palaces and bearing hosts of
clouds with showers of rain at the time of year when you are present,
resembling a woman whose tresses are interwoven with strings of pearls.
“Delightful are trees and fields with the outgrowth of new tender-leaves and crops, Lodhra trees are with their blossomy flowers, crops of rice are completely ripened, but now lotuses are on their surcease by far, for the dewdrops are falling… hence, this is the time of pre-winter that drew nigh…
“The busts of flirtatious women that are graced by bosomy bosoms are bedaubed and reddened with the redness of heart-stealing saffrony skincare, called Kashmir kumkum, on which embellished are the white pendants that are in shine with the whiteness of whitish dewdrops, white jasmines, and whitely moon…
“Undecorated are the hiplines of kittenish women with gem-studded golden strings of girdle, nor their lotus like feet that have the brightness of lotuses with jingling anklets, whose jingling is correlative to the clucks of swans, for the cold touch of coldish metal gives cold quivers…
“Unbearable is the touch of metallic circlets on wrists and bicep-lets on upper-arms of the couple of arms of vivacious women, or the touch of new silk cloths on the discoid of their waistline, or fine fabric on their robust breasts…
“The womenfolk are rubbing fragrant wood-turmeric powder on their bodies, and their lotus-like faces are tattooed with erasable tattoos of foliage, and their head-hair is fumigated with the fumes of aloe vera resin, and they are doing all this for merrymaking in an enjoyable lovemaking…
“Thoughgood fortune is bechanced in the happiness of lovemaking, the women of age are with sallowish and whitened faces owing to the strain of lovemaking, and though they want to laugh heartily, they desist from it, noticing very painful lower lips that are bitten with the edges of teeth of their lovers in lovemaking, lest the lip is lengthened, the pain is sharpened…
“On reaching the valleys of bosomy busts of women of age, the winter breeze is attaining their coolant splendidness, but when those bosoms are pressingly hugged by their lovers it is incarcerated there with an unable pain, and that pain is expressed by the Hemanta season, as though it is bewailing for a release of that breeze at least at dawn time, with tear-like dewdrops clinging on to the spires of grass-blades…
“Overspread with abundant rice crops and ornamented with herds of she-deer, and delightfully reverberated by the ruddy geese, with their calls and counter-calls, the complacent corridors of confines are captivating hearts…
“Now the lakes are adorned with fully blossomed black-lotuses, and elaborated with swan-like waterfowls in their excitement, and sheeted with considerably coldish waters that are depurated, thus these lakes are stealing the hearts of men, for men look up to them as the visages of women that are with black-lotus-like hairdo, with swanlike eyes, and whose bodies are cold, wanting a warm hug…
“Oh, dear, the Priyangu plants that give fragrant seeds are ripened by the snow caused coldness, and they are frequently wobbled by the snowy winds, and they now appear like the fragrant and frisky women gone into paleness and wobbliness by their dissociation from their lovers…
“These days the mouths of people are fragranced with the fragrance of liquors made from the essential oils of flowers, and their bodies are fragrant with the same fragrancy by their puffs of suspires, and while lying on beds jointly with their bodies in tight embrace, they are slipping into sleep, entwined with the essence of passion…
“The young and beautiful ladies that are new to their adulthood have bruises and marks of teeth notches on their lips, and even their bosoms are incised with nails of their lovers, thus these marks and incisions clearly indicate that they have enjoyed lovemaking consummately…
“Some woman of age staying in the warmth of tender sun to warm up herself, is holding a mirror and applying cosmetics on her lotus-like face, and while doing so, she is pouting her lips and examining them that are dented with teeth bites of her lover, whose quintessence is guzzled down by her lover in last night…
“One more woman whose body is fatigued by the strain of excessive lovemaking, and who is quiet sleepless last night, and whose eyes are palish like white lotuses, and whose bun is slithered and plaits of head-hair are loosened and hair tousling on her shoulders, bust, and on her bosoms, is tripping into sleep, warmed up by the rays of tender sun…
“Bedraggled are the loose ends of cloudlike blackish head-hair onto the lofty busty bosoms of some other slender-bodied women of age, by which busty weight crouching are their bodies, as slim pearly pendants would crouch onto their bosoms, and they are taking away the circlets of flowers from their hairdos, as those flowers are already utilised and devoid of their heart-pleasing fragrance of yester night, and now they are grooming their hair, afresh…
“On examining her body that is completely enjoyed by her lover, another woman is highly gladdened, and she remade her pleasant lips resplendently with lip-colouring, and on examining her bust with nail scratches, she embarrassedly wore her bodice, and while doing so the pain of friction of bodice with nail-scratches made her eyes to twitch, on which eyes dangling are her dark, delicate, and twitchy hair-curls…
“By the exertion in their long-lasting games of lovemaking other women of age are wearied, and their slim bodies are thrilling at their flanks from bosoms to thighs, thereby those prettily pretty women are applying bodily oils and pastes to take an oil bath, that relieves these tingling sensations…
“Pleasant with many an attribute, stealer of the hearts of women, and at which time the confines of villages are overspread with many an abundant rice-crop on earth, and overlaid is the sky with the garlanded flights of ruddy gees, that which is always with a heart-stealing environ, such as it is, let this season Hemanta, pre-winter, endow comfort to all of you passionate people…
When you come to me, unbidden, Beckoning me
To long-ago rooms,
Where memories lie.
Offering me, as to a child, an attic,
Gatherings of days too few.
Baubles of stolen kisses.
Trinkets of borrowed loves.
Trunks of secret words,
Listen now this time
Shortly to my rhyme
That herewith starts
About certain kind hearts
In those stricken parts
That lie behind Calais,
Old crones and aged men
And young children.
About the Picardais,
Who earned my thousand thanks,
Dwellers by the banks
Of mournful Somme
(God keep me therefrom
Until War ends)–
These, then, are my friends:
Madame Averlant Lune,
From the town of Bethune;
Good Professeur la Brune
From that town also.
He played the piccolo,
And left his locks to grow.
Dear Madame Hojdes,
Sempstress of Saint Fe.
With Jules and Susette
Her children, my sweethearts,
For whom I made darts
Of paper to throw
In their mimic show,
‘La guerre aux tranchees.’
That was a pretty play.
There was old Jacques Caron,
Of the hamlet Mailleton.
He let me look
At his household book,
‘Comment vivre cent ans.’
What cares I took
To obey this wise book,
I, who feared each hour
Lest Death’s cruel power
On the poppied plain
Might make cares vain!
Lived old Adelphine,
Withered and clean,
She nodded and smiled,
And used me like a child.
How that old trot beguiled
My leisure with her chatter,
Gave me a china platter
Painted with Cherubim
And mottoes on the rim.
But when instead of thanks
I gave her francs
How her pride was hurt!
She counted francs as dirt,
(God knows, she was not rich)
She called the Kaiser bitch,
She spat on the floor,
Cursing this Prussian war,
That she had known before
Forty years past and more.
There was also ‘Tomi,’
With looks sweet and free,
Who called me cher ami.
This orphan’s age was nine,
His folk were in their graves,
Else they were slaves
Behind the German line
To terror and rapine–
O, little friends of mine
How kind and brave you were,
You smoothed away care
When life was hard to bear.
And you, old women and men,
Who gave me billets then,
How patient and great-hearted!
Strangers though we started,
Yet friends we ever parted.
God bless you all: now ends
This homage to my friends.
Call it a good marriage – For no one ever questioned
Her warmth, his masculinity,
Their interlocking views;
Except one stray graphologist
Who frowned in speculation
At her h’s and her s’s,
His p’s and w’s.
Though few would still subscribe
To the monogamic axiom
That strife below the hip-bones
Need not estrange the heart,
Call it a good marriage:
More drew those two together,
Despite a lack of children,
Than pulled them apart.
Call it a good marriage:
They never fought in public,
They acted circumspectly
And faced the world with pride;
Thus the hazards of their love-bed
Were none of our damned business –
Till as jurymen we sat on
Two deaths by suicide.
O friend! hope for Him whilst you live, know whilst you live, understand whilst you live: for in life deliverance abides.
If your bonds be not broken whilst living, what hope of
deliverance in death?
It is but an empty dream, that the soul shall have union with Him
because it has passed from the body:
If He is found now, He is found then,
If not, we do but go to dwell in the City of Death.
If you have union now, you shall have it hereafter.
Bathe in the truth, know the true Guru, have faith in the true
Kabîr says: ‘It is the Spirit of the quest which helps; I am the slave of this Spirit of the quest
Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat. My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine
rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding
around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but
When you really look for me, you will see me
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.
“On the departure of rainy season bechanced is autumn with a heart-pleasingly bloomed lotus as her face, betokening the heart-pleasing face of a new bride, and the autumnal fields of white grass with whitish flowers as her apparel, which betoken the whitish bridal apparel of a new bride, and the amorously clucking clucks of swans that have just returned from Lake Maanasa as rains have gone, are the jingling anklets of autumn, which betoken the delightful jingles of anklets of new bride, and now the rice is ready to ripe and thus the tenuous stalks of rice, which have their necks a little bent down, betoken the obeisant face of a new docile bride…
“Blanched is the earth with whitish grass and the nights with silvery and coolant moonbeams of the moon, and the rivers with white swans, lakes with white-lotuses, and that forest up to its fringes with whitish jasmine flowers and with somewhat whitish seven-leaved banana plants that are swagging under the weight of their flowers…
“Presently the rivers are journeying slowly with a strutting of prideful lovely girls, for the raising and falling fishes of rivers seem to be the delightful sets of strings at the waistlines of rivers, like the sets of girdle-strings on the waists of girls, and the ranges of white waterfowls on riverbanks seem to be the whitish pearly pendants of rivers, like the pearly pendants around the bosoms of prideful girls, more so the broad sand-dunes at edges of those rivers appear to be the roundish fundaments of those rivers like that of those girls…
“With clouds that have doled out their waters, the vault of heaven is silvern somewhere, it is like the whitish conch shell elsewhere, and somewhere else it is palish like the stalks of lotuses, and the clouds on achieving their levity and moved by the speed of wind, they are splintered into hundreds of pieces and journeying away, and thus the sky appears to be a king fanned with royal-fans, called the swerving, splintering, and silvery clouds…
“The sky is looking like well-kneaded knoll of black mascara, and the earth is delightfully inscribed with the vermilion colour of safflowers that are flowered up to the visible horizon, and the swaths and even the ravines of earth are surrounded with charming lotuses… and on visualising such an environ, which heart of which adolescent person doesn’t get up to a lot of ecstasy…
“When the slothful wind is slothfully stirring up the upper branches of red-golden coloured trees, that are most lovely with peaking tender leaflets, and with muchly outcropped flowers, from which nectar is muchly trickling, that which is overly drunk by the honeybees, and when such a sylvan scenery is seen, whose heart won’t be riven…
“A girl burgeons as a damsel day by day, so the autumnal night is lengthening its night-time day by day, and as a damsel wears shiny jewellery on her nubility, this damsel, called the autumnal night, is wearing clusters of twinkling stars as her jewellery, as the veil of a damsel will be unveiled frequently presenting her face, these veils called clouds on the skyscape are now being unveiled to present the moonlike face of this autumnal damsel, and a damsel starts to wear raiment with unblemished whiteness at her pubescence, so also, this autumnal damsel’s wraparound is the immaculate moonshine…
“Inaccessible were those rivers in rainy season even for the waterfowls, barring the people, for they were ferocious and feculent, but this autumn made them placid and pure, and hence the rows of ripples of their water are pecked with the beaks of partridges for their feed, and all over on their banks and riversides, flocks and flocks of cranes and drakes are bustling, and muchly cackling are the swans, and the rivers themselves are reddened with the red-pollen grains of red-lotuses, thus those spectacular rivers, riverbanks, and riversides are rejoicingly accessible even for the people…
“These days the moon is an eye-festival and heart-stealing with his profuse moonbeams, and he is the real gladdener for he is the sprinkler of fresh and coolant dewdrops through those moonbeams, but nowadays he alone is becoming an inflamer, for he is burning the bodies of the women, who are already felled by the arrow of Love-god, which arrow is daubed with the venom, which venom is nothing but their own lusting after their itinerant husbands, that are now separated from them…
“The wind being the prime mover in nature is now wiggling the well-ripened rows of rice stalks that are curvy under the weight of their cobs, and the same wind is waggling the best trees that are saggy under the weight of their flowers, and he alone is wobbling the fully bloomed clumps of lotuses in the lakes, moreover, thus he is vehemently wriggling the hearts of young men, with his lilting breezing and lively freshness…
“The limpid waters of lakes are refurbished with bevies of couples of voluptuous swans, amongst the just bloomed white and blue lotuses that elaborate lakes, and the rows of ripples of lake-water are undulated by the oncoming slowish morning breeze, as well as by the ruffles made by swans, thus the all-time ripply lakes are ecstasizing hearts, in a trice…
“Presently evanished are the rainbows in the bellies of clouds, and indiscernible are the skyey flags, called flashes of lightning, and un-winnowed is the aerospace with the windage of wings of cranes, and peacocks are unseeing the sky with their upraised faces, agog for rains…
“The Love-god is drawing nigh of melodiously singing swans, leaving off the peacocks that have ceased to dance anymore, as there is no rain, while the grandeur of the flowers of trees like Kadamba, Kutaja, Arjuna, Sarja, Niipa already drew nigh of the seven-leaved banana plants, that flower and flourish at this time…
“The fragrance of flowers of white-flower trees is heart-stealing, and nowadays birds are not scorched by the sun, thus they are there in fine fettle, and they are calling each other reciprocally, thus those birds and their callings are heart-stealing, and the eyes of she-deer that are abiding all over there are like black-lotuses, thus with all them the woodlands and their fringes beyond ken, are ecstasizing the hearts of men…
“The dawn time breeze on recurrently winnowing the red-lotuses, white-lotuses, and the lotuses that bloom at sunrise, is in contact with those lotuses and thus acquiring more coolness, more so, on sifting the dewdrops that are clinging at the edges of leaves, that auroral breeze is very much exhilarating…
“The precincts of earth are surrounded with exuberant stretches of rice-crops, and they are glistering with stocks of cattle available there, that are robust and multiplying, and that is even reverberated with the callings of swans and drakes, thereby those interior places within the apparent horizon are thus causing an euphoric state to the spectators in this pre-autumnal season…
“The womenfolk’s very lissom gait is won by the svelte steps of swans, and moonshine of their faces is won by the efflorescent whiteness of white-lotuses, and their lustful, wily, and sidelong glances are won by the swings and sways of blue-lotuses, and even their eyebrows’ subtle flutters are won by rocks and rolls of thin ripples… thus this season is outmoding the most famous beauty of the nature, namely the womenfolk…
“The Shyaamaa climbers are decorated with their tender leaves and flowers, and by the weight these they are flexed and look like the curvaceous arms of women, that are decorated with many an ornament, flowery bracelets and leaf-thin bangles and the like, but stolen is that shine of those arms of women by these climbers of this season… and this broadly smiling season, with red Ashoka flowers as its lips and with delightful and sparkly whitish new jasmine buds as its teeth, is stealing the splendour of toothy grins of womenfolk, with their jasmine budlike teeth and roseate lips…
“These days women are furling up their longish, thickish, and blackish hair termini into buns and overstuffing them with new jasmines, and even if their ears are already inserted with best golden budlike ear-hangings, they are now inserting divers black-lotuses into their hairdo, at the back of their ears…
These days the ladies are with highly gladdened hearts for the climate is equable, thus they are decorating their globelike busts with emulsions of sandal-paste and with pendants of pearls and gold, and their girth-lines are decorated with sets of golden girdles festooned with golden tassels, and even their lotus-like feet are decorated with best anklets that have jingling bells…
“These days the vault of heaven similes with the vast of earth in their forms of exalted splendour… on the earth the lakes are bejewelled with emeraldine waters, similar is the sky with somewhat emeraldine hue… such water is overspread with white-lotuses, similar is the cloudless sky overlaid with stars… these waters are overprotective to kingly swans, similarly the vault of cloudless heaven is holding out the moon, the king of the nights…
“In this pre-autumn its ingredients are heart-pleasing, for the breezes breeze cool for touch by their association with white-lotuses, and the divisions and subdivisions of quarters can be descried, for dissipated are the clouds, and the waters can be enjoyed, for they are devoid of slush, and walkable is the earth, for its slime is dried up, and in nights the welkin is with the moon, with his immaculate moonbeams and medley of stars…
“These days when the sun arouses the lotuses with his sunrays at daybreak, they are shining forth like best damsels with flourishing visages, but when the spherule of moon has gone into faintness at dawn, even those lotuses are becoming smileless and subduing, as with the smiles of youthful women, whose lovers have journeyed away, and who grin and bear it…
“Nowadays the itinerants on noticing the splendour of eyes of their ladyloves with blackish mascara, in black-lotuses, and the chinks of their golden girdle-strings in the clucks of lustily swans, and the endearing gleam of their lower lips in the reddish flowers, they are bewailing disconcertedly, unsure of their homecoming in this season…
“The pleasing exquisiteness that has arrived with this pre-autumnal Sharat season is beating a retreat to somewhere else, on leaving the grandeur of its autumnal moon on the faces of women, and the clucky speeches of swans in their gemmy anklets, and the safflower like flower’s reddish hue on their beautiful lips…
“Unfolded lotuses as its face, unfurled blue-lotuses as its eyes, and clothed in the raiment called the outstretched new white grass-flowers, thus this Sharat, pre-autumn is heart-appeasing with the brilliance of its lotuses, and let this very season bring utmost delight to all of your hearts, like your fervent and lustful ladyloves with their visages like autumnal lotuses, eyes with mascara like autumnal blue-black lotuses, with their whitish wraparounds, like the silken white grass flowers of autumn, and let them be romantic, like this romantic Sharat season…
“Oh, dear, now the kingly monsoon is onset with its clouds containing raindrops, as its ruttish elephants in its convoy, and with skyey flashes of lighting as its pennants and buntings, and with the thunders of thunderbolts as its percussive drumbeats, thus this rainy season has come to pass, radiately shining forth like a king, for the delight of voluptuous people…
“By far, the vault of heaven is overly impregnated with massive clouds, that are similar to the gleam of blackish petals of black-costuses… somewhere they are similar to the glitter of the heaps of well-kneaded blackish mascara… and elsewhere they glisten like the blackened nipples of bosoms of pregnant women, ready to rain the elixir of life on the lips of her offspring, when that offspring is actualised…
“The stock of Caataka birds that is disquieted with thirst, and though praying prayerfully for raindrops, those water-filled danglers in the sky, namely the clouds, that have many showers to shower, and though their rumblings are heart-stealing and ear-filling indicating rainfall, but those clouds are drifting away, slowly… heedless of the prayers of poor Caataka birds…
“The clouds in their warrior-march are wielding crashes of thunderbolts as their drum kits, and the flashes of lightning as the fluttering flashes of the bowstring of rainbow, and even they are unloosening very sharp arrows from that rainbow, called the sharply torrents, only to rend the lovelorn hearts of itinerants, that too ruthlessly… in their war on behalf of their ladyloves…
“The earth with grass sprouts seems spread with lapis gems that are shred to smithereens, for the grass has yet not attained that much greenery, and muchly sprouted and overspread are the greenish leaves of Kandali plants that suddenly sprout in rainy seasons, and amidst which greensward red insects are muchly mosaicked, thus the earth is beaming forth like a best lady decorated in many coloured jewels, other than whitish diamonds and other crystalline ones…
“This cloudy and showery environ is evermore heart-pleasing to peacocks, hence they are screaming with hilarity and fidgety, and the whole stock of peacocks is brilliant when its fanlike expansive plumage is outstretched, and on impulsively petting and pecking peahens, now they have commenced their peacock-dance
“Highly intensified is the rapidity of the waters of these maidens called rivers, which similes with the promptitude of maidens with misdemeanour, where these waters are new and thus miry, while those dames are newly maturated and thus they are in the mire of maturity, while these waters are hurtling hastily towards their lover, called the ocean, with a seasonally created excitement, those damsels are flirtatiously jaunting with their flirty lovers, and in doing so both of them are reckless about their own kith and kin, since the rapid watercourse of rivers is felling its riverine trees, ubiquitously… and the flirty jaunting of those dames is felling the reputation of her family, far and wide… ah, a season is the culprit to cause a seasonal itch…
“With the advent of rains upshot are the tender sprouts of grass, and the greensward when grazed by deer and other grazers, it is divers in its hue, somewhere with blackish patches, elsewhere with stacks of grass, and somewhere else with verdant pastures, and with their upcast tender leaflets the trees are ornately decorating the Vindhya mountains, thus the environ is heart-stealing, picturesquely…
“Oh, dear, sheeny are the faces of the deer with their swiftly zipping eyes, which are akin to black-lotuses and to your eyes as well, and they the deer and you, zip your eyes more and more, when there is a thunder or a rumble, then you run into my embrace, as they run to overcrowd the white sand-beds amidst lushly thickets of forests, and this georgic beauty of forests and the graceful beauty of yours, all this is promptly rendering the heart highly ecstatic…
“Though the cloud-cover rendered the nights as pitch-dark, and though thundering is thunderous, and though the pathways on ground are indiscernible for it is pitch-black, even in such nights the lover-seeking women are making haste on those paths, that are indiscernibly shown by the flashes of torch-lights, called the flashes of lightning, for they are impassioned to meet their lovers, to all intents and purposes…
A couple sleeping on a bed, but each at the each end of that bed, and when her man is in sound sleep, she is without any rapid eye-movement, for she is thinking that rapidly about the peccadilloes of her man with some ‘other’ woman/women, and when she wanted to conclude her man to be a beguiler, as said guuDha vi priya kR^it SaThaH ‘one who performs libidinous deeds stealthily, is a beguiler…’ then a thunderous cloud thundered thunderingly, and in a trice she embraced her man in an airtight manner, notwithstanding his slyness, for he is her man… thus the seasons unite the divided…
“While their lotus-like eyes are shedding teardrops that are moistening their delicate and tender leaf-like lower lips, that are crimson in colour like Bimba fruit, a lip-like small gourd fruit that becomes crimson red when ripened, and they are rejecting their garlands, ornaments or cosmetics, for those ladyloves of itinerants are staying back at home, hopeless of the return of their men in this season, as said proSite malinaa kR^ishaa ‘by sojourners enmired and emaciated are their wives…’ thus the seasons divide the united…
“Though the rainwater is new and crystalline but when collected by river it turned to whitish yellow colour of the soil, for begrimed is the river water with dirt, grass, and insects, and when it is skittering off in a serpiginous course facing a declivitous path towards ocean, the stock of frogs that have come out of that river seeking rain, they have observed that river with some trepidation, for those frogs are sceptical whether a python is snaking or a pythonic river is slinking…
“Rains denuded the flowers of their petals, therefor on abandoning the petal-less lotuses the honeybees, solicitous of nectar and desirous to swarm the newborn peacock-coloured costuses, buzzing mellifluously they are muddle-headedly swarming on the circular fanlike plumages of peacocks, that are twitch-dancing in the rain…
“When dark clouds full with new waters are thundering repeatedly, the ruttish wild elephants are repeatedly responding them with their own trumpeting, on the premiss that the thunders are the trumping of the ‘other-she-elephants’ in rut, and while the cheeks of those elephants are shining like the shiny black-lotuses, and rife with ruttish tallowy fluids, hordes of honeybees are harrying them, for that tallowy stench…
“The silver clouds that vie with the whiteness of white lotuses are kissing the black boulders of mountains on mountaintops, while the mountainsides are bestrewn with mountain-rapids, and widespread with debut dancing of peacocks, and all this is inducing a carnivalesque visual revelry…
“The zephyr is smoothly ruffling the treetops of Kadamba, Sarja, Arjuna and Ketaki trees in woodlands, and the fragrance of those flowers is wafting windswept, further allied with the coolant clouds that are with cool droplets of rainwater, the breeze in this rainy season is muchly fragranced and coolant as well, then why can’t this breeze breath affair of the heat in any heart…
“While the braids are dangling down onto the convexities of the their fundaments, their heads coroneted with flowers of fine fragrance and while the pearly pendants are dangling from upon the convexities of their breasts, and while their gleeful faces are aromatic with strong drinks, thus these voluptuous women are niftily arousing arousal in their lovers…
“Well decorated are the water-bearing blackish clouds with the wiry flashes of lightning and with rainbows, and they are flashily dangling down with the weight of water, likewise the jewelly ear-hangings and waist-strings of the womenfolk are dangling down that flashily, thus even those vivacious women are instantly stealing the hearts of sojourners, for these exotic women are reminiscent of the ladyloves of those sojourners…
“Now the women are wearing the concatenated tassels of newborn flowers of Kadamba, Kesara, and Ketaki trees, and at the place of hairslide they are wearing the bunches of flowers of Kakubha trees as their ear-hangings, on concatenating them as they like…
“These days the women are not applying sandal-paste that is mixed with yellow camphor etc., for it will be too coolant, and hence their limbs are quietly bedaubed with the powder of aloe vera and sandal-paste as bodily scents, and with flowers bedecked as ear-hangings at hairslides, their plaited hairdo is rendered fragrant with these flowers and shampoos, such as they are, they are in the service of their in-laws in their chambers, but on hearing the rumbles of clouds, they are hastening themselves to their own bedchambers, where their men are in long wait, though the nightfall has not fallen that deep…
“The far-flung clouds are blackish like the black-lotus petals, enchased with rainbows, and they are now stooping, as with Manmadha, the Love-god, who stoops to take an aim with his love-bow, and then lightly whiffed by the whiffle of wind these clouds are milling about slowly and slowly, and the young wives of wayfarers, who are disconcerted mainly by the reason of separation from their men, and additionally by these whifflling, milling, stooping archers, called clouds, wielding rainbows as their love-bows, as they seem coming slowly and slowly only to steal the hearts of the lonely young wives of wayfarers…
“When new waters are besprinkled abated is the ardour of the forest, up to its endmost parts, that was once caused by the simmering summer, and with the newborn flowers of Kadamba trees that forest appears as though gladdened, and when the wind is whiffling the boughs, whiffled boughs are dancing as though to the tune of rumbling clouds, and in that dance the whitish needle-like blades of Mogra flowers are appearing to be that forest’s whitish toothy grins, and all-over the forest it bears those grins and giggles…
“In this rainy season when congeries of clouds have showered enough, plethoric is the flowery blossom, hence the womenfolk embed their hairdos with the tassels of Maalati flowers together with Vakula flowers, and with other new blossomy flowers, and the tassels of new buds of Kadamba flowers are pinned and pensile like their ear-hangings, and this has all the hallmarks of lovers, that decorate the hairdos of their ladyloves, themselves with their own hands…
“The women are wearing sets of chains of pearls on the top of their busty bosoms, and on their beamy pelvic girdles and on their torsos a very thin and white finery, and those torsos wear a delicately crimpy triple-waistline, while their belly wears a very fine hairline that suggests their maturity, which bristles up with the sprinkles of new water…
“By their association with droplets of new waters, the trees have collected plenteous water from new rains, thus they are aplenty with flowers, and thus their treetops are sagging under the weight of those flowers, thereby they are unfluctuating, but when nudged by the breeze fluctuated are these sagging flowery treetops, and then this breeze is absolutely stealing the hearts of itinerants, which is blent with the pleasing fragrance of those flowers, as well as with the pollen grains of Mogra flowers, for this very fragrance is remindful of their dear ones, back home…
“When weighed down with waters the clouds thought thus, ‘he, this Mt. Vindhya is our highest mainstay, as we are verily drooping with the weight of water…’ and then the clouds have descended on Mt. Vindhya and rained on him, thereby the exceedingly severe torridity of Mt. Vindhya, caused by the tongues of fire of the summer, is mollified by those torrents of rainwater, and thus the Mt. Vindhya is as though gladdened, at the good gesture of the clouds of this season…
“Heart-pleasing will be this rainy season with its many a hallmark, and this will be heart-stealing for voluptuous women, and this is the altar ego of trees, twigs and tendrils, and the élan vital of the living beings, and non-paroxysmal in fetching vaata, pitta, kapha aadi vikaara ‘air, bile, phlegm etc., disorders, hence may this rainy season endow all your expedients and expectations, frequently…
HE autumn comes, a maiden fair In slenderness and grace,
With nodding rice-stems in her hair
And lilies in her face.
In flowers of grasses she is clad;
And as she moves along,
Birds greet her with their cooing glad
Like bracelets’ tinkling song.
A diadem adorns the night
Of multitudinous stars;
Her silken robe is white moonlight,
Set free from cloudy bars;
And on her face (the radiant moon)
Bewitching smiles are shown:
She seems a slender maid, who soon
Will be a woman grown.
Over the rice-fields, laden plants
Are shivering to the breeze;
While in his brisk caresses dance
The blossomed-burdened trees;
He ruffles every lily-pond
Where blossoms kiss and part,
And stirs with lover’s fancies fond
The young man’s eager heart.
Even the man who is happy glimpses something
or a hair of sound touches him
and his heart overflows with a longing
he does not recognize
then it must be that he is remembering
in a place out of reach
shapes he has loved
in a life before this
the print of them still there in him waiting
CHILDREN, ye have not lived, to you it seems
Life is a lovely stalactite of dreams,
Or carnival of careless joys that leap
About your hearts like billows on the deep
In flames of amber and of amethyst.
Children, ye have not lived, ye but exist
Till some resistless hour shall rise and move
Your hearts to wake and hunger after love,
And thirst with passionate longing for the things
That burn your brows with blood-red sufferings.
Till ye have battled with great grief and fears,
And borne the conflict of dream-shattering years,
Wounded with fierce desire and worn with strife,
Children, ye have not lived: for this is life.
WHERE the voice of the wind calls our wandering feet, Through echoing forest and echoing street,
With lutes in our hands ever-singing we roam,
All men are our kindred, the world is our home.
Our lays are of cities whose lustre is shed,
The laughter and beauty of women long dead;
The sword of old battles, the crown of old kings,
And happy and simple and sorrowful things.
What hope shall we gather, what dreams shall we sow?
Where the wind calls our wandering footsteps we go.
No love bids us tarry, no joy bids us wait:
The voice of the wind is the voice of our fate.
To take one obvious example of a thematic concern, very common in pastoral, we notice in the play a repeated contrast between court and country life. The purpose here is not to provide some naturalistic contrast, for the picture of life in the country is obviously idealized a good deal (although not totally, for there are references to the harsher aspects of life away from the comforts of the court and to the realities of working for an absentee landlord). Nor is the purpose any romantic celebration of the values of country living as somehow more authentic than city life. The pastoral is primarily a vehicle for a (usually) gentle satire on urban values, on some of the corrupting manners of the court (like flattery and excessive attention to clothes or fine language). And we can see this clearly enough in this play. But there is no sense in As You Like It that, given a free choice, any of the principal characters (except Jaques) would actually prefer to live in the country rather than the court.
The other great difficulty with As You Like It for inexperienced readers is much of the humour. Here again, what makes little sense on the page (and doesn’t come across as very funny) generally works much better in a production. This point is generally true of all comedy, where the physicality of the human interaction (something not always readily apparent from the text of the play alone) is an essential key to understanding and responding to what is going on. That aspect of comedy, especially Shakespearean comedy, is one reason why, in the curriculum of this course, the comedies are underrepresented. The only quick way to overcome this problem is to focus on seeing the play in production and there’s a useful BBC video version available in the college library.
(पद, पैसा र प्रतिष्ठालाई महत्व नदिने जनगायक जीवन शर्मा २०७२ वैशाख १२ गतेको भूकम्प र त्यसपछिका परकम्पले भत्काएका गाउँमा गीत गाउँदै हिँडिरहनु भएको छ । गाउँमा घरवारविहीन भएकाहरू पनि आफ्ना गीत सुनेर आशावादी भएको उहाँको अनुभव छ । विपतका बेला साहित्य कसरी राहतको माध्यम बन्न सक्छ ? यस सम्बन्धमा रक्तिम सांस्कृतिक अभियानका अध्यक्ष तथा जनगायक जीवन शर्मासँग पहिलो पोस्ट डट कमका रविराज बरालले गर्नु भएको कुराकानी समय सान्दर्भिक र निकै उपयोगी रहेकाले हामीले यहाँ पनि प्रस्तुत गरेका छौँ ः का. सम्पादक)
० भूकम्प पुनर्निर्माण्ँका लागि मौका हो भन्छन् केही मान्छे । मौका हो वा होइन ? त्यहाँ कला–साहित्यको के भूमिका हुन्छ ?
विपत्ति मौका होइन । तर यो विपत्तिपछि पीडाले छट्पटिएका हृदयबाट नयाँ सिर्जना निस्कन्छ । त्यही सिर्जनाले विस्तारै दुःख बिर्साउँदै लैजान्छ । यो बेला बेग्लै खालका साहित्य र सङ्गीत जन्मन्छन् । पञ्चायत कालमा फरक खालका गीत बने । सङ्कटकालमा एक प्रकारको पीडा थियो, अर्कै खालका गीत बने । भूकम्पपछि पनि त्यस्तै खालका रचना निस्केका छन् । विपत्तिको पीडा र दुःखपछि त्यही छटपटाहटका बीचबाट कलाको सिर्जना हुन्छ । यसलाई मौकाभन्दा पनि विपत्तिमा नयाँ सिर्जना गर्ने सम्भावना हुन्छ भनेर बुझ्नु पर्छ ।
भूकम्पले मान्छेहरूको घमण्ड हल्लायो भन्छन् । त्यस्तो पाउनु भयो ? कि त्यो क्षणिक मात्र हो ?
त्यो त मान्छेको प्रवृत्ति हो । एउटा घटनाले संस्कार खतम हुँदैन । भूकम्पपछि पनि त नराम्रा कुरा भैरहेकै छन् नि । भूकम्पले चरित्र बदल्न सक्दैन । त्यसका लागि त सांस्कृतिक क्रान्तिकै आवश्यकता पर्छ । संस्कारमै परिवर्तन नआएसम्म त्यो सम्भव हुँदैन । सत्य, न्याय र समानतामा आधारित समाजमा मात्र त्यो सम्भव हुन्छ । एक छिन झस्कायो, त्यति हो ।
कला साहित्यले समाजको सेवा कसरी गर्न सक्छ ? शोकलाई शक्तिमा कसरी बदल्न यसले कसरी सहयोग गर्छ ?
यस पटक म साहित्यकारकै टिमसँग सँगसँगै हिँड्ने अवसर मिल्यो । कविता सुनेर मानिसहरू दङ्ग भए । कविता सुनेर मानिसहरू आवादी भए । एकै छिन सुनेको साहित्यले अब बाँचिन्छ भन्ने भरोसा लिएर मानिसहरू फर्के । त्यसो भएर साहित्य मानसिक राहतको सशक्त माध्यम हुँदो रहेछ । मान्छेलाई आपत, विपत र पीडामा परेका बेलामा के गरम् ? कसो गरम् ? कहाँ गएर दिल बहलाउँ भन्ने खालको अवस्था हुन्छ । घर भत्केको छ । टिभी छैन । दिनदिनै भूकम्पले झस्काइरहेको छ । त्यस्तो बेला गीत–सङ्गीत, कला र साहित्यको माध्यमबाट मानिसलाई भविष्यप्रति आशावादी बन्ने, जीवनप्रति आशावादी बन्ने अवस्था सिर्जना हुँदो रहेछ ।
कविता र गीत भनेको त आनन्द भएको बेला पो सुन्ने त । यस्तो दुखमा मान्छे कसरी रमाउन सक्छ र साहित्यमा हामीले सबैभन्दा पीडित जहाँ थिए, त्यहाँ गएर गीत गायौँ, कविता सुनायौँ । सिन्धुपाल्चोकको खाडीचौर र मेलम्चीमा सबैभन्दा घर भत्किएका छन् । त्यहाँ सबै मानिस घर भत्किएपछि पालमा बसेका छन् । हामीले गीत गाउँदा, कविता सुनाउँदा त्यहाँका मानिसले राहत महशुस गरे । यस्तो पीडाका बेलामा पनि गीतभन्दा कोही वौद्धिक तर्क गर्ने भेटिए । यस्तो तर्कले व्यावहारिक जीवनमा अर्थ राख्दैन । उनीहरूलाई अहिले सान्त्वना चाहिएको छ । मानसिक राहत चाहिएको छ । खाएर मात्र भएन अब । चामलको थैलो लगेको छ । चाउचाउ लगेको छ । पाल पाएको छ । तर त्यसले डर हटाउँदैन । गीत÷सङ्गीत र साहित्यले भत्केको दिमागमा मह्लमपट्टी लगाउँछ । मध्य रातमा मान्छे आयो आयो भन्दै दगुर्छ । यस्तो अवस्थामा मानसिक आनन्द दिने भनेको साहित्य, कला र सङ्गीत नै हो ।
तपाईले भन्नु भयो– साहित्यले पीडामा मह्लम लगाउँछ । पीडामा मह्लम लगाउँदा मान्छेहरूले राहत महशुस गर्छन् । अब साहित्य र कलाको उपचार गर्ने र उठाउने काम हुन्छ । पुनर्निर्माण्ँको कुरा आइरहेको छ । साहित्यले यहाँनेर उठाउने काम कतिखेर गर्छ ?
मानिसहरूलाई पुनर्निर्माणका लागि पनि जागृत त गर्नु पर्यो नि । भूकम्पले मानिसहरू मुर्छित अवस्थामा छन् । होसमा ल्याउनु पर्यो । जगाउनु पर्यो । आत्मविश्वास पैदा गर्नु पर्यो । त्यो आत्मविश्वासले “भूकम्प सधैँ आउँदैन, आएमा सामना गर्नु पर्छ” भन्ने भावनाको विकास गर्छ । सबैले आ–आफ्नो दायित्व निर्वाह गर्नु पर्छ । सधैँभरि राहत वितरण गरेर वा थापेर बसेर त हुँदैन । नियमिततालाई पुनः फर्काउनका लागि पनि साहित्य सङ्गीतले हाम्रो दिमाग वासआउट गर्ने काम गर्छ । भूकम्पको ह्याङ ओभर पखालेर नयाँ आशाका पालुवा भर्नु पर्छ ।
आशाको नयाँ पालुवा छर्ने उद्देश्य बोकेको तपाईको पछिल्लो सिर्जना सुनौँ न ।
मैले एउटा गीत सिर्जना गरेको छु ः
आउ सबले हात मिलाउँ
भूकम्पका यी पीडा बिसाउँ
जानेहरू त गैहाले
बाँच्नेले फेरि संसार सजाउँ
कहीँ फुट्छ ज्वालामुखी
कहीँ चल्छ हावा हुरी
कहीँ जान्छ महाभूकम्प
हजार हजार मान्छे मारी
आउ सबले हात मिलाउँ
मनका सारा पीडा बिसाउँ
जानेहरू त गैहाले
बाँच्नेले फेरि संसार सजाउँ
विपत्ति यस्ता झेल्दै झेल्दै
मानव जाति आयो यहाँ
प्रकृतिको यो हुँकारसँग
एक्लै लडेर हुन्छ कहाँ ?
आऊ सबले हात मिलाउँ
भूकम्पका यी पीडा बिसाउँ
जानेहरू त गैहाले
बाँच्नेले फेरि संसार सजाउँ
यस खालको गीत गाएपछि मान्छेले राहतको अनुभव गरे । मर्ने मरे, अब बाँच्नेले केही गर्नु पर्छ भन्ने भाव पैदा भयो ।
यसको अन्तिममा पाठकलाई के भन्नु हुन्छ ?
भूकम्प जानु, ज्वालामुखी विस्फोट हुनु, चट्याङ पर्नु, आँधीतुफान हुरी चल्नु, यी सबै प्रकृतिका खेल हुन् । प्रकृतिको खेल चलिरहन्छ । हामी हरेक अवस्थामा आशावादी भएर अघि बढ्नु पर्छ । दायित्ववोध गरौँ र सामान्य जीवनतिर फर्कौँ ।
यहीं कतै शहरकै छेउछाउमा भए पनि यस यात्रालाइ कठिनतम यात्रा मान्नुपर्छ। यस यात्राको यात्री हो लक्ष्मीपुरे डल्ली, जात भैगो जात नभनौं जातले उसलाई केही दिएन। यस विकराल यात्रामा ऊ एक्ली छैन, उसँग एउटी टुकुटुकु हिंड्ने र एउटी काखे छोरी जम्मा तीन यात्री। कुनै कल्पनाशील व्यक्तिले कल्पना गरून् एकसय विघा जमीनमा योजनाबद्ध लगाइएका रंगीबिरंगी गुलाफका खेती र त्यसको सुगन्ध। मन्द गति सवारीमा बसी गुलाफ फूल्ने सिजनमा उसले त्यस खेतीको यात्रा शुरू गरोस्। अघि पछि , अगाल बगाल सुन्दरता, रंग र सुगन्ध। यस्तो यात्रा सहजै परिणत हुन्छ … आत्मविभोरता डल्ली लक्ष्मीपुरेको यात्रा यसको ठीक प्रतिकूल छ। यो यात्रा सय विघा जमीन जति लामो छैन तर जटि घुम्तीहरूले गर्दा यसलाई सय विघाभन्दा दश खन्ड लामो तुल्याइदिएको छ। यहाँ बालुवा नभए पनि यसलाई मरूभूमिको यात्रा भनिदिए फरक पर्दैन तर लक्ष्मीपुरे डल्ली ऊँटमा चढेकी यात्री होइन। ऊ पैदल छे र उसको दायाँ बायाँमाथि तल भनौं जता छाम्यो त्यतै घोर गरिबी र यस्ता गरिबीका साथी आश्रयहीनता सिंगो परिवेश भएर फैलिएको छ। यस विपन्नताको विकराल यात्रामा भरोसाको एउटा सिंगो हाँगा पनि ऊ देख्दिन, जहाँ यसो अडेस लाग्न सकोस्।
अँ, डल्ली लक्ष्मीपुरेको वर्ण यहाँ उल्लेख भएन। ममाथि उसको एउटा चिनारी छ त्यो हो एउटा गरिब र तिरस्कृत स्वास्नीमान्छे, जो गरिबीबाट आएर आज गरिबीसम्म पुगेको छ। उसले बाँचेकी, उसले भोगेकी संसारको बढो स्पष्ट नक्सा कोर्न भने सजिलै सकिन्छ। उसको संसारमा एकथरी अति निर्दय र स्वार्थी लोग्नेमान्छेहरू छन् र तिनीहरूलाइ धाम मार्ने क्रुर हत्केलाहरू छन्। उसको संसारमा न्यायको अर्थ हो कानुन, फगत एउटा कागजी कानुन, जो मात्र लागु हुनसक्छ, पाउन सकिंदैन। उसको संसारमा स्वास्नीले लोग्नेलाई उपेक्षा गर्नु, दुत्कारनु अपवाद मात्र हो र लोग्नेको स्वास्नीलाई उपेक्षा गर्नु दुत्कारनु एउटा जीवन शैली, एउटा व्यवहारिकता। उसको संसारमा यस्तो भइरहन्छ। इज्जत हुनेहरू लुकेर र नहुनेहरू खुलारूपमा।
यसरी कथा नायिका लक्ष्मीपुरकी डल्लीले आफू बिहे भएर यस शहरमा आउँदा कुनै दिन उसको जीवन एउटा विकल्पहीन स्थितिमा पुग्छ भन्ने सोचेकी थिइन। त्यसो त कुनै भव्य संसारबाट आएकी होइन, दुःख त उसको जन्मजात साथी तर आजको यो विकल्पहीनता…। ऊ विश्वास राख्दथी कि गरिबको जीवनमा पनि सुखको केही हिस्सा हुन्छ, सुख र दुःखको संगम नै जीवन हो सोच्न त मनासिब सोचेकी थिई उसले। केही दुःख गरे सुख पाइन्छ भन्ने आम धारणा थियो उसको पनि एकदम स्वाभाविक। जति दुःख गर्यो उति दुःख थपिंदोरहेछ समयको निकै अन्तरालपछि आज यस्तो पनि ऊ सोच्दैछे, उसको यो कठिन यात्रामा उ विश्वास छे उसको यस यात्रामा कुनै चमत्कार छैन कुनै अलादीनको जीन निस्केर उसलाई हत्केलामा राखेर अज्ञात राजमहलतर्फ उडाउने होइन, भगवानको कुनै पनि रूप यहाँ प्रकट हुने छैन, कुनै साधु महात्मा निस्केर “क्या तकलीफ है बेटी?” भनेर सोध्ने छैन। वास्तवमा यति धेरै कल्पना नै किन? कुनै एकजना पैसा भएको मान्छेले उसलाई “लौ केही केही किनेर खाऊ” भनी एक कौढी दिने पनि होइन। परम्परा यस्तै छ।
एउटा ढुंगे धारामा आफू लगायत छोरीहरूलाई पेटभरी पानी खुवाएर डल्ली लक्ष्मीपुरे छेउको एउटा ढिस्सोमाथि सुस्ताउन बस्छे। ठीक यति नै खेर उसले आफ्नो विगतको दुई पाता संक्षिप्तरूपमा पल्टाउँदैछे। साढे ६ वर्षको बीचमा दुईटै छोरी पाएकी हो। दुइजनाको माया पनि बसेकै त थियो कहिलेकांही झोंकिएर आउँथे, यसो स्वास्नीलाई रिस बिसाउँछन् त के भयो? कहिले ठाकठाकु ठुकठुक परिहाल्छ, अगुल्टो पनि नठोसी बल्दैन क्यारे। एक छाक खान, एकसरो लाउन दिएकै थियो। रिस चाहिं शुरूदेखि चर्कै हो। एकदिन उसको एउटा साथीले होटेलमा एघार सय तलब खाने जागिर मिलाइदिन्छु भनी लगेर गयो। त्यसदिन अलिक मिठो खान राम्रो लाउन पाइएला भनी म रमाएकी मेरो बास्सै … अहिले सम्झँदा त थकथकी लाग्छ। पैसो पनि लिएर आएकै हो, त्यसपछि ऊ विस्तारै मदेखि पर पर भएको मलाई राम्रैसँग थाहा छ विस्तारविस्तार घरमा कम आउन थाल्यो र एकदिन मैले सुनें, तिनले डेरा गरेर बाहिर अर्को आइमाई राखेका छन् रे। म त आकाशबाट खसें। सोचें के पुगेन उसलाई छोरो भन्थे त्यो पनि हुन्थ्यो होला बसेको भए। जालो के बनियो खै म निमुखा के बुझुँ। सौताको डेरा खोजेर हिंडे यत्रो भवसागरमा के पत्तो लाउनु। बिस्तारै भाँडाहरू पनि ओसारे। झगडा कटपिटको मात्रा बढ्यो र एकदिन हुँदै नभएको मान्छेसँग बात लगाएर घरबाट निकालिएदिए। कोठाको घरपतिले ताल्चा ठोक्यो छोरीहरूको बाबुले छोडे। म सुटुक्कै हिंडे तीनजना ज्यान घिसारेर। यहाँ मैले चुकचुक गर्ने मान्छे कोही थिएन। आफ्नै थाप्लोमा आइपुग्ला भन्ने डर तर सबैलाई हुन्छ।
यति संस्मरणमा रंगमगिइसकेपछि लक्ष्मीपुरकी डल्ली शान्त भई उसलाई सोच्न मन लागेन। टोलमा उसको निम्ति कोही बोलेन कानुनको सुत्र उसले कतै पक्रनै सकिन। पक्रेर पनि उसले केही हुनेवाला थिएन। जुत्ता मिल्काए जस्तो मिल्क्याई त हाल्यो। स्वास्नी त यहाँ जति पनि राख्न पाइहालिन्छ। दाना पानी नभरे कानुनले टाउको दुखाउने होइन, कानुन न्याय होइन। त्यसैले उसको यात्रा छोटो भएर पनि साह्रै जटिल र कठिन हुन गयो। काम पाइन्छ कि ठूला घर हुँदो यसो चियाएर हेरी सबै ठाउँ उसले एउटै जवाफ पाई, छोराछोरीको आमा हुँदैन। काममा अल्झो हुन्छ पहिले पहिलेबाटै केटाकेटीलाई खुवाइ हाल्छन्, आमाको मन हो चोरेर लान के बेर महिला संगठनमा भन्नपर्छ आदि–आदि।
यात्रा झ्नझन् विकराल हुँदै गयो। अपराह्रतिर एउटा बम बिसौनीमा आइपुग्छ डल्ली लक्ष्मीपुरे । उसको यात्रा अविश्वसनीय लाग्छ ऊ आफैलाई। त्यसैले मौन छे पेटमा केही छैन। लुगाफाटाको हकमा अब नांगिन बाँकी छ। यस्तो परिस्थितिमा अब के हुनसक्छ ऊ अब केदेखि के भएकी छ यो उसले चरम विन्दुमा बुझसकेकी छ। अब माग्नपर्छ बाटो हिंड्नेसँग, यति चाँडै ऊ माग्ने भइसकेकी छ। उसको मुटु एकपल्ट चिटिक्क चिमटियो, मृत्यु कल्पना गरी तर आमा जात त्यो भन्दा अघि बढ्न सकिन।
एकै छिनपछि बस बिसौनीमा मान्छेहरू आउन थाले। उसले एउटी सम्भ्रान्त महिला, जसको हातमा एउटा ठूलो व्याग थियो,–लाई एकपल्ट हेर्छे र एउटा दीनहीन निष्कर्षमा पुग्छे।
उसले मनमनमा सलाम गर्न सिकी र माग्नेको भाषा अलिकति रिहर्सल गरी। त्यसपछि उसले राम्रैसँग अभिनय गरी “भोक लाग्यो हजुर यी छोरीलाई भोकै छन् केही पाउँन।” मनको हावभावले इशारा गर्यो तर सही आँखाले अभिव्यक्ति दिएन, सही ओठै खुलेन सलाम गर्नलाई सही हात उठेन। ऊ नमज्जासँग विफल भई उसले देखी माग्न झन् दुष्कर छ।
एकैछिनपछि बस हिंड्छ। अब उसले यहाँ बसिरहनुको कुनै आवश्यकता छैन। ऊ अलिक परको रूखमुनि गएर बिसाउँछे। नजिकै दुईवटा भूसिया कुकुरको बच्चा आपसमा गुडुल्किएर सुतेका छन्। केही क्षणपछि एउटी पेट सेप्टिएको माऊ कुकुर आउँछे बच्चाहरू उसलाई उफ्री उफ्री चाट्न थाल्छन्। कुकुर माऊले मुखैमा राखेर भातका सिताहरू ओकलिदिन्छे। बच्चाहरू त्यही नै खाएर सन्टुष्ट हुन्छन्।
लक्ष्मीपुरकी डल्ली यो दृश्य देखेपछि मर्माहत हुन्छे, यसो आफ्नो छातीभित्रको आमापनलाई सुम्सुम्याउन नभियाउँदै आँखाहरू छलेर बगिदिए बरर…। उसले मन मनमा भनी, “कठै काली माऊँ तँ त कुकुर होस् रछ्यान पनि चाहछेर्स, अरू थोक पनि खान्छेस्, म के गरूँ, तँभन्दा त मै दुःखी रहिछु।
यात्राको यस मोडमा आइपुगेपछि डल्ली लक्ष्मीपुरले घामतिर यसो हेर्दै ओठ खोलेर एक्लै बोली। यो सुर्जे नारान कति टाढा होला…? एउटा अव्यक्त उराठले उसलाई कताकता पोल्छ, ऊ थाहा पाउँदिन, कहाँ पोल्दैछ र त्यो पोल्नु कसरी शान्त हुन सक्छ। अगाल बगाल उसका छोरीहरू प्रश्नचिन्ह जस्तै आकारमा गुडुल्किएर निदाइसकेछन्। अब रात झन् विकराल प्रश्न थियो उसको अघि।
आउ सबै नेपाली हो संघीयता फाल्नुपर्छ
जिल्ला जिल्ला सामन्तीका किल्लाहरू ढाल्नुपर्छ
भाई भाईमा फाटो पार्ने फोहोरी खेल खेलेका छन्
फाट्नु हुन्न जुट्नुलाइ नयाँ कदम चाल्नुपर्छ।
भित्रभित्रसम्म यहाँ शोषकको जरा गढ्यो
भर्भभराउँदो आगो बन्दै अब यिनीलाई गाल्नुपर्छ।
रोएकी छन् नेपाली आमा छियाछिया हुँदा देश यो
हामी सन्तान यी आमाका देशको घाउ टाल्नु पर्छ
फेरि पनि कालो रातमा डुबेको छ देश पूरै
चारैतिर राता मसाल फेरि पनि बाल्नुपर्छ।
हत्या हिंसा आतंकले दन्किएको आगो ।
शान्तिको महल बल्यो चाहियो शीतलको हाँगो ।।
अन्धकारमा देश डुब्यो खोजौँ अब ज्योतिको ।
धेरै नष्ट गरिसक्यौ रोकौँ अब क्षति ।।
बुद्धको जन्मभूमि संसारकै दृष्टि ।
रोकौँ अब गोला-बारुद गरौँ शान्ति वृष्टि ।।
कुशासन र भ्रष्टाचारको तोडौँ अब जालो ।
यो देशको मुहार फेर्ने अब आयो पालो ।।
देशका लागि केही गर्न लाउनु हुन्न बेर ।
युवा भई उठ अब देशको मुहार फेर ।।
मुलुकमा पत्रकारहरूले कुटाइ खाँदा होस्
निर्दोष कलिलो विद्यार्थी अपहरणमा पर्दा होस्
तुइनको तार छिनेर
निर्दोष नेपाली जनताको अनाहकमा
ज्यान जाँदा होस् ।
गरिबीको मार सहन नसकेर
आफ्नो मुटुका टुक्राहरूको
अनि, आफ्नो पनि नांगो र खाली पेट बोकेर
जीवनको सामूहिक बिसर्जन गर्दा होस् ।
दोहोरी साँझ, रेस्टुरेन्ट वा
दर्दनाक दृश्यहरूमा होस् ।
आफ्ना देशका जनताले
बिनासित्ती ज्यान गुमाउनुपर्दा होस् ।
सरकार निरीह छ, लाचार छ
ऊ केही बोल्दैन
मात्र टाउको हाल्लाइरहन्छ ।
कल्पना गरेको अलौकिक नयाँ नेपाल
सुख, शान्ति र अमनचैनका सपनाहरू
कालो बाढीले बगाउँदा पनि
सरकारको आभास नभएको देश जस्तो
यहाँ सरकार बोल्दैन
उसको मुखै छैन
उसको मुटु ढुंगाको छ
उसलाई अलिकति पनि दुख्दैन
मात्र टाउको हल्लाइरहन्छ ।
मुहार छ उसको सधैँ फूलको डालीजस्तो
छिमेकी छ फूल टिपी बेच्ने मालीजस्तो ।
महफिलमा बसेपछि यस्तै हुन्छ सधैँ
कोही झारीजस्तो अनि कोही प्यालीजस्तो ।
थाप्लोमाथि हिउँ पर्दा बल्ल थाहा हुन्छ
बाढी आए खोलानाला नत्र नालीजस्तो ।
कल्पनाले मन हाम्रो भरिँदैन कैले
तिर्सनाले मन हुन्छ सधैँ खालीजस्तो ।
चिनाउनु कसरी खै आफूलाई आज
जात, थर भन्दाखेरी लाग्छ गालीजस्तो ।
मनु भन्या मान्छे नै हो तर पनि कस्तो ?
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