Zitierweise / cite as:
Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 15. Frühe europäische Quellen und Quellen aus der Zeit der East India Companies. --13. Zum Beispiel: "Tom Raw, the Griffin", 1828. -- Fassung vom 2008-06-10. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen1513.htm
Erstmals publiziert als:
[D’Oyly, Charles <1781-1845>:] Tom Raw, the Griffin: a burlesque poem, in twelve cantos: illustrated by twenty-five engravings, descriptive of the adventures of a cadet in the East India company’s service, from the period of his quitting England to his obtaining a staff situtation in India / by a civilian and an officer on the Bengal establishment. -- London : Printed for R. Ackermann, 1828. -- 325 S. : 25 col. pl. ; 26 cm. -- S. 251 - 278. --Online: http://www.archive.org/details/tomrawgriffinbur00doylrich. -- Zugriff am 2008-06-01. -- "Not in cpyright"
Erstmals hier publiziert: 2008-06-10
Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008
©opyright: Public domain.
Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit von Tüpfli's Global Village Library
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In writing plays,
romances, tales, and novels,
Authors delight in bringing into scrapes
Heroes and heroines,—they 've their lonely hovels,
Benighted travellers, twinkling lights, and shapes
Of spectral indistinctness— thin as tapes,
Flitting before them — thieves in grim array
Pouncing upon them, and their great escapes ;
Desponding lovers piping a soft lay
To win fair ladies' hearts, who dare not say them nay.
Disguised innamoratoes, —
Baronial castles, and usurping lords,
With persecuted damsels and pert maids,
And pictures moving of their own accords,
And faces grinning out of sliding boards ;
With many other strange, incongruous things,
Which a prolific fancy, from its hoards
Chaotic, on the public wildly flings, 5020
Pleased at the profit, if not at the fame, it brings,
Uninfluenced by either of these ends,
We've given you instances enough, in truth,
To shew our Muse the system much befriends,
Since in so many scrapes she's brought our youth ;
In these, however, — though sometimes uncouth,
Reality has led us more than fiction ;
And so we'll jog contented on, forsooth,
Hugging ourselves with the supposed conviction
That you have for th' adventurous the same predilection.
Tom was no brilliant oriental linguist,
Being much of th' opinion of old Horsley,1
Who, though in literature and taste distinguish'd,
Turned from the native languages most crossly ;
And if you asked him why ? he'd say, jocosely,
That, if within the forest of famed Arden
A wand'ring traveller's unpleasant course lay,
His progress on he'd think not of retarding,
To learn the bowlings of its wolves.—We claim your pardon.
1 Being much of the opinion of old Horsley. A gentleman long resident in Calcutta, and much esteemed for his literary talents. His aversion to acquire the oriental languages was notorious ; and after spending half a life in India, he could scarcely make himself understood in the common colloquial dialect of the country.
Indulgent readers, for this little sally,
Our only plea is—that it is a fact ;
Not that we do conceive the reasonings tally,
Or that the simile ought to be backed,
Tom smarted for his ignorance, and racked
His brains to make the peasants understand
His griffin jargon; some few words, ill tacked
Together, formed a very sorry band
Of sentences, e'en for these ploughers of the land,
He used—most frequently— Humara now2
Toom deckho!3—hum4—G—d d—m me, and Kiswasti,5
Sub doop gea,6—and nooksaun,7—and manjee lou!8
In intonations very cross and hasty,
Which made the Ryutts laugh—and then, at last, he
Said something of rupees—and surely there's
A magic in its sound—so great and vasty,
It tingles, from pure instinct, in the ears,
And —hocus pocus like — all understandings clears.
2 Humara now. -- My boat.
3 Toom deckho ! -- Do you look.
4 hum -- I
5 and Kiswasti -- What for.
6 Sub doop gea -- All is sunk.
7and nooksaun -- Loss.
8 and manjee lou ! -- Bring the manjee.
A Chowdry,9 on whose tympanum it
Stept forward — pointing with his little finger
To a neat house, by mango trees surrounded,
And harangued loudly as a belfry ringer,
Chanting his words, like a cathedral singer,
One Thomas caught— 'twas that of Thannadar,10
And not a moment more was seen to linger ;
But hurried up—it was not very far,
And hailed the native police magistrate of Bar.11
9 A Chowdry, on whose tympanum it sounded. -- Head inhabitant of a village.
10 'twas that of Thannadar. -- A native officer of police. His employment is to see that peace and order are preserved within a certain range of villages placed under his jurisdiction, to apprehend public offenders, and to make regular reports of his proceedings to the magistrate of the district.
11 And hailed the native police magistrate of Bar. -- A town about thirty miles from the city of Patna. We have selected this place for the scene of our hero's disaster, as it is notoriously famed for accidents.
On a chabootra12
this grave person sat,
Lolling cross-legged upon a patna mora,13
Loose his attire — pyjama'd,14 and all that,
And, neatly spread beneath the terraced floor, a
Banse ke chetai15—on which the greasy snorer
At night reposed, wrapt in a stuffed labador ;16
A muslin skull-cap, fringed with gold, was o'er a
Clean close-shaved crown—and, waiting for his order,
A dozen burkendozes17 stood round the behaudur !18
12 On a chabootra this grave person sat. -- A brick terrace plastered with lime, used by the natives to sit on, and enjoy the fresh air.
13 Lolling cross-legged upon a patna mora, -- A stool. It is of various sizes, so as to admit of being used to sit upon, as well as to support the feet; composed of rattan covered with leather, painted in brilliant colours, representing different subjects, principally hunting scenes.
14 pyjama'd -- Pyjamahs are loose drawers, used in bed, composed of grass cloth or light silk.
15 Banse ke chetai -- A mat made of bamboos.
16 wrapt in a stuffed labador. -- A loose gown.
17 A dozen burkendozes -- Subordinate police officers.
18 stood round the behaudur. -- A title of distinction.
A kullean19 of brass, and bright
To shew the brightness of the servant's servant,
He smoked, and, at each furnace-reeking puff,
In the Columbian leaf seemed very fervent,
(His mouthpiece,20 for convenience had a curve in 't;
And, as our hero came—his dress all muddy,
He gave a glance which had much of reserve in 't ;
A youth so meanly looking and so ruddy,
He took for some deserter, roaring drunk with toddy.21
19 A kullean of brass -- A small kind of hookah, differing from those used by the higher class of natives.
20 (His mouthpiece, for convenience had a curve in 't.) -- Called by the natives moonal. It is placed at the extremity of the snake, through which the smoker inhales the fume ; and composed of gold, silver, or a composition called vidry.
21 roaring drunk with toddy. -- The fermented juice of the fruit of the palm-tree, a very intoxicating liquor.
This man, like all our native functionaries,
"Armed with a little brief authority,"
To catch a thief— his head erectly carries,
And aping very great superiority,
Lords it sublime o'er all inferiority,
With haughty gait, and loud imperious voice ;
And ever being sure of a majority,
Rules the poor grists22—as pedagogues their boys.
Preferring rods of birch to — patting heads and toys.
22 Rules the poor grists—as pedagogues their boys. -- Labourers of the soil. The native functionaries are usually great tyrants, and misuse the authority with which they are invested. We fear they are for the most part not only tyrannical, but corrupt.
Assistance was demanded— but not gained ;
Entreaties followed,—threats — the fellow grinned,
And Tom's red cheeks resentment deeper stained,
A burkendoze, now stepping up behind,
Drew out his tulwar,23 and our hero pinned,
Who, roaring out— "Hum Comp'ny ke lupteenant,
"Bhote khubberdar !"24 -- as if they all had sinned
Beyond redemption, they quick lowered their pen'ant,
And made salaams—as to the landlord does the tenant.
23 Drew out his tulwar, and our hero pinned. -- A native sabre.
24 "Bhote khubherdar" Anglicè, "I am a Company's lieutenant, mind what you're about." Kuptan and lubtenant being ranks generally understood by all who are very apprehensive of provoking the military orders.
The scene was changed completely ;—threats
Slid into smiles and servile adulations,
And haughty looks, and frowns, and rude rebuffs,
Transmuted into friendly salutations,
Larded with many soft ejaculations,
Tom was now seated on the patna stool,
Provisions called for, and sherbet25 potations,
The kullean tendered, with new-lighted gool,26
While, like an abject slave he stood—this man of rule.
25 Provisions called for, and sherbet potations. Sherbet is a favourite beverage among the natives, composed of sugar and water, to which lime-juice is sometimes added.
26 with new-lighted gool. -- The fire ball of a hookah, formed of the charcoal of certain trees and rice starch, and then dried in the sun. A few of these made red-hot, and placed on the opposite side of the piece of earthenware to which the tobacco is attached, lights it, and produces the smoke which is inhaled.
Preliminaries settled, Tom was seated
In an old palkee of the Thannadar's,
And a few relics of his traps—secreted
Before, were now produced and stowed,—" My stars,"
He cried, " if there's not my petarrah,27 as
"Sure 's I'm alive,—ay, and my sword to boot,
"And my shako, and history of the wars."
And though this mode of travelling did not suit
His taste, twelve bearers bore him off without dispute.
27 "if there's not my petarrah." -- A round or oval covered box, made of rattan and leather, with a padlock, used to carry clothes, &c. in travelling.
Those who've been
jumbled, in a shut-up box,
Some days and nights, in a recumbent posture,
May, perhaps, think it quite a paradox
To say its pleasant —when so rocked and toss'd you 're,
And dusted, forced to be,—and when you have lost your
Stomach —and though you had it— naught to eat,
Save a few biscuits, which have barely cross'd your
Lips, and some brandy pānee28 — oh, how sweet !
When sickness makes the whole day's meager meal retreat.
28 some brandy panee. -- Brandy and water.
Yet— sure—in trips of some odd hundred miles,
Despatch is solace to the traveller ;
The very thought his misery beguiles,
And he soon changes, from a sceptic caviller,
To an admirer of time's quick unraveller,
Tom was, however, not of this conviction,
And often wished the palkee at the devil, or
At Jericho — so great his predilection
For journeying without such bodily affliction.
Gyah29 was past in safety— he just
A glimpse of her far-famous Bishenpud,30
When the clouds congregated, and —it rained,
And he was splashed all over by the mud,
Sheergotty31 was in sight— he chewed the cud
Of misery still —for all his bones were aching,
And to his head he felt his feverish blood
Fast rushing, and his brains like jelly shaking ;
While sun and rain, in turns, were broiling him and baking.
29 Gyah was past in safety. [Gaya] One of the most sacred cities of the Hindoos, to which pilgrimages are made from all parts of India. The Government derive a revenue from a tax on pilgrims ; and to superintend the collection, a gentleman (not in the Company's service) is paid a large monthly salary.
30 A glimpse of her far-famous Bishenpud. -- A magnificent black stone temple at Gyah, to which the pilgrims repair to perform their religious ceremonies. The sculpture of the walls and pillars, and of some of the idols, is ably done.
31 Sheergotty was in sight. -- A station about thirty miles from Gyah, on the Company's new military road.
And now across the Ramghur
Hills he speeds,
The new road gaining— when a crack he hears
Beneath him— this, at first, he little heeds ;
But now the sound begins to raise his fears,
And then, at last—for time all mysteries clears—
The rattan'd bottom of his palkee burst,
And down he dropped — stern foremost—filled with fears.
Sprawling his length amidst the dirt and dust,
Which he— without the slightest ceremony— curst.
Abb.: TOM RAW CARRIED UP THE COUNTRY (S.256)
And other things save rattan bottoms gave
With the rude shock, which we should blush t' indite
Since Griffin's wardrobes suit not with the grave
Commemorative tale we have to write ;
Fancy, however, may supply you quite
As well, —when knowing where the greatest strain
Was, — and that on his head he didn't alight,
You can't of ambiguity complain,
So, — from all further explanations— we'll refrain,
Suffice it that of all his odd mishaps
This was the most provoking and unpleasant,
And he, the most unfortunate of chaps,
His evils seeming to be still increscent,
Where might they end, if he o'ercame the present?
Ten miles he trudged along upon his feet,
Holding his hand behind him to be decent;
At last he heard, of sheep, the welcome bleat,
And found a village near which favoured his retreat.
Here, while he changed his—fye-for-shames—he
An ekka—to his very great delight, —
"An ekka — what is that? — to what allied ?"—
We hear our readers ask, —and well they might,
So we must tell them. — 'Tis a sort of light
And handy one horse chaise — but not on springs,
A most strange looking carriage to the sight.
But goes, as if the vehicle had wings.
With galloping tattoo, and —harness made of strings.
A seat that is just large enough for one,
O'er which a canopy of small dimension
Is perched, —to keep the riders from the sun,
And, further. I'll say nought of the invention,
Save that 'tis sans pretensions altogether,
The fare being settled—Tom sprung in—his traps
Were stowed, and firmly fastened with a leather,
The palkee, with its fundamental gaps,
Was sent to Bar —which place it never reached perhaps.
Crack went the chabuck !32 —coachee
"Chull! bheeta chull !33—the tattoo onward bounded,
Tom was, at first, o'erjoyous with his ride,
And sung a song — till every note resounded
Double and treble, as the motion pounded
His quivering frame, and e'er he sung it through,
Some grievous jerks from stones, which there abounded,
Catching the wheels —made him sing out anew,
But to a different tune his voice was forced to screw.
32 Crack went the chabuck. -- Whip.
33 "Chull ! bheeta chull !" -- Move on, my son, move on. Bheeta, or son, is applied by the natives to animals.
Away the ekka speeds ! —the Ramghur Hills
Are left behind, and Baroon's34 sandy shores,
The Soane35 is ferried,— her once lucid rills
By mountain torrents swelled, burst forth in roars,
(The sight of water Tom again deplores,)
And then through Sassuram36 they gallop fast,
And th' insulated mausoleum, o'er
The little finger of Sheer Shah, — surpast
By nothing but Egyptian pyramids. At last,—
34 Baroon's sandy shores. -- A village on the banks of the river Soane, which intercepts the Company's road at this spot. The bed of the river in the dry season in breadth is calculated t five miles.
35 The Soane is ferried. -- A fine clear river, which has its source at Sohagepore, and disembogues itself into the Ganges at Moneah, about ten miles from the military cantonment of Dinapore. Moneah is celebrated for a beautifully sculptured mausoleum and tank. The water of the Soane is as clear as crystal in the dry season, and the pebbles over which it runs bear a beautiful polish, and are much esteemed for the variety and delicacy of the fragments of petrified vegetation found in them.
36 And then through Saassuram they gallop fast. -- An ancient town, celebrated for the insulated mausoleum erected to Sheer Shah, which covers the little finger of that sovereign, having been the only part of him found on the field of battle, in which he perished, and distinguished only by the royal signet. There are the remains of another mausoleum, begun by Sheer Shah to his father, which is also placed in the centre of a large deep pond.
But why should we our rattling hero follow
Through all the stages of his mad career ?
We'll rather pause,— and give you time to swallow,
And, in a moment, all obstructions clear,
Making him at his destined post appear ;
Just mentioning, by way of episode,
That, shaken to a jelly, very near,
In his uncomfortable small abode,
He once more took to dawking37 up the Company's road.
37 He once more took to dawking up the Company's road. -- Travelling post in a palankeen.
We said our hero's station was at Mhow,
At least so said the introductory letter
Of Mr. A. to Mr. B.,—and how
'Twas so, we cannot say — perhaps, it better
Accorded with the current of our metre,
Or that the lower stations were in want
Of his battalion —but 'tis no great matter,—
We find it at Benares38 — and we pant
To introduce old Colonel Kyan, —Commandant.
38 We find it at Benares. -- A sacred Hindoo city, in which is the finely sculptured temple of Vishvesar, of which there are plates, from drawings made by the late chief engineer Colonel Garstin. Benares is also remarkable for two very elevated minarets. At Secrole, about five miles from the city, there is a large civil station, and cantonments for two or three battalions of native troops.
He was, like many more of his gradation,
A jolly, red-faced — weather-beaten veteran,
Who, after fifty years of hard probation
In climates tropical—despised a better one,
Ruled his battalion with a fetter on,
Yet loved his ease, his curry and his hooka,
And was, notoriously, a setter on
Of boisterous merriment, drank deep, could cook a
Most famous Devil, as he'd hash up a fierce Goorka.39
39 as he'd hash up a fierce Goorka. -- The Goorkas are usurpers of the Napaul country. The aborigines are styled Nawars.
He never harboured thoughts, —they were
As soon as coined within his bosom's mint :
Whether they pleased, or whether they distress'd,
He cared not a rupee — "The devil's in 't,"
He used to say, "if talking one must stint,—
" If it's not liked, why, zounds, sirs ! I don't care,
"People may make wry faces, frown, or squint,
" 'Tis all the same to me—or foul or fair ;"
Most people styled him —Ursus Major—the Great Bear.
He was a privileged man —
And so, allowed to do whate'er he pleased,
And now he'd shake his sides, — and now he'd grunt,
And now he squeezed a hand —and now he teased,
He'd never thought on marriage — it displeased
Him mightily to see a soldier wedded,
Yet every year his family increased,
And ties parental to his duties added,
Though he would soon knock down the advent'rous wight that said it.
Little he cared, forsooth, about his dress,
His regimentals were all curry stained,
His epaullettes expressed his slovenness,
They hung down loose, — for smartness he disdained,
His hands were seldom washed, and they retained
(Specially in the nails) dirt deep engrained,
For never thoroughly, but when it rained,
And nought protected Thomas from the shower,
Of water did he know the cleansing power.
Of all his dingy squad — his eldest daughter,
A girl of sixteen, pretty too, though brown,
Was living with him. —Many, too, had sought her.
Among the list, for every one must own
The Colonel's daughter would for much atone,
Promotion's a great thing, one can't deny,
For banished youths, who mope about and groan
Under the influence of this fiery sky,
And in its search no price whate'er is deemed too high,
Her intellects were not
Though she had sense, too, of that common sort
That made her in some companies appear
Rather the theme of pity than of sport,
She'd never been "at home,"40— that is, in short,
She'd never been abroad,—a paradox
Apparently —but we've a reason for 't,
But prudence places on our strain her locks,
And we'd not, willingly, get into the wrong box.
40 She'd never been " at home" -- "At home," in India, is generally understood to mean "in England."
At Mrs. B—ks41
the damsel had been placed,
When, as a hoyden girl, she got too free,
And romped with the young men, which much disgraced
The Colonel's boasted scrupulosity
In female manners,— this was his sole plea,
And she'd been broke in like a skittish filly,
With many a lash and chucker42 from Dame B.,
To make her more correct— and not so silly,
And she continued at the seminary, till he,
41 At Mrs. B—ks the damsel had been placed. -- One of the many respectable governesses of schools for the education of girls born in India.
42 With many a lash and chucker from Dame B. -- Chucker is literally a wheel, but, as here used, applies to breaking-in young horses, gallopping or trotting them in a ring or circle.
Tired with the diccut43
of his household duty,
Resolved to place her at his table's head ;
And Charlotte,—though, by no means a great beauty,
Began her reign, and seemed to be well bred,
Her vanity of person often led
To compliments from giddy beaux,—her rank
As Colonel Kyan's daughter, oftener spread
Around her ancient lovers, lean and lank,
Peeping, most lovingly, into her father's bank.
43 Tired with the diccut of his household duty. -- A Persian word signifying trouble.
The maid preferred the
former, —well she might,
For spinsters always reckon that their charms
Will sooner lure admirers, than the weight
Of silver or of gold. — And then they've qualms
When age or ugliness their beauty warms,
Thinking that youth and comeliness are best,
For every fear of sordid views it calms,
Love in a cottage gives a wond'rous zest
To youthful preferences — so let the matter rest.
But Charlotte, — while so many suitors pant
To gain her hand,— gets callous to their pain,
And— having such a choice — resists to grant
That which would bid them look about again,
But put a final period to her reign ;
For now she rules over some dozen hearts
That sigh, and flutter, and lament in vain,
While she delights to renovate her arts.
And watch the various pangs her fatal eye imparts.
But to our hero are we bound to turn.—
He had arrived, all covered o'er with dirt,
So that his features you could scarce discern,
Or that once white was his new ruffled shirt,
The Adjutant, -- who always was alert
In aiding Griffin boys who joined the corps,
Received poor Tom, and at his troubles hurt,
Soused him into a bath, and tumbled o'er
His head, large brimming kedgeree44 pots by the score.
44 large brimming kedgeree pots by the score. -- Large earthen water pots, used for bathing. We know not why they are called kedgeree pots, except that Kedgeree is the place where they are usually manufactured in the vicinity of Calcutta.
Thomas, who even now cold water dreaded,
So fatal had it been to him indeed,
In vain against this copious splashing pleaded,
But, to a post, as well might Thomas plead,
And so he bore it—since it was his creed
To suffer what he could not counteract ;
And rising from the bath— it was agreed
That he should dress — he quick his trunk unpacked,
The Adjutant supplying what his wardrobe lacked,
And now, full dressed in
They posted over to the Commandant's,
Sent in their names and compliments to him,
And were informed, that he their wishes grants ;
A clank of swords was heard, when in Tom flaunts,
With his new friend, and scrapes an awkward bow,
Is introduced—the Colonel gives a glance,
And when preliminaries of "How d' ye do,"
Were over —bids them take a chair.—The men brought two.
Abb.: TOM RAW GETS INTRODUCED TO HIS COLONEL (S. 263)
It was a Sunday, and, as no parade
Occurred that morn, the Colonel, who, besides,
Had felt a little bilious— lay in bed
Till twelve o'clock, and, waking, furious chides
His bearer, for not rousing him betides,
Thundering and roaring in a manner shocking,
Throws on his dressing gown, and careless slides
Into pyjamas, without shoe or stocking,
Drinks bowls of chicken-broth, and then betakes to smoking.
Just settled, and with spectacles on nose,
Poring o'er ord'ly books — the message came,
He was just feeling one of his great toes
That seemed to threaten gout —it burnt like flame.
And murmured out a curse — "Well, Mr. Gra'am,"
And who is this recruit?"— then gaping wide
His mouth enormous, —"prithee, what's his name?"
"They ca' him Maister Raw," the Scotchman cried,
"He has been wrecked, I trow, and what not a' beside."
"Odd's blood,"—addressing Tom, " 'tis
" Dids't lose much, — 'tis a most infernal river :
"Charlotte ! come in — My daughter, Charlotte Kyan !
"Our new recruit, girl ! — Mr. Raw— dids't ever
"See such ashameface?"— " La! papa! I never
"Thought you'd receive folks in this dishabille."—
"Curse your French words, girl—though you'redev'lish clever,
"You jade, to say the truth — Go fetch my pill,
" 'Tis time to take it —Mr. Raw, you've not been ill ?"
Such was our youth's reception— rather queer
For one like him who'd seen the world but little,
And he expressed surprise.— " Oh ! dinna' fear,"
The Adjutant replied, — " the man has mettle,
"Prodigious civil, too, although his wit ill
"Pleases you, I think, sir ; but then ye need
"Na fash your thumb —just let the dregs o' 't settle,
"And ye 'll be unco friends— ye wull indeed,
"Tak my advice, an' a' my admonitions heed,
"He's what ye ca' a man o' preeveleege,
"And waxes wrath at any contradiction,
"E'en let him gang his gait, and ne'er abreedge
"Aye thing for which he shews a predeeliction,
"But smile, and boo, and always own conviction,
"Howe'er ye doot, and —harkee, praise his bairn,
"She's unco blank, ye ken, that's some restriction ;
"But then she's siller; and ye're not to learn
"That siller, says the proverb, makes the mill to turn."
Tom listened with attention to his friend,
And thanked him kindly for his good advice,
Resolving firmly that he would attend,
And did so — for he had no other choice,
A round of visits followed in a trice,
Captains, Lieutenants, Ensigns, Cornets, Majors,
Were all made known to Tom, and seemed a nice
Set of fine fellows, on the world old stagers.
To mix in any sport or frolic prompt engagers.
The Colonel gave an introduct'ry party,
And Miss presided, smiling sweet around,
The host laughed loud, and gave a welcome hearty,
Cracked dirty jokes which—with him—ne'er lost ground,
And from his guests, due admiration found,
Pledged lumba45 peallas of fresh carbonell,
Swearing 'twas monstrous good, high-flavoured, sound,
And not a headach in a hogshead — Well ?
What more? —- why that beneath the board some topers fell.
45 Pledged lumba peallas offresh carbonell. -- Anglicè, long wine glasses.
And all the rest— fair
Charlotte's self excepted,
Were more than half seas over with the claret,
And, when they joined her, as she had expected,
They made fierce love and chattered like a parrot,
E'en the douce Adjutant, with locks of carrot,
Simpered, most tenderly, upon the maiden,
Till she was tired, and could no longer bear it :
Into her room, then, quickly retrograding.
She stole away, and soon her downy bed was laid in.
We left Tom's budgerow
cronies 'fore the gale,
In mutual ignorance of each other's fate,
One Griffin only harped upon a tale,
That he saw Tom go down, —at any rate
His budgerow upset—and it was so late
That the odds were poor Thomas Raw was drowned,
And Captain Bundook's sorrowings were great,
But, as it couldn't be remedied, he found
Much consolation that on him death had not frowned.
They reached Benares full
of this dread story,
And to the Commandant their grief expressed,
While Tom, in all his military glory,
Hailed his lost comrades with uncommon zest ;
Their joy at meeting him was ample test
Of friendship —though two lads had scratched him off,
(As dead and gone), the Bengal army list,
Flattering themselves, with many a jocund laugh.
They'd got a step, and were —too fortunate by half.
And we have seen — we say it without dread
Of contradiction —right good-natured fellows,
Their legs upon their own camp tables spread,
Poring o'er annual almanacks — as well as
Quarterly registers, with feelings callous,
Making odd marks against each senior stager,
Of whose long sticking they were very jealous,
As D. for death, and T. turned out—his age or
Infirmities, to see how soon they'd be a major.
We've seen the same among your rich
With calculations on the probabilities
Of seniors' constitutions— silly ones !
Lasting so many weary years— to kill it is
A very favourite occupation—till it is
Twenty to ten they drop off from their perch
The first of all— shewing their poor abilities
In deep prognostication, and the search
Of rising o'er their peers— themselves left in the lurch.
It is not callousness of feeling !—no !
For here it owns a sensitiveness strong
As in the mother country with a flow
Of generosity, that bounds along
Even beyond prudence in the old and young,
What is it then ?—th' habitual fuss and rout
For higher situations in the throng ;
The constant hearing of death's blowing out
The tapers of men's lives that brings the thing about.
Tom had, as yet, in
tactics no great skill,
And was an ignoramus at his trade ;
So, in a few days, he was put to drill,
And taught the goose step on the field parade,
The awkward figure which our hero made
Obliged the havildar46 to curb a smile,
By putting up his dusky hands to shade
His risibility at Tom's hard toil,
Puffing and blowing with the strenuous turmoil.
46 Obliged the havildar to curb a smile, -- A rank in the Sepahi corps, answering to our serjeant
And sometimes, as ill luck would have it, he,
While practising — his toe well pointed down,
And arms stiff plaistered to his thighs, would see
From half shut eyes—by elevated crown,
Directed to the skies—and with a groan,
The Colonel and his daughter fair returning
Home from their morning's airing — and (poor clown !)
Catching him the said famous goose-step learning,
And, at their tittering, felt his cheeks, like hot coals burning.
But this would pass off when his drill was
And he was sitting by her— téte-à-téte,
He then felt many symptoms of a lover,
His youthful bosom often felt elate
With strong emotion, and went pit a pat :
He could not keep his eyes from off her beauties,
And—when she smiled—he sighed at such a rate
That she began,— as usual—to impute his
Tremors to certain proofs of ardour,— so acute is
The eye of woman when a youthful swain
Is caught by loveliness—hid to him the dawn
Of the soft passion that creates his pain,
Or of the shaft which Cupid's hand has drawn
In sportive playfulness —his look forlorn,
The mantling blush that o'er his features strays,
The sparkling which his bashful eyes adorn,
The smile that o'er his mouth delighted plays,
The energetic penetration of his gaze.
But ah ! if flattered at the youthful flame,
She feeds each kindling spark, and leads him on
By winning arts, too numerous for a name,
He deeply rues the end ; — his peace is gone.—
But if she checks it, e'er it has begun
To rankle in his heart, th' incipient fire
That has so many sorrowing youths undone,
Will, by her prudent treatment, rise no higher,
And in its unexcited tenement expire,
But we are growing very sentimental,
And may forget we 're on realities,
Miss Charlotte, then, whose taste was bent on men tall,
Thought Tom too short for sent'mentalities,
Or making love —but such are our fatalities
That she felt something like affection creeping
Within her heart— nor very strange at all it is
When Thomas Raw was daily at her peeping,
That she dreamt also of the youth when sleeping.
In short, they ogled morning, noon, and night
Or, as the vulgate has it— cast sheep's eyes
At one another— and, at every sight
Their bosoms heaved with many bursting sighs,
Both tried to speak — but in its honey dies
Each falt'ring word — when their warm hands united
They gave a squeeze — Oh, force of sympathies !
And then they seemed so very much delighted.
As if they, tacitly, their vows together plighted.
And so they went on, languishing and doting ;
The loving pair ! —Tom like John Dryden's Cymon,
Felt intellect awake, which had been floating
On seas of stupor— Love's the thing to try men,
And once he actually betook to rhyming,
Penning a sonnet on her glossy hair :
Cupid indeed seemed introducing Hymen
Into the bowers of my lady fair.
We'd give you the first stanza of it, did we dare.
Zu: 14. Zum Beispiel: François Bernier: Travels in the Mogul empire, A.D. 1656-1668 <Auszüge>