- by Alfred Comyn Lyall 49Mors Janua Vitae.
I am the God of the sensuous fire
That moulds all Nature in forms divine;
The symbols of death and of man's desire,
The springs of change in the world, are mine;
The organs of birth and the circlet of bones,
And the light loves carved on the temple stones.
I am the lord of delights and pain,
Of the pest that killeth, of fruitful joys;
I rule the currents of heart and vein;
A touch gives passion, a look destroys;
In the heat and cold of my lightest breath
Is the might incarnate of Lust and Death.
If a thousand altars stream with blood
Of the victims slain by the chanting priest,
Is a great God lured by the savoury food?
I reck not of worship, or song, or feast;
But that millions perish, each hour that flies,
Is the mystic sign of my sacrifice.
Ye may plead and pray for the millions born;
They come like dew on the morning grass;
Your vows and vigils I hold in scorn,
The soul stays never, the stages pass;
All life is the play of the power that stirs
In the dance of my wanton worshippers.
And the strong swift river my shrine below
It runs, like man, its unending course
To the boundless sea from eternal snow;
Mine is the Fountain—and mine the Force
That spurs all nature to ceaseless strife;
And my image is Death at the gates of Life.
In many a legend and many a shape,
In the solemn grove and the crowded street,
I am the Slayer, whom none escape;
I am Death trod under a fair girl's feet;
I govern the tides of the sentient sea
That ebbs and flows to eternity.
And the sum of the thought and the knowledge of man
Is the secret tale that my emblems tell;
Do ye seek God's purpose, or trace his plan?
Ye may read your doom in my parable:
For the circle of life in its flower and its fall
Is the writing that runs on my temple wall.…
Let my temples fall, they are dark with age,
Let my idols break, they have stood their day;
On their deep hewn stones the primeval sage
Has figured the spells that endure alway;
My presence may vanish from river and grove,
But I rule for ever in Death and Love.
Studies at Delhi, 1876
- by Alfred Comyn Lyall 30I.--The Hindu Ascetic.
Here as I sit by the Jumna bank,
Watching the flow of the sacred stream,
Pass me the legions, rank on rank,
And the cannon roar, and the bayonets gleam.
Is it a god or a king that comes?
Both are evil, and both are strong;
With women and worshipping, dancing and drums,
Carry your gods and your kings along.
Fanciful shapes of a plastic earth,
These are the visions that weary the eye;
These I may 'scape by a luckier birth,
Musing, and fasting, and hoping to die.
When shall these phantoums flicker away?
Like the smoke of the guns on the wind-swept hill,
Like the sounds and colours of yesterday:
And the soul have rest, and the air be still.
Har dly a shot from the gate we stormed,
Under the Moree battlement's shade;
Close to the glacis our game was formed,
There had the fight been, and there we played.
Lightly the demoiselles tittered and leapt,
Merrily capered the players all;
North, was the garden where Nicholson slept,
South, was the sweep of a battered wall.
Near me a Musalmán, civil and mild,
Watched as the shuttlecocks rose and fell;
And he said, as he counted his beads and smiled,
"God smite their souls to the depths of hell."
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