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AN EVENING WALK IN BEN GAL.
OUR task is done ; on Gunga's breast
The sun is sinking down to rest;
And moored beneath the tamarind bough,
Our bark has found its harbor now.
With furled sail, and painted side,
Behold the tiny frigate ride.
Upon her deck, 'mid charcoal gleams,
The Moslems’ savory supper steams,
While all apart, beneath the wood,
The Hindoo cooks his simpler food.
Come, walk with me the jungle through;
If yonder hunter told us true,
Far off, in desert dank and rude,
The tiger holds his solitude;
Nor (taught by secret charm to shun
The thunders of the English gun,)
A dreadful guest but rarely seen,
Returns to scare the village green.
Come boldly on ; no venomed snake
Can shelter in so cool a brake :
Child of the sun, he loves to lie
"Mid nature's embers parched and dry,
Where, o'er some tower in ruin laid, The peepul spreads its haunted shade, Or round a tomb his scales to wreathe, Fit warder in the gate of death, Come on—yet pause: behold us now Beneath the banboo's arched bough, Where gemming oft that sacred gloom, Glows the geranium’s scarlet bloom, And winds our path through many a bower Of fragrant tree and giant flower; The ceiba's crimson pomp displayed O'er the broad plantain's humbler shade, And dusk anana’s prickly blade; While o'er the brake, so wild and fair, The betel waves his crest in air. With pendent train and rushing wings, Aloft the gorgeous-peacock springs; And he, the bird of hundred dyes, Whose plumes the dames of Ava prize. So rich a shade, so green a sod, Our English fairies never trod; . Yet who in Indian bower has stood, But thought on England’s “good green wood?” And blessed, beneath the palmy shade, Her hazel and her hawthorn glade, And breathed a prayer, (how oft in vain,) To gaze upon her oaks again A truce to thought: the jackal's cry
AN EVENING WALK IN BENGAL. 65
Resounds like sylvan revelry;
And through the trees, yon failing ray
Will scantly serve to guide our way.
Yet mark: as fade the upper skies,
Each thicket opes ten thousand eyes.
Before, beside us, and above,
The fire-fly lights his lamp of love,
Retreating, chasing, sinking, soaring,
The darkness of the copse exploring ;
While to this cooler air confessed,
The broad Dhatura bares her breast,
Of fragrant scent, and virgin white,
A pearl around the locks of night;
Still as we pass, in softened hum,
Along the breezy valleys come
The village song, the horn, the drum.
Still as we pass, from bush and briar,
The shrill cigala strikes his lyre;
And what is she, whose liquid strain
Thrills through yon copse of sugar-cane :
I know that soul-entrancing swell!
It is, it must be, Philomel!
Enough, enough, the rustling trees
Announce a shower upon the breeze,_
The flashes of the summer sky
Assume a deeper, ruddier dye ;
Yon lamp that trembles on the stream,
From forth our cabin sheds its beam ;
And we must early sleep to find
Betimes the morning's healthy wind.
But O, with thankful hearts confess,
E’en here there may be happiness;
And HE, the bounteous Sire, has given
His peace on earth, his hope of heaven :
LINEs written To HIS wiFE, WHILE ON A VISIT TO UPPER INDIA.
If thou wert by my side, my love,
How fast would evening fail
In green Bengala's palmy grove,
Listening the nightingale.
If thou, my love, wert by my side,
My babies at my knee,
How gayly would our pinnace glide
O'er Gunga's mimic sea.
I miss thee at the dawning gray,
When, on our deck reclined,
In careless ease my limbs I lay,
And woo the cooler wind.
I miss thee when by Gunga's stream
My twilight steps I guide,
But most beneath the lamp's pale beam,
I miss thee from my side.