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"The tyranny of man had for ages struggled in vain against the overflowing bounty of Nature."
OTHERS have sung thy glorious sun-lit plain,
The glimmering shells that mock the straining view,
While snow-clad summits close the land of dreams, Northward, where Indus rolls, and Ganges' sacred flow.
Better for thee had'st thou endured a sky
If rude the blast, then stronger grows the will,
And strife itself supplies a strength that strife to bear.
Not such thy lot. Alas! thy fated land
That rifled half it's treasures; and the tide
Yet thou wast happy once, if he be true,
Whom time but sable-silvered-time in vain,
That brightness passed away; so dies the flash
Defy the coming storm as loth to part;
So sad a storm-cloud darkened India's dawn;
And hid once more religion, science, art;
And naught was left but gloom of that too smiling morn.
Can mortal say who first the scattered light
Gathered into a centre lamp of faith?
What soul awakened first from dismal night,
And breathed a life where all before was death?
Who knit the sympathies of soul with soul,
Fused all by laws into a sentient whole,
Inventing corporate head, creating corporate hand?
Satya was a legendary king of the Hindoo golden age.
Slowly, unmarked, the wondrous fabric grew
To counsel kings and read the guarded page
The warrior next-his bright sword flashed for all;
And last the ignoble slave, the land's laborious thrall.
And this still lives corrupting; this alone
To link thy present with thine old world days;
Confused, of falling thrones and changing creeds-
Lie tarnished like their swords all turned to blood-stained rust.
Yet once the mist uprose; like Snowdon's brows,
Lifts up their veil, and for one instant shows
We hear the phalanx shake the trembling ground;
And all the Northern powers, if tales be true,
Kings of Cashmere that India's marches hold,
E'en like the swathe fresh gemmed with summer dew,
The sweeping scythe hath into ridges rolled,
With many an ox-eye starred and meadow-sweet,
All sank before great Alexander's stroke,
And iron trampling of a thousand feet,
That, like resistless surge 'gainst failing barriers, broke.
Yet still one ruder shock 'twas thine to feel,
The one stern lord of that fanatic host,
Where mingled clash of arms with sound of prayer ;
And soon with many a dome and minaret,
Not lovelier once Grenada met the eye
Tells of the Moor's last sigh, when sad, alone,
Hid in the rocky pass and mountain vale
He looked on Christian soil where all had been his own.
And so thine fell-but not by Christian hand;
Burnt cities gave response and ghastly heaps of slain.