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Poems   By: (1828-1909)

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Poems by George Meredith Volume 1

CHILLIANWALLAH

Chillanwallah, Chillanwallah! Where our brothers fought and bled, O thy name is natural music And a dirge above the dead! Though we have not been defeated, Though we can't be overcome, Still, whene'er thou art repeated, I would fain that grief were dumb.

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah! 'Tis a name so sad and strange, Like a breeze through midnight harpstrings Ringing many a mournful change; But the wildness and the sorrow Have a meaning of their own Oh, whereof no glad to morrow Can relieve the dismal tone!

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah! 'Tis a village dark and low, By the bloody Jhelum river Bridged by the foreboding foe; And across the wintry water He is ready to retreat, When the carnage and the slaughter Shall have paid for his defeat.

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah! 'Tis a wild and dreary plain, Strewn with plots of thickest jungle, Matted with the gory stain. There the murder mouthed artillery, In the deadly ambuscade, Wrought the thunder of its treachery On the skeleton brigade.

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah! When the night set in with rain, Came the savage plundering devils To their work among the slain; And the wounded and the dying In cold blood did share the doom Of their comrades round them lying, Stiff in the dead skyless gloom.

Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah! Thou wilt be a doleful chord, And a mystic note of mourning That will need no chiming word; And that heart will leap with anguish Who may understand thee best; But the hopes of all will languish Till thy memory is at rest.

THE DOE: A FRAGMENT (From 'WANDERING WILLIE')

And 'Yonder look! yoho! yoho! Nancy is off!' the farmer cried, Advancing by the river side, Red kerchieft and brown coated; 'So, My girl, who else could leap like that? So neatly! like a lady! 'Zounds! Look at her how she leads the hounds!' And waving his dusty beaver hat, He cheered across the chase filled water, And clapt his arm about his daughter, And gave to Joan a courteous hug, And kiss that, like a stubborn plug From generous vats in vastness rounded, The inner wealth and spirit sounded: Eagerly pointing South, where, lo, The daintiest, fleetest footed doe Led o'er the fields and thro' the furze Beyond: her lively delicate ears Prickt up erect, and in her track A dappled lengthy striding pack.

Scarce had they cast eyes upon her, When every heart was wagered on her, And half in dread, and half delight, They watched her lovely bounding flight; As now across the flashing green, And now beneath the stately trees, And now far distant in the dene, She headed on with graceful ease: Hanging aloft with doubled knees, At times athwart some hedge or gate; And slackening pace by slow degrees, As for the foremost foe to wait. Renewing her outstripping rate Whene'er the hot pursuers neared, By garden wall and paled estate, Where clambering gazers whooped and cheered. Here winding under elm and oak, And slanting up the sunny hill: Splashing the water here like smoke Among the mill holms round the mill.

And 'Let her go; she shows her game, My Nancy girl, my pet and treasure!' The farmer sighed: his eyes with pleasure Brimming: ''Tis my daughter's name, My second daughter lying yonder.' And Willie's eye in search did wander, And caught at once, with moist regard, The white gleams of a grey churchyard. 'Three weeks before my girl had gone, And while upon her pillows propped, She lay at eve; the weakling fawn For still it seems a fawn just dropt A se'nnight to my Nancy's bed I brought to make my girl a gift: The mothers of them both were dead: And both to bless it was my drift, By giving each a friend; not thinking How rapidly my girl was sinking. And I remember how, to pat Its neck, she stretched her hand so weak, And its cold nose against her cheek Pressed fondly: and I fetched the mat To make it up a couch just by her, Where in the lone dark hours to lie: For neither dear old nurse nor I Would any single wish deny her... Continue reading book >>


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