CIVIL

Address to the Ganges by Shoshee Chunder Dutt

Address to the Ganges

The waves are dashing proudly down,
⁠Along thy sounding shore;
Lashing, with all the storm of power,
The craggy base of mountain tower,
⁠Of mosque, and pagod hoar,
That darkly o’er thy waters frown;
As if their moody spirits’ sway
Could hush thy wild and boist’rous play.

Unconscious roll the surges down,
⁠But not unconscious thou,
Dread spirit of the roaring flood!
For ages worshipp’d as a god,
⁠And worshipp’d even now—
Worshipp’d and not by serf or clown;
For sages of the mightiest fame
Have paid their homage to thy name.

Canst thou forget the glorious past,
⁠When, mighty as a god,
With hands and heart unfetter’d yet,
And eyes with slavish tears unwet,
⁠Each sable warrior trod
Thy sacred shore; before the blast
Of Moslem conquest hurried by;
Ere yet the Mogul spear was nigh?

O’er crumbled thrones thy waters glide,
⁠Through scenes of blood and woe;
And crown and kingdom, might and sway,
The victor’s and the poet’s bay,
⁠Ignobly sleep below.
Sole remnant of our ancient pride;
Thy waves survive the wreck of time,
And wanton free, as in their prime.

I gaze upon thy current strong
⁠Beneath the blaze of day;
What conjured visions throng my sight,
Of war and carnage, death and flight!
⁠Thy waters to the Bay
In purple eddies sweep along,
And Freedom shrieking leaves her shrine,
Alas! no longer now divine.

‘Twas here the savage Tartar stood,
⁠And toss’d his brand and spear;
The ripples of thy sacred stream
Reflected back his sabre’s gleam,
⁠While quaked with dastard fear
The children of a haughtier blood,
No longer now a haughty race,
Their own, their sires’, their land’s disgrace.

But why recount our woes and shame?
⁠Upon thy sacred shore
Be mine to dream of glories past,
To grieve those glories could not last,
⁠And muse on days of yore;
For ever harp on former fame,
Remembering still those spirits brave
Who sleep beneath thy boist’rous wave.

Roll, Gunga, roll in all thy pride,
⁠Thy hallow’d groves among!
Glorious art thou in every mood,
Thou boast of India’s widowhood,
⁠Thou theme of every song!
Blent with the murmurs of thy tide
The records of far ages lie,
And live, for thou canst never die.


Shoshee Chunder Dutt (1824–1885)

Categories: CIVIL

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