27 February 2008

India Reposing (Martin Farquhar Tupper)

Be glad, thou tranquil Hindostan,
That GOD such mercy gives -
That tribe with tribe, and man with man
In friendly concord lives!
Rejoice, for peace and quiet days, -
Instead of those old times
When all the region was ablaze
With cruelties and crimes!

O happy days for India,
Now wars are made to cease, -
Nor Timur, Singh, nor Sindiah
Invade thy plenteous peace!
Beneath the flag of England
Ye hundred millions, rest!
And shout for joy, and sing Land
In Britain's mercies blest!

For strong-arm'd Law protects the weak
From each marauding crew, -
Nor savage Gond, nor fiery Sikh,
Affrights the mild Hindoo;
No more can Thug or hireling Bheel
Infest the pool or steep,
No longer does Pindarree steel
The ryot's harvest reap!

Rejoice! from Himalaya's snows
To level Malabar, -
From where the Nilelike Ganges flows
To Cutch and Candahar, -
Rejoice! that those old times are past,
Those fears and sorrows fled,
That gospel peace is come at last
And India comforted!

Energy [Four Bursts, Uttered in Character] (Martin Farquhar Tupper)


Indomitable merit
Of the stout old-English mind!
That makes a man inherit
The glories of his kind -
That scatters all around him
Until he stands sublime,
With nothing to confound him
The conqueror of Time, -
O mighty Perseverance!
O Courage, stern and stout,
That wills and works a clearance
Of every rabble rout, -
That cannot brook denial
And scarce allows delay,
But wins from every trial
More strength for every day, -
Antagonistic Power!
I praise - for praise I can -
The GOD, the place, the hour
That makes a man a Man -
The GOD, from whom all greatness -
The place, old England's shore -
The hour, an hour of lateness
(For time may soon be o'er) -
The Man - ay, every brother
Of Anglo-Saxon race
Who owns a British mother
In Freedom's dwelling place!


I feel, I feel within me
That courage self-possess'd -
The force, that yet shall win me
The brightest and the best -
The stalwart English daring
That steadily steps on,
Unswerving and unsparing
Until the world is won, -
The boldness and the quiet
That calmly go ahead,
In spite of wrath and riot,
In spite of quick and dead, -
Hot Energy to spur me,
Keen Enterprise to guide,
And Conscience to upstir me,
And Duty by my side,
And Hope before me singing
Assurance of success,
And rapid Action springing
At once to nothing less,
And all the mighty movings
That wrestle in my breast,
The longings and the lovings,
The Spirit's glad unrest
That scorns excuse to tender
Or Fortune's favour ask,
And never will surrender,
Whatever be the task!


I cannot wait for chances,
For luck I will not look;
In faith my spirit glances
At Providence - GOD's book;
And there, discerning truly,
That right is might at length,
I dare go forward duly
In quietness and strength,
Unflinching and unfearing,
The flatterer of none,
And in good courage wearing
The honours I have won!
Let Circumstance oppose me,
I beat it to my will;
And if the flood o'erflows me,
I dive and stem it still, -
No hindering dull material
Shall conquer or control
My energies ethereal -
My gladiator soul!
I will contrive occasion,
Not tamely bide my time;
No Capture, but Creation
Shall make my sport sublime!
Let lower spirits linger
For sign by beck or nod,
I always see the finger
Of an onward-urging GOD!


Not selfish - not hard-hearted -
Not vain, nor deaf, nor blind -
From wisdom not departed,
But in humbleness of mind,
Still shall mine independence
Stand manfully alone,
Nor dance a tame attendance
On any mortal throne,
Disciple of no teacher
Except the ONE in Heav'n,
And yielding to no creature
The Reason He hath giv'n!
Oh thus, while contemplation
In faith beholds above
My glorious hope, Salvation,
Eternity of Love,
And while an English spirit
Is bubbling at my heart,
To strengthen and upstir it
To play a giant's part,
No hindrance, nor misfortune -
No man's neglect, nor ill,
Shall bend me to importune
One weak indulgence still;
But with my GOD to nerve me,
My soul shall overwhelm
All circumstance to serve me
In my Spiritual Realm!

07 February 2008

from Summoned by Bells, IX, The Opening World (John Betjeman)

Silk-dressing-gowned, to Sunday-morning bells,
Long after breakfast had been cleared in Hall,
I wandered to my lavender-scented bath;
Then, with a loosely knotted shantung tie
And hair well soaked in Delhez' Genêt d'Or,
Strolled to the Eastgate. Oxford marmalade
And a thin volume by Lowes Dickinson
But half-engaged my thoughts till Sunday calm
Led me by crumbling walls and echoing lanes,
Past college chapels with their organ-groan
And churches stacked with bicycles outside,
To worship at High Mass in Pusey House.

Those were the days when that divine baroque
Transformed our English altars and our ways.
Fiddle-back chasuble in mid-Lent pink
Scandalized Rome and Protestants alike:
"Why do you try to ape the Holy See?"
"Why do you sojourn in a halfway house?"
And if these doubts had ever troubled me
(Praise God, they don't) I would have made the move.
What seemed to me a greater question then
Tugged, and still tugs: Is Christ the Son of God?
Despite my frequent lapses into lust,
Despite hypocrisy, revenge and hate,
I learned at Pusey House the Catholic faith.
Friends of those days, now patient parish priests,
By worldly standards you have not 'got on'
Who knelt with me as Oxford sunlight streamed
On some colonial bishop's broidered cope.
Some know for all their lives that Christ is God,
Some start upon that arduous love affair
In clouds of doubt and argument; and some
(My closest friends) seem not to want His love -
And why this is I wish to God I knew.
As at the Dragon School, so still for me
The steps to truth were made by sculptured stone,
Stained glass and vestments, holy-water stoups,
Incense and crossings of myself - the things
That hearty middle-stumpers most despise
As 'all the inessentials of the Faith'.