Blue-eyed girls have bound his dear head with garlands of the amorous rosemary. The echoes of sea-caves would have chanted requiems until time should be no more. Embalmed in darkness the nightingale would nightly for ever pour forth her soul in profuse strains of inconsolable ecstasy; by day the dove should moan in the flickering shade until the sun should cease to roll on his fiery path:—
groves deep and high,
Sounds the far billow,
Where early violets die under the willow.
There, through the summer day,
Cool streams are laving;
There, while the tempests sway,
Scarce are boughs waving;
There thy rest should’st thou take,
Parted for ever,
Never again to wake: never, O never!”
With tender hand we would have traced on his memorial urn some valediction—not without hope—of love and friendship.
It was otherwise. He was buried during a dust-storm in a loathsome Indian cemetery. No friend stood by the grave. A hard priest reluctantly pattered an abbreviated service: and people whispered that it was not well with the Collector’s soul. He is now forgotten.
But, dear friend, thy memory blossoms in my heart for ever, thy merry laugh will still sound in my ear:—
with me till I sail
To seek thee on the mystic deeps,
And this electric force, that keeps
A thousand pulses dancing, fail.”
THE GRYPHON’S ANABASIS
[March 29, 1880.]
For some days the moustaches had been assuming a fiercer curl; more and more troopers had been added to the escort; the Lord whispered in the unreluctant ear softer and softer nothings; the scarlet runners bowed lower and lower; and it was rumoured that the Lord had given the Gryphon a pot of his own club-mutton hair-grease. It would be a halo. This development of glory must have a limit: a feeling got abroad that the Gryphon must go.
The Commander-in-Chief would come up to him bathed in smiles and say nothing; at other times with tears in his eyes he would swear with far resounding, multitudinous oaths to accompany the Gryphon. One day Wolseley’s pocket-book and a tooth-brush would be packed in tin; next day they would be unpacked. The vacillation was awful; it amounted to an agony; it involved all the circles; the newspapers were profoundly moved.
The Gryphon starts. Editors forget their proofs; Baboos forget Moses; mothers forget their cicisbeos. The mind of Calcutta is turned upon the Gryphon.
A thousand blue eyes and ten thousand black focus him. He takes his seat. A double-first class carriage has been reserved. The Superintendent-General of Balloons and Fireworks appears on the platform: the Gryphon steps out, takes precedence of him, and then returns to his carriage. The excitement increases. Pre-paid telegrams are flashed to Bombay, Madras, Allahabad, and Lahore; the engine whistles “God save the Queen-Empress and the Secretary to the Punjab Government;” and the train pours out its glories into the darkness.