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Poem by George Meredith
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.
George Meredith's other poems:
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