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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

India: Malabar

Ode to an Indian Gold Coin

By John Leyden (1775–1811)

SLAVE of the dark and dirty mine!

What vanity has brought thee here?

How can I love to see thee shine

So bright, whom I have bought so dear?

The tent-ropes flapping lone I hear

For twilight converse, arm in arm,

The jackal’s shriek bursts on mine ear

When mirth and music wont to charm.

By Clerical’s dark, wandering streams,

Where cane-tufts shadow all the wild,

Sweet visions haunt my waking dreams,

Of Teviot loved while still a child,

Of castled rock, stupendous piled

By Esk or Eden’s classic wave,

Where loves of youth and friendship smiled,

Uncursed by thee, vile, yellow slave!

Fade, day-dreams sweet, from memory fade!

The perished bliss of youth’s first prime,

That once so bright on fancy played,

Revives no more in after-time:

Far from my sacred natal clime,

I haste to an untimely grave;

The daring thoughts that soared sublime

Are sunk in Ocean’s Southern wave.

Slave of the mine! thy yellow light

Gleams baneful as the tomb-fire drear;

A gentle vision comes by night

My lonely widow’s heart to cheer:

Her eyes are dim with many a tear,

That once were guiding-stars to mine;

Her fond heart throbs with many a fear!

I cannot bear to see thee shine.

For thee, for thee, vile, yellow slave,

I left a heart that loved me true,

I crossed the tedious ocean wave,

To roam in climes unkind and new.

The cold wind of the stranger blew

Chill on my withered heart; the grave

Dark and untimely met my view,—

And all for thee, vile, yellow slave!

Ha! com’st thou now so late to mock

A wanderer’s banished heart forlorn,

Now that his frame the lightning-shock

Of sun-rays tipped with death has borne

From love? from friendships, country torn,

To memory’s fond regrets the prey?

Vile slave, thy yellow dross I scorn!

Go mix thee with thy kindred clay!