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

Introductory to India

The Suttees

By Martin Farquhar Tupper (1810–1889)

O GOLDEN shores, primeval home of man,

How glorious is thy dwelling, Hindostan!

Thine are these smiling valleys bright with bloom,

Wild woods and sandal-groves, that breathe perfume,

Thine, these fair skies,—where morn’s returning ray

Has swept the starry robe of night away,

And gilt each dome and minaret and tower,

Gemmed every stream and tinted every flower.

But dark the spirit within thee;—from old time

Still o’er thee rolls the wheeling flood of crime,

Still o’er thee broods the curse of guiltless blood,

That shouts for vengeance from thy reeking sod;

Deep-flowing Ganges in his rushy bed

Moans a sad requiem for his children dead,

And, wafted frequent on the passing gale,

Rises the orphan’s sigh,—the widow’s wail.

Hark! ’t is the rolling of the funeral drum,

The white-robed Brahmins see, they come, they come,

Bringing, with frantic shouts and torch and trump,

And mingled signs of melancholy pomp,

That livid corpse, borne solemnly on high,—

And yon faint trembling victim, doomed to die.