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The Cummerbund
An Indian Poem


She sate upon her Dobie,
      To watch the Evening Star,
And all the Punkahs as they passed,
      Cried, 'My! how fair you are!'
Around her bower, with quivering leaves,
      The tall Kamsamahs grew,
And Kitmutgars in wild festoons
      Hung down from Tchokis blue.



Below her home the river rolled
      With soft meloobious sound,
Where golden-finned Chuprassies swam,
      In myriads circling round.
Above, on talles trees remote
      Green Ayahs perched alone,
And all night long the Mussak moan'd
      Its melancholy tone.



And where the purple Nullahs threw
      Their branches far and wide,--
And silvery Goreewallahs flew
      In silence, side by side,--
The little Bheesties' twittering cry
      Rose on the fragrant air,
And oft the angry Jampan howled
      Deep in his hateful lair.



She sate upon her Dobie,--
      She heard the Nimmak hum,--
When all at once a cry arose,--
      'The Cummerbund is come!'
In vain she fled: -- with open jaws
      The angry monster followed,
And so, (before assistence came,)
      That Lady Fair was swallowed.



They sought in vain for even a bone
      Respectfully to bury,--
They said, -- 'Hers was a dreadful fate!'
      (And Echo answered 'Very.')
They nailed her Dobie to the wall,
      Where last her form was seen,
And underneath they wrote these words,
      In yellow, blue, and green:--

Beware, ye Fair! Ye Fair, beware!
      Nor sit out late at night,--
Lest horrid Cummerbunds should come,
      And swallow you outright.

NOTE. -- First published in the Times of India,
Bombay, July, 1874.

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