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The Poetry of British India, 1780–1905


Editor: Máire ní Fhlathúin, University of Nottingham
2 Volume Set: c.800pp: May 2011
978 1 85196 985 2: 234x156mm: £195/$350

This two-volume reset edition draws


together a selection of Anglo-Indian
poetry from the Romantic era and the
nineteenth century. The poets engage
with India in different ways: some
deal with the experience of migration,
others respond to the Indian
landscape, whilst the wider project
of British rule in India also provides
an important theme. The lament, the
sonnet and the comic verse are all
favoured forms.
This extensive body of literature is not
well known, and can be accessed only
in rare books and periodicals of the
nineteenth century. This edition will
restore a group of marginalized voices
to the poetical canon.
‘Tom Raw in Danger’ [detail]
Extensive new editorial matter,
Image taken from Tom Raw the Griffin; a burlesque poem, in twelve cantos
including a substantial general Originally published/produced in London, 1828
introduction, volume introductions,
headnotes, endnotes, textual variants, •O
 ffers a broad range of poetic works, including
chronologies and an index of titles and first lines many which have not been published since their
will make this edition a vital resource for scholars original publication
researching Romantic and Nineteenth-Century
•A
 ttributes works to previously unidentified
Literature and Poetry.
authors

• Presents an overview of the tradition of British


poetry as it developed in India during the
Romantic and Victorian periods

•A
 ll texts are reset, with full scholarly apparatus
and indices of first lines and titles
IT ET
N
D S
IO
E E
R
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Contents*: Volume 2: 1836–1905


Anon, from ‘Griffe Epistles’, Oriental Observer (1837);
Volume 1: 1780–1835 James Hutchinson, from The Sunyassee, an Eastern
William Jones, ‘A Hymn to Camdeo’ (1784); Elizabeth Tale (1838); Samuel Sloper, from The Dacoit, and Other
Ryves, from The Hastiniad; an Heroic Poem (1785); Poems (1840); James Abbott, from The T’hakoorine: a
Ralph Broome, from The Letters of Simkin the Second, Tale of Maandoo (1841); Mary Ann Hartley, from The
Poetic Recorder of All the Proceedings, Upon the Trial Chaturanga; or Game of Chess (1841); James Henry Burke,
of Warren Hastings (1791); ‘Timothy Touchstone’, from from Days in the East: A Poem (1842); W R Bingham, from
Tea and Sugar, or, the Nabob and the Creole (1792); Anna The Field of Ferozeshah, in Two Cantos, with Other Poems
Maria Jones, from The Poems of Anna Maria (1793); John (1848); Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith, from Specimens
Horsford, from A Collection of Poems written in the East of Old Indian Poetry (1852); Ralph Thomas Hotchkin
Indies (1797); Warren Hastings, occasional verses (1797); Griffith, from Scenes from the Ramayana (1868); John
Amelia Opie, Hindoo Airs (1800); Anon, from Calcutta: Dunbar, from Poems (1853); ‘Koi Hai’, from Poems (1853);
A Poem (1811); ‘W’, from India: A Poem in Four Cantos Mary Carshore, from Songs of the East (1855); Henry
(1812); Anon, from The Cadet, a Poem (1814); ‘Quiz’, George Keene, from Ex Eremo: Poems Chiefly Written in
from The Grand Master; or, Adventures of Qui Hi in India (1855); Henry George Keene, from Peepul Leaves:
Hindostan: A Hudibrastic Poem in Eight Cantos (1816); Poems Written in India (1879); Mary J Jourdan, from
Henry Barkley Henderson, from The Goorkha, and Other Mind’s Mirror: Poetical Sketches (1856); Mary Eliza Leslie,
Poems (1817); Henry Barkley Henderson, from Satires in from Sorrows, Aspirations, and Legends from India
India (1819); John Leyden, from The Poetical Remains of (1858); ‘D M’, from Scenes from the Late Indian Mutinies
the Late Dr John Leyden: With a Memoir of His Life (1819); (1858); Anon, from Ex Oriente: Sonnets on the Indian
Anon, ‘Letter from Sir Anthony Fudge, to his Friend, Sir Rebellion (1858); ‘L I T’, from East and West (1859); Charles
Gabriel...’, Calcutta Journal (1820); Thomas Medwin, from Arthur Kelly, from Delhi and Other Poems (1864); G O
Oswald and Edwin: An Oriental Sketch (1820); Thomas Trevelyan, from The Competition Wallah (1864); Thomas
Medwin, from Sketches in Hindoostan (1821); Maria Benson Laurence, from Augusta, a Tale of the Mutiny of
Nugent, occasional verses from Calcutta Journal (1821, 1857, in Three Cantos, and Other Poems (1866); ‘Pips’ (W H
1822); [T D Morris], from ‘The Griffin’, Bombay Gazette Abbot), from Lyrics and Lays (1867); William Waterfield,
(1821); Anon, from Life and Adventures of Shigram-Po from Indian Ballads, and Other Poems (1868); Robert
(1821); Anon, from Life and Adventures of James Lovewell Caldwell, from The Chutney Lyrics: A Collection of Comic
(1829); George Anderson Vetch, from Poems: Containing Pieces in Verse on Indian Subjects (1871); George Augustine
Sultry Hours, and Songs of the Exile (1821); ‘A Jolly Old Stack, from The Songs of Ind (1872); ‘Chili Chutnee’, from
Writer’, from ‘Rinaldo’, Calcutta Journal (1822); John Social Scraps and Satires (1878); W T Webb, from Indian
Lawson, from Orient Harping (1822); John Lawson, Lyrics (1884); Edwin Arnold, from The Secret of Death
from The Maniac (1826); James Atkinson, from The City (1885); Edwin Arnold, from Lotus and Jewel (1887);
of Palaces (1824); Horace Gwynne, from Abdalla, an Thomas Frank Bignold, from Leviora: Being the Rhymes
Oriental Poem: With Other Pieces (1824); Henry Meredith of a Successful Competitor (1888); A C Lyall, from Verses
Parker, from The Draught of Immortality, and Other Written in India (1889); ‘Aliph Cheem’ (Walter Yeldham),
Poems (1827); Henry Meredith Parker, from Bole Ponjis from Lays of Ind (1893); G H Trevor, from Rhymes of
(1851); Reginald Heber, occasional verses (1828); Mrs G Rajputana (1894); ‘Ram Bux’, from Boojum Ballads (1895);
G Richardson, from Poems (1828); Charles D’Oyly, from Alec McMillan, from Divers Ditties, Chiefly Written in
Tom Raw, the Griffin: A Burlesque Poem in Twelve Cantos India (1895); John Renton Denning, from Soldierin’: a Few
(1828); Colonel Young, ‘The Mosquito’s Song’, Bengal Military Ballads (1899); ‘S’, from C P Pieces, and Other
Annual (1830); David Lester Richardson, from periodicals Verse (1899); ‘Laurence Hope’ (Adela Nicolson), from The
(1830s); David Lester Richardson, from Literary Leaves Garden of Kama, and other Love Lyrics from India (1901);
(1836); David Lester Richardson, from Literary Chit-Chat ‘Laurence Hope’ (Adela Nicolson), from Stars of the Desert
(1848); Emma Roberts, from Oriental Scenes (1830, 1832); (1903); ‘Laurence Hope’ (Adela Nicolson), from Indian Love
Augustus Prinsep, from ‘The Dakoit’, Bengal Annual (1831); (1905); Alice MacDonald Kipling and Alice ‘Trix’ Kipling,
Anon, from ‘Frederick and Flora’, Calcutta Magazine from Hand in Hand (1902)
(1831); Robert Calder Campbell, from Lays from the East
(1831); Robert Calder Campbell, from The Palmer’s Last *contents may alter prior to publication
Lesson (1838); Anon (‘a Young Civilian of Bengal’), from
India. A Poem, in Three Cantos (1834); W F Thompson,
occasional verses from Bengal Annual (1834–1836)
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sample page*

The Poetry of British India, 1780–1905

Henry Meredith Parker


Pindarry War Song1

Mount and away! – Hark! the Nuqura’s2 loud call


Bids the serf quit his labour, the chieftain his hall;
Bright looks and sweet voices awhile must give way
To the flash of the spear, and the war-courser’s neigh.

The Kaffers3 shall tremble, to view from afar


Our conquest-crown’d banner, like Buehram’s4 red star;
And fly to the sea, whence they treacherously came,
To rob us of glory, to clothe us in shame.

Would they track our bold march – let them look when on high,
Our watch-fire’s reflections hang red in the sky;
An Iris of hope to the free and the brave,
A meteor of fire to the coward and slave.

The Paishwa5 has flung forth his banner of might;


His gold-belted chieftains are girt for the fight;
And his people are arming, and mounting with glee,
To win back the empire of great Sevajee.6

1. An earlier version of this poem, six stanzas long, appeared under the title ‘Indian War
Song’ in the Oriental Herald and Colonial Review vol 2, no 5 (May 1824), signed ‘C.J.’
An introductory note presented it as having been ‘discovered in the cummerbund or
sash of a Pindarrie chieftain, who had fallen during a night skirmish between the free-
booters and a detachment of our cavalry in India, during the last campaign’. Successive
encounters between Pindari raiders (irregular mounted forces drawn from across the
Indian subcontinent) and British armies ended in the Pindaries’ defeat by a large army
commanded by Lord Hastings in 1817. This conflict widened into the third Anglo-
Maratha war (1817-1818), which resulted in defeat for the Maratha Confederacy and
the consolidation of British power in central India.
2. The state-drum [HMP]. Naqqaras (kettle-drums) were used by Maratha armies.
3. Infidels, from Arabic ‘kafir’ (OED). Parker’s note to the 1824 version glosses this word
as ‘a term of reproach mutually applied by Christians, Mohammedans, and idolaters, to
the enemies of their respective creeds’.
4. Mars [HMP] – the planet named for the Roman god of war.
5. Baji Rao II (1775-1852) of Poona, Peshwa (first minister) to the Raja of Satara and nom-
inal head of the Maratha Confederacy, was deposed by the British in 1818.
6. Shivaji Bhonsle (1627-1680) laid the foundations of the Maratha Confederacy.

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