Cheyt Sing

Cheyt Sing.



by a

Young Lady of Fifteen.


Inscribed, by permission,

to the



“OPPRESSION, with her heart wrapt up in tripple brass,

ASSAULTS mankind.”


“Oh! ‘tis excellent to have a giant’s strength;

“But it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.”



Printed for the Author;

And Sold by J. Woodhouse, No. 10, Brook-Street, Grosvenor-Square;

Fuller, Newbury; Collins and Johnson, Salisbury.[iii]



At an æra when the multiplicity of publications is a general complaint, it may be thought necessary to apologize to the Public, for intruding upon them so youthful a production. A sense of this, with the inexperience and obscurity of the Authoress, has hitherto withheld this piece, written at the commencement of the trial: nor could even the partiality of friendship encourage the present attempt, had not the approbation of so undoubted a judge of poetical merit sanctioned it, by allowing his name to be prefixt; an approbation the more flattering, as bestowed solely on the piece; the Authoress, and even her most distant connections, being entirely unknown.

A latent spark of vanity is soon kindled in the breast of a young Poetess, and is, surely, pardonable. A stranger to the world, unbyassed by interest, unconnected with party, her sentiments are the genuine effusions of Nature and Humanity: as such, she timidly presumes to offer them; and trusts to candour for indulgence to her imperfections, and to the Friends of Liberty, and Protectors of Mankind, for Patronage.

Ye Pow’rs who still o’er British hearts prevail,

All hail! sweet Mercy; awful Justice, hail!

In blest alliance now assist my Muse,

Your sacred influence through each line diffuse.

Your youthful votary’s untaught pen direct,

From scorn, this off’ring at your shrine protect;

The warm effusions of a feeling Mind,

Whose glowing pity, takes in all mankind;

Who the distinction of a clime disdains,

And mourns her kindred on Indostan’s plains. 10

Haste, seek the Senate! – there assert your sway,

From Albion’s annals wipe this stain away,

So shall Oppression hide her baleful head,

And fly, abandon’d, pierc’d with inward dread.

So shall her followers sink, appall’d with shame;

Ev’n He whom eastern empires start to name.

Who snatch’d a sceptre from a Prince’s hand,

And scatter’d devastation o’er his land,

Bade horror triumph both in court and plain,

And curst alike the monarch and the swain. 20

And shall he here the wish’d for refuge find?

Shall we support the scourger of his kind?

Shall ill-got wealth be spent on England’s shore,

And cover wrongs which India’s sons deplore?

Should the rich gem obscure Truth’s piercing eye?

Golconda’s ravag’d diamonds safely buy?

How would Britannia weep her injur’d fame,

And blot, with tears, the records of her shame;

Or strive to shade them with Oblivion’s night,

And from avenging Heaven obscure the sight! 30

While Spain exulting plucks aside the veil

And gives to Europe’s eyes the guilty tale.

No more that Spain would blush to name Peru,

Should gold the justice of our Isle subdue;

No more in mem’ry the black deed be stor’d,

Nor Hist’ry paint her with ensanguin’d sword;

Her stains would vanish; – and succeeding times

Would hide her vices, to announce our crimes.

Ill-fated Mexico would now no more

See melting Pity its sad state deplore, 40

No more its wretched native pleas’d will find

His proud destroyer hated by mankind.

Yes – should we fall, Iberia’s cure is found,

That fall at once would heal her desp’rate wound;

Then, then would Albion feel the shaft alone,

And loud report proclaim it all her own.

But shall her sons so polish’d and refin’d,

Whom Heav’n has still for deeds of worth design’d,

Forget their greatness, and their birth disgrace?

Let me from hence the mean idea chase. – 50

Speak, sons of earth! – who can with these compare,

These whom Minerva makes her partial care;

Whom Nature forming, this fond wish exprest,

“Be great,” she said; “And, as you’re great, be blest.”

Then rise ye fav’rites of celestial pow’rs!

Nor let luxurious ease, engross your hours;

Think you behold a suppliant people’s woes;

Whose gentle nature, sinks beneath their foes;

Behold them prostrate speak their numerous fears,

Whilst doubtful hope stands trembling in their tears. 60

Not stern revenge the mild Hindoo demands,

But seeks protection, from your shelt’ring hands.

See white-rob’d Bramin’s now before you bend,

And each inferior Cast its fate attend:

’Tis yours, each embryo Tyrant now to quell,

And from the seeming famine now no more,

Infest with direful sway the peaceful shore;

No more like sheep, the panting myriads fly,

Or stay, by unrelenting hands to die.

Now then your bounty’s untouch’d honour save, 70

And guard, with care, the glory which she gave.

But what, Oh! Cheyt Sing, can thy wrongs atone,

Forc’d to desert a kingdom and a throne!

In eastern pomp, in eastern luxury bred,

To guilt a stranger, and unknown to dread:

Us’d to the royal robe, and scepter’d hand,

The happy Rajah of a fruitful land;

Of wealth, dominion, and content possess’d,

His subjects blessing, by his subjects blest:

His ample stores the image of his mind, 80

Flow’d o’er his realm with bounty unconfin’d,

No clam’rous mendicant there pin’d for food,

He liv’d devoted to his People’s good:

To him Misfortune’s victim told his grief,

Sure of receiving the implor’d relief;

Or should relief exceed a mortal pow’r,

His kind condolence chear’d the lab’ring hour.

Here would the stranger find a safe retreat;

Languid with travel, or fatigu’d with heat.

The curious trav’ller, whose exploring soul, 90

Eager for knowledge, rov’d from pole to pole;

Who scorn’d the danger of tempestuous seas,

And bade adieu to ignorance and ease;

Who form’d by Nature to approve her laws,

Had travers’d regions in that Nature’s cause;

For her o’er barren tracts had bent his way,

Spending in constant toil the lonely day;

Had felt the fury of the northern blast,

And through the snows of chilling Zembla past:

For her had burn’d beneath the torrid zone, 100

The piercing beams of Afric’s suns had known,

Before the solar ray had sunk opprest,

Whilst thund’ring skies alarm’d his throbbing breast;

Saw with amazement mingled with delight,

The happy province bursting on his sight.

Yes – once ’twas thine, Benares, to engage

Th’ unpracticed novice, or the skillful sage.

Sure thou wast form’d, unhappy land! to raise

From ignorance, wonder – and from wisdom, praise.

But soon dread Cruelty her pow’r employs, 110

Blasts each fair scene, and shortens all thy joys.

What if the sumptuous palace still remains,

Can that atone for desolated plains?

What tho’ to view the glitt’ring turrets rise,

Whose tow’ring summits seem to reach the skies,

Can the rich structure yield what Heav’n deny’d,

Protect their Prince, or prompt a gen’rous pride?

But many a stately pile the ravage found,

Bow’d its aspiring head, and met the ground:

And should the Temple from the darken’d glade, 120

With awful grandeur grace the hallow’d shade,

The ruddy drops that dye the sacred walls,

Each lively terror to the mind recals;

Drives the affrighted Pilgrim from the dome,

And bids Religion quit her native home.

Yes – she too flies! Affliction’s last resource,

She who could best alleviate ev’ry curse;

Appease the victim in the tort’rers hand,

And ev’ry noble sense and thought expand;

Who could each earthly agony controul, 130

And whisper courage to the bursting soul;

Ah! see her now to distant lands repair!

And leave at once Benares and despair!

But tho’ her form foregoes a scene so drear,

Yet still her dearer part shall triumph here.

E’en so a mother mourns her hope and pride,

When forc’d reluctant from her darling’s side,

In clime remote still feels the tender tye,

And views his image with internal eye,

E’en so Religion with these cares opprest, 140

Fires with her spirit each lov’d vot’ries breast;

And still those breasts with love and duty burn,

Less sure the mother of a kind return;

And tho’ no more with gems her altars shine,

And splendid pomp, and solemn order join,

Yet shall her inmost self be ever there,

And firm devotion ev’ry tyrant dare.

What tho’ the body be to bondage led,

And ev’ry worldly aid, and succour fled;

Yet still the heart unconquer’d may remain, 150

And meet the murderer with proud disdain:

Thus too Religion crush’d, disgrac’d, abus’d,

Her temples ruin’d and her rites refus’d,

Shall reign unmov’d, unrival’d in the mind

And in each bosom an asylum find.

And who shall blame their warm mistaken zeal

Who practice all they know, and all they feel?

Conscious of right they find no better way,

And christian vices lead them more astray:

Check’d by unkindness, and by pride dismay’d, 160

Ensnar’d by art, by treachery betray’d,

They seek protection from imagin’d pow’rs,

And starting, tremble, at a faith like ours.

But soon this faith in pity’s form had won

These poor untutor’d children of the sun.

Soon had persuasion, in affection’s voice,

Rul’d ev’ry will, and settled ev’ry choice;

Soon had they yielded to a christian sway,

Blest with such fathers as in *Paraguay;

Where the wise Jesuit, with mild controul 170

Cherish’d the body, and secur’d the soul,

At once the priest, the father, and the friend,

See o’er their flock the careful shepherds tend;

Inform, illume, and civilize the code,

And lay a province at the throne of God.

Accept good fathers so deserv’d a praise,

Which deeds like yours can never fail to raise,

How would they now in Fame unequall’d rise,

Had not blind Prejudice with dark’ning dyes,

Stain’d the bright polish of a deed so rare, 180

And Superstition left a blemish there.

Oh! had our purer faith like this been shown,

Then had each Sect embrac’d it as their own;

Had our example their attention caught,

Then had conviction fixt each wavering thought!

But Albion’s sons disclaim’d a gentle sway,

And, by constraint, would make whole realms obey.

Thus they a subject people’s fondness lose,

And all their honest gratitude refuse;

Who lost to all the bliss that mem’ry knows, 190

And all that nature’s lavish hand bestows,

See with regret the product of their land

In lux’ry wasted by a foreign band;

By self-made monarchs doom’d to constant toil,

Slaves to the outcasts of Europa’s soil.

For what if Ceres still abundance yields;

And still her bounteous crops enrich the fields;

Upon the clime be all the thanks bestow’d,

From her full hand the gift unwilling flow’d:

Since not for them, she, now, each rising morn, 200

Flings the forc’d plenty from her golden horn.

“And must I feed these ravagers, she cries,

“Whose hands are stain’d with sanguinary dyes;

“Those who the glories of my reign defac’d,

“By whom my guiltless fav’rites are disgrac’d?

“Disgrac’d – ah, no! on them the stigma falls,

“Whose brutal force a harmless nation galls;

“To us Compassion with her balm repairs,

“Ours passive mis’ry – splendid guilt be theirs!”

So fair Pomona through embow’ring groves, 210

In pensive melancholy onward roves,

Scatt’ring her treasures with reluctant grace,

Whilst a deep sadness clouds her beauteous face;

And as she bids the rich profusion rise,

The starting tear stands glitt’ring in her eyes;

And still as each new gift salutes her view,

The pearly drops those roseate gifts bedew.

But, oh! shall griefs for fancy’d ills o’erflow,

And steal attention from substantial woe?

Ideal sorrows wake the pensive lyre 220

Which only Cheyt Sing’s wrongs should now inspire?

Then let me trace thee, ever-injur’d Chief!

Through scenes of sorrow that despise relief;

When hands oppressive, and insulting pow’r,

With pain and tumult haunt the restless hour;

When nights of gloom succeeded days of care,

And time seem’d anxious to promote despair:

When dire misfortune shew’d her threat’ning form,

And on thy country rain’d the dreaded storm:

When tyranny thy now lost realm o’erpower’d, 230

And cruelty with frowns portentous lowr’d.

And when her vot’ry, now, to rule attain’d,

And, by a present danger unrestrain’d,

Beneath the shelter of far distant climes,

Forgot the justice that must judge his crimes;

Dar’d to commit rash acts of guilt and shame,

And stain’d the glory of the British name:

So shall my tale a gen’rous warmth impart,

And rouze the sleepy feelings of the heart.

Thus the ill-fated Rajah’s woes began, 240

And disappointment blasted ev’ry plan.

Secure in innocence no fear he knew,

Which fed the source from whence each mischief grew.

With easy confidence embrac’d deceit,

And laid his empire at a serpent’s feet.

With ready footsteps gladly would attend

A false protector and a mining friend.

All unsuspecting, on his truth relied,

And bade him ev’ry thought and action guide.

But soon the trait’rous friend threw off disguise, 250

And the protector dar’d his charge despise;

And while the bending knee, and suppliant pray’r,

Ask at his hand a father’s fost’ring care;

And when with mild submission is bestow’d,

The lawful tribute which Benares ow’d,

Takes with unthankful hand the glitt’ring store,

And then, in hostile terms, insists on more.

Long had he joyful heard the voice of Fame

The growing riches of the Chief proclaim,

As long determin’d, with insidious stealth, 260

To crush the hapless Prince, and share his wealth.

By av’rice, by insatiate av’rice steel’d,

Each softer feeling in his breast congeal’d,

Through his fir’d brain each dire expedient flies,

And thus indignant to the chief he cries:

“For what black purpose is thy gold design’d?

“Know, thy rebellion its reward shall find.

“Not for myself thy hoarded gems I ask,

“My country’s good demands the painful task.

“Let the rich casket, hence await my call, 270

“Perform thy duty, or – expect thy fall.

“Each diff’rent tax at my command prepare,

“Nor more with coward art my justice dare.”

Malignant fury kindled as he spoke,

Whilst from his lips each specious sentence broke,

Nor cooler prudence could its force asswage,

The bursting venom dash’d each word with rage:

Tempestuous terrors best describe his form,

His look the threat’ning cloud; his voice the storm.

Ah who can Cheyt Sing’s inward pangs relate, 280

Or paint the deep distresses of his fate;

Cheated by fortune, by his friend revil’d,

Both black with frowns, when most he hop’d they smil’d:

Like one whose lids with balmy sleep opprest,

Finds on his pillow that he’s wholly blest;

Forgets a mortal’s lot in fancy’s arms,

Whilst pictur’d joy his raptur’d spirit charms;

Imagination now her treasure brings,

And hope comes fleeting on her golden wings;

But as these transports through his bosom glow, 290

Awak’ning reason shews him all his woe.

E’en so had Cheyt Sing – with such dreams amus’d,

Th’ enlight’ning ray of warning sense refus’d,

’Till, as if rous’d by Heav’ns most awful peal,

These words the mis’ry of his state reveal.

What diff’rent passions now his heart assail!

Now each by turns, submit, and now prevail!

But there no seat shall dire revenge obtain,

He seems to supplicate, but not complain;

The simple sorrows of a gen’rous mind, 300

Deeply affected, but still all resign’d.

And first the honours that his head surround,

The mark of glory that his temples bound,

Th’ imperial cap, that late his forehead grac’d,

Warm from his brow, upon the ground he plac’d;

With suppliant form the awful silence breaks,

And thus th’ offended to th’ offender speaks.

“What would my friend?—to him I all resign,

“My wealth,my royalty,my life be thine:

“But should I still my pomp and honours hold, 310

“Oh! let my guardian his desires unfold;

“So shall obedience no commands require,

“Mock the stern mandate, and elude desire.”

Let not my countrymen these words deride;

Those sons of liberty, and valour’s pride!

Their firmer spirits yet unchain’d, unbroke,

Disdain the captive that forgets his yoke;

Nor think how Freedom cheer’d their earliest times

Of diff’ring manners, and of diff’ring climes!

Of souls impress’d in Nature’s varying mould, 320

Submissive these, – those resolute and bold!

Impartial virtue, loves the weak or brave,

The crested warrior, or the harness’d slave;

Far from oppressing, the opprest sustain,

Nor let true courage hear the wrong’d complain;

No more the mildness of my Prince reject,

Or British hero’s on these plains expect.

With rage and envy now th’ insulter burns;

His red’ning visage from the Chief he turns.

Not such the blush that conscious goodness owns, 330

When gen’rous shame the past offence atones;

When real greatness ev’ry grace renews,

Cancels each error, and revenge subdues.

Here no such conquest innocence shall know;

The torch of Discord gave the transient glow;

That gen’rous shame, could not illume the steel,

Nor teach the rugged adamant to feel,

Dispel, or dissipate the threat’ning gloom;

She stopt the sentence but affixt the doom.

Like as some low’ring cloud o’erhangs the sky, 340

Veiling fierce fires that in its covert lie;

Save when some vivid flash alarms our sight,

Piercing thick vapours that conceal’d its light;

’Till when surcharg’d, if all its fury sends,

The structure trembles, and the forest bends;

Then rush those fires forth from their burst retreat,

And fill the air with elemental heat;

’Tis then destruction’s form is seen through all,

And rides triumphant on the liquid ball.

E’en so he bade each passion bear controul, 350

And lock’d the impetuous torrent in his soul:

Then with the threat’ning look, and sullen air,

That serv’d the lurking mischief to declare;

Lest further converse his intents display,

He leaves the wond’ring Rajah to dismay.

Now the betrayer all restraint resigns,

And plans the sudden vengeance he designs:

First calls around him a selected band,

Train’d for his use, supported by his hand;

Whose rise or fall depend upon his will, 360

Who pleas’d each evil embassy fulfil:

Then thus he speaks, with vain presumptuous voice,

To these, the servile creatures of his choice.

“Where the fam’d towers of rich Benares rise,

“Lost in security its sov’reign lies;

“There, silent, with attendant guards, repair,

“And let his captive person be your care.

“Know that my pleasure ne’er admits delay,

“Haste to the enterprize, nor longer stay.”

Swift as some baneful influence from the sky, 370

These earthly dæmons to the victim fly,

There in his palace, on the royal seat,

Dare to confine him, and with insult treat.

Ah! ill-star’d Chief! no more unknown to dread,

What gathering tempests settle round thy head!

Methinks I hear thy broken accents flow,

Invoke the Heav’ns, and pour forth all the woe.

’Twas not an enemy who stabb’d alone;

A ravish’d sceptre, or a shaken throne;

The trusted friend, perfidious and unkind, 380

Tortur’d his feelings, and unman’d his mind.

“Fear no resistance,” all o’erwhelm’d, he cries:

“I sink unequal to the sad surprize;

“Can my protector my destroyer be,

“And make his pris’ner one who ne’er was free?

“But learn, henceforth, ye murd’rers of repose,

“No further length your groundless hatred knows!

“Death has no terrors but I’ll scorn to shun,

“A Prince dishonour’d, is a Prince undone!

“Yet will I once more strive to move by pray’r; 390

“The form of mercy is a Christian’s care.

“Would I could waken the inspiring soul

“To melt these icy children of the pole!”

Soon as the early beams of dawning light

Undraw the sable curtains of the night,

And bright Aurora drest in radiant hues,

Shakes from seraphic wings, ambrosial dews,

First, to his Gods, the sleepless Chieftain bends,

His hair dishevels, and his vesture rends;

Then with devotion, genuine and unfeign’d, 400

Pours forth each transport by no fear restrain’d:

And like some wretch who lost to human aid,

The world forsaking, of the world afraid,

Finds in the sad, the inauspicious hour,

Some hand compassionate, some friendly pow’r,

To whom he speaks each woe, pours forth each care,

’Till the hard burthen lightens into air.

So does his aching spirit find relief,

He seems awhile to lose each mortal grief.

Now sends he to a tyrant for release, 410

And begs of discord, amity and peace,

Paints each affliction in truth’s touching strains,

Yet shuns reproaches, and complaint disdains.

But as the gentle breeze that wanton plays

Still adds new life, new vigour to the blaze,

So did the poignant sorrow seen through all,

A guilty triumph from his bosom call;

Words fram’d by agony but mirth impart,

Nor pierce the adamant that guards his heart.

Harden’d by av’rice, and by fury press’d, 420

Each dormant fire was kindled in his breast.

“Be hence,” he cries, “nor more my anger brave,

“’Tis not for me to parley with a slave!”

Thus whilst frail hope the busy thought employ’d,

Returning messengers those hopes destroy’d;

Pluck’d from Misfortune the slight veil she wore,

And robb’d expectance of its flatt’ring store.

Now proud Oppression opens all her hoard;

Prepares her fetters, and unsheathes her sword;

In vain the subject to his sov’reign flies, 430

His alter’d state a new distress supplies.

In him no more the healing balm is found,

His presence adds but poison to the wound;

Yet still his voice salutes the list’ning ear,

Condemns their fury, and reproves their fear.

“And since,” he cries, “no pray’r can pity move,

“A patient firmness innocence shall prove;

“But from my trust no direful purpose hide,

“Nor steel your nature’s with ungentle pride;

“Abhor the Christian dye, the sanguine stain, 440

“Ye guiltless natives of an Indian plain.”

Curst be the low-born vassal that could dare

Shock, or surprize, a fortitude so rare!

Forget the rev’rence royalty demands,

And ’gainst a monarch raise his impious hands!

Now in each subject’s breast resentment grows,

Lives in each action, in each feature glows;

Their Prince confin’d, insulted, and disgrac’d,

His milder lessons from their minds effac’d.

Now ’bove constraint their just resentments rise, 450

Tumultuous clamours rend the sounding skies,

Forth flies the arrow from the well-strung bow,

And darting lays the daring miscreant low:

From pow’rs rude grasp their injur’d lord they tear,

In all the rash presumption of despair.

And now at even close with boding dread,

Urg’d by past terrors, by intreaty led,

The wretched Rajah, with a chosen few,

Bids to his prison, once his court, adieu!

His wife, his mother, on his steps await, 460

The sad companions of his wayward fate;

And whilst they hang on his supporting arms,

He cheats idea of its rude alarms,

Robs of the pearly drop the tearful eye,

And bursts the thought before it gains a sigh.

Now all unseen, along the shadowy glade,

Eager they fly, at ev’ry sound dismay’d;

Nor once could admiration prompt the gaze, )

Where Hesper’s beams, and Cynthia’s silver rays. )

Magnific nature to the sight displays; ) 470

Where worlds illuminate thro’ ether roll,

And pour effulgence on the tranquil soul:

Far other scenes their gloomy thoughts absorb,

And vain the radiance of each brilliant orb.

Soon some light vessel for their use they found,

But rugged banks deep fence the river round,

Unfit for those who care nor danger knew,

’Till varying fortune each fair gift withdrew.

But obstacles the guardian band despise,

And each the turban from his head unties, 480

Then all uniting, to the distant barge

With tend’rest care they sink each royal charge;

Now dashing oars with answering motion play,

And cut with foaming speed the liquid way.

Where earth beneath a massy fortress groans,

That for its lord, the noble Cheyt Sing owns,

Th’ afflicted mourners seek a short repose,

Their wearied lids in broken slumbers close;

For anxious care the restless sleep destroy’d,

And aching thought on real woes employ’d. 490

Now though his friends a constant aid ensure,

And willing vassals his lov’d form secure;

Tho’ faithful troops would gladly deal the blow,

And rush undaunted on the wareless foe;

As unsuspecting, all unfit for fray,

With few attendants unprepar’d he lay.

The gen’rous Rajah nobly shuns the deed,

“Tis thus,” he cries, “our enemies proceed;

“Let gentler means avail than human blood,

“Nor stain your arrows in the crimson flood.” 500

Again he to the proud oppressor sends;

The humbler messenger before him bends;

In moving terms the varied sorrow pours,

And future amity and peace implores.

But ah! tis vain, and past redemption all,

A young usurper triumphs in his fall!

Th’ unjust dethroner, with unlawful pow’r,

Despoil’d the wand’rer of the monarch’s dow’r;

The trembling enjoy with disdain he views,

And all his words the angry soul diffuse. 510

“And go,” he cries, “report my strict commands,

“Nor hope, nor ask forgiveness at my hands;

“Your rebel lines in copied order place, )

“So will I teach submission to your race, )

“And far from hence your flying leader chace.” )

In vain would Cheyt Sing ’bove the threat’ner rise,

Repeated challenges that wish denies.

Now in the field the ready trains attend,

Whose honest zeal their countries rights defend;

Who for their Prince superior numbers dare, 520

And, pleas’d, their ardor for his cause declare!

The furious hosts encounter on the plain;

The martial trumpet fires the mad’ning brain;

The coward spirit emulates the brave,

And all forget the terrors of the grave.

But ah! too late the sons of Indus know

How ’tis to combat with a British foe!

Long threat’ning death the Rajah’s band pursu’d,

Retreat at length the Christian conquest shew’d.

Ah! did those hands the sword of justice wield; 530

Protect the injur’d, and the guiltless shield;

Immortal praise the victor’s name shall crown,

And clothe the glorious deed, with true renown.

The vanquish’d army now their king surround,

And e’en with tenderness his feelings wound:

“Oh leave this lov’d, this ruin’d land,” they cry,

“Nor let thy people see their monarch die:

“With thee, at once, our fear, our joy departs,

“Friend of our souls, and ruler of our hearts;

“Rob of its choicest prey the murd’rers knife, 540

“And, as thy subjects blessing, save thy life.”

“What leave my followers?” the sad chief returns,

“For whom this breast with grateful fondness burns?

“That wife, that mother, who with anxious care,

“In all the changes of my fortune share?

“Whose helpless nature’s a strict guard demand,

“Like Cheyt Sing, bound by ev’ry sacred band?

“These plains, dear records of my smiling years,

“Whose springing herbage now is bath’d in tears?

“Ah! see it droops beneath the baleful dew, 550

“Nor bears the influence of a damp so new!

“Shall I be known to fly my country’s fate,

“A self-made exile from my sire’s estate?”

Now his attention murm’ring voices call,

Prostrate on earth the eager suppliants fall:

“Ah! what,” they cry, “when British pow’rs assail,

“What shall thy presence, what thy arm avail?

“Let not thy children now intreat in vain,

“Nor with mistaken love augment their pain;

“How shall we bear, thus loaded and depress’d, 560

“To see the poignard buried in thy breast?

“How will thy lovely consort need relief,

“When thy sad death shall sum up ev’ry grief?

“Oh how shall then thy lifeless form atone,

“The rending sigh, the agonizing groan?

“How shall we then with ceaseless woe supply’d,

“Wish thee with life far distant from our side?

“Our last resource, our refuge from despair

“Lives in thy life.” – Here grief supprest the pray’r.

Silent he hears! – in sad distemper’d mood, 570

Long lost in doubt irresolute he stood;

’Till in keen conflict with the bursting tear,

Caressing hope, and combating with fear,

More pow’rful claimants bending at his feet,

The struggling hero, in the man defeat.

“Ah! go,” they cry, “and quit this hapless realm,

“Lest endless sorrow should our lives o’erwhelm;

“Revolving time may close these dire alarms,

“And give thee back in safety to our arms!”

“I go,” he cries, “these pray’rs must ever move, 580

“What is not dear, preserv’d for those we love!”

Now whilst their arms around each other fold,

The rushing spirit with despair grows bold,

Spurns the close confines of the beating heart,

And finds a passage through the mortal part.

What thoughts were theirs! How exquisitely sad!

The rising sob all utterance forbad.

But can my muse their pungent feelings trace,

Or paint the tortures of the last embrace?

When the mind yielding to the desp’rate view, 590

Hail’d future mis’ry in the last adieu.

First from the circling bands the Chieftain starts,

And with reluctant, ling’ring step departs;

Cheer’d by his guides, whose watchful cares, reveal

Unmov’d fidelity, and ardent zeal.

Full oft he stands, a mute, despairing form,

Press’d by adversity’s unceasing storm;

Lost, ever lost, to all that late could charm,

And pining grief, and black-brow’d care disarm!

As when some bark of ev’ry aid bereft, 600

No sail, no oar, no friendly anchor left,

Awaits Destruction in the wat’ry grave,

Nor shuns the dangers of the rolling wave;

But now a calm the broken vessel spares,

And ocean on its tide the remnant bears:

So he at length a milder grief obeys,

And Reason’s gentle tide each action sways!

Nature, for safety, pleads her melting strain,

And Pride demands to fly the captive chain;

Hope, too, appears amid th’ imploring band, 610

And bears the monarch to a neighb’ring land,

Where the Marratta’s, warlike and sincere,

With friendship welcome, and with kindness cheer.

Soon as his tale of horror he repeats,

Each kindred heart with indignation beats;

That pity, which at first was all his claim,

Time strengthens with affection’s lasting name.

But, ah! to sooth his griefs they vainly strive,

More deep his pangs than human art can dive:

The sun of gladness that illum’d his birth, 620

Whose beams of radiance seem’d to mark his worth;

He now with anguish saw for ever fled,

While clouds, replete with storms, hang round his head.

Here** must I leave him injur’d and forlorn,

His wound yet tortur’d with the rankling thorn;

The female mourners long the fortress guard,

And, bravely, the impending ill retard,

But av’rice, eager for the tempting prize,

O’erleaps the fences, and the foe defies;

Quick to the loaded coffers all repair, 630

And seize the treasures of the helpless pair;

Who, like their lord, from lost Benares fly;

Like him unknown in shelt’ring states to die.

Oh! if superior skill my tale had told,

Had knowledge deign’d their sorrows to unfold,

The noble bard had strung the melting lyre,

Charm’d with his judgement, kindl’d with his fire:

Then had each Senator with vengeance glow’d,

And Vice, with interest, paid the debt she ow’d.

But who for Justice need demand support? 640

She shines unrival’d in a British court,

Where Fox’s voice adds lustre to her reign,

Diffusing glory round her sacred fane;

Whose pow’rful rhet’ric, with conviction fraught,

Bursts on the ear in floods of glowing thought:

Where Sheridan explores the deep design;

And Burke harangues with eloquence divine:

Where, too, a Grey has late announc’d his worth,

And call’d his embryo genius into birth.

What! then, shall Elocution vainly plead, 650

And shall not Justice in her sons succeed?

Yes! soon shall all her gen’rous influence own,

And distant realms shall celebrate her throne.

Here active Fancy leaps the painful pause,

Her magic hand the dark’ning veil withdraws;

See glorious Fame, on wings of ether fly,

And hov’ring Calumny, with scorn defy;

See Malice, shrinking, seeks her dark confines; )

Whilst on our Albion Heav’n benignant shines; )

And honors brilliant wreath Britannia’s head entwines. ) 660

*See the Abbe Raynal’s account of the Jesuit’s government of the province of Paraguay in South America.

**The Authoress regrets the little information she has been able to obtain, respecting the fate of our hero: especially as she is obliged to conclude so unsatisfactorily.

Text: Cheyt Sing. A Poem. By a Young Lady of Fifteen. Inscribed, by Permission, to the Right Hon. Charles James Fox, Esq. Printed for the Author; And Sold by J. Woodhouse No. 10, Brook-Street, Grosvenor-Square; Fuller, Newbury; Collins and Johnson, Salisbury. M,DCC,XC [1790], British Library, shelfmark 11632.g.10; several corrections have been made to the text in an unknown hand; see also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 5, pp. 55-70. James Woodhouse was a personal friend of the Andrews family and appears in many of the early letters of Maria and Anne Andrews and of Mary Egerton Scott. The fact that the poem was sold by Benjamin Collins also reveals the connections of Maria Grace Andrews with her grandparents in Salisbury. Chait Singh became the first Raja of Benares in 1770, and was recognized by the Nawab as a zamindar in 1773. In 1775, when the Nawab transferred control of the domain to the East India Company under the authority of the Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings, Chait Singh was required to provide and maintain a cavalry for the Company's sepoy battalions and to pay a certain amount of tribute to the Company. The amount was higher than he had previously paid and, accordingly, he refused, which infuriated Hastings. Singh began to consort with enemies of the Company in an effort to break this new arrangement and weaken Hastings’s power. Singh’s activities were uncovered and he was removed from power and placed under arrest in September 1781. As he was awaiting a hearing with Hastings, Singh escaped and gathered his forces together; unfortunately, his appeal for help from the local rulers was rejected. Singh's troops were defeated by the Company’s forces and his zamindari given to his nephew. Chait Singh escaped again, this time to Awadh and then to Gwalior, where he was granted a small domain, only to have it taken from him later. He died in Gwalior on 29 March 1810. His treatment by Hastings seriously tarnished the governor’s image and became one of the leading causes of his eventual impeachment by the Company in 1787, the year Maria Grace Andrews composed her poem. Accounts of the trial and the history of Singh filled the newspapers in London and the provinces, providing her with plenty of material for her poem. She was fifteen when the trial began, and she makes no attempt to hide her dislike of Hastings and her desire for his conviction and the adoption of more humane policies toward the people of India by the East India Company and the British army. As the poem reveals, she will base her argument both on Christian virtue and compassion as well as British ideals of liberty and equal justice. The "so undoubted a judge of poetical merit" mentioned in the Advertisement and to whom the poem was dedicated was the prominent Whig MP, Charles James Fox (1749-1806). When the trial of Warren Hastings began in 1787, Fox was one of the eighteen Managers appointed to adjudicate the trial. Fox had long been suspicious of misrule in India by the East India Company, and had proposed his India Bill in 1784 in an attempt to weaken the power of the Company, a position Pitt and the King strenuously opposed. Despite young Maria's call for justice concerning Hastings, her wish would prove futile; he was acquitted in 1795.