Monday, 7 October 2019

A ballad of sir Partap singh


                              A ballad of sir Partap singh

A Ballad of Sir Pertab Singh

[The present poem exposes and attacks the tyranny of the caste system in India and asserts that a man’s caste isdetermined not by his birth, but by his actions. Men of noble heart, irrespective of their birth, belong to one caste. A true soldier is related to all the soldiers of the world. He shares a common bond of valour, courage and brotherhood with all the soldiers.]
In the first year of him that first Was Emperor and King, A rider came to the Rose-red House, The House of Pertab Singh.
Young he was and an Englishman, and a soldier, hilt and heel, And he struck fire in Pertab’s heart As the steel strikes on steel.
 Beneath the morning stars they rode, beneath the evening sun, And their blood sang to them as they rode That all good wars are one.
They told their tales of the love of women, their tales of East and West, but their blood sang that of all their loves they loved a soldier best.
So ran their joy the allotted days, till at the last day’s end The Shadow stilled the Rose-red House and the heart of Pertab’s friend.
When morning came, in narrow chest The soldier’s face they hid, And over his fast-dreaming eyes Shut down the narrow lid.
Three were there of his race and creed,three only and no more: They could not find to bear the dead A fourth in all Jodhpore. ‘O Maharaj, of your good race Send us a sweeper here; A Sweeper has no caste to lose Even by an alien bier.’
‘What need, what need?’ said Pertab Singh, And bowed his princely head. ‘I have no caste, for I myself.
 Am bearing forth the dead.
‘O Maharaj, O passionate heart, Be wise, bethink you yet: That which you lose to-day is lost
Till the last sun shall set.’ ‘God only knows,’ said Pertab Singh, ‘That which I lose to-day: And without me no hand of man Shall bear my friend away.’
Stately and slow and shoulder-high In the sight of all Jodhpore The dead went down by the rose-red steps Upheld by bearers four.
When dawn relit the lamp of grief Within the burning East There came a word to Pertab Singh, The soft word of a priest.
He woke, and even as he woke He went forth all in white, And saw the Brahmins bowing there In the hard morning light.
‘Alas! O Maharaj, alas! O noble Pertab Singh! For here in Jodhpore yesterday Befell a fearful thing.
‘O here in Jodhpore yesterday A fearful thing befell.’ A fearful thing,’ said Pertab Singh, ‘God and my heart know well

 ‘I lost a friend.’ ‘More fearful yet!
When down these steps you passed
In sight of all Jodhpore you lose
O Maharaj – your caste.’
Then leapt the light in Pertab’s eyes
As the flame leaps in smoke,
‘Thou priest ! thy soul hath never known
The word thy lips have spoke.’
‘My caste ! Know you there is a caste
Above my caste or thine,
Brahmin and Rajput are but dust,
To that immortal line:
‘Wide as the world, free as the air,
Pure as the pool of death
The caste of all Earth’s noble hearts
Is the right soldier’s faith.’
[Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938) was a famous British poet, novelist and barrister. Born in Bilston, Newbolt was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was called to the Bar in 1887. He is known for his poems about war on land and on sea. He was an ardent believer in the power and inspirational quality of many patriotic verse. He is the author of patriotic poems.]


a soldier, – the Englishman was a complete soldier hilt and heel

struck fire – won respect and love (from Pertab)

their blood – both being soldiers, their blood evoked in them

sang – common feelings of courage and bravery for a noble cause

shadowed – a deathly silence fell on the Rose-red

stilled House of Pertab because of the death of his

fast – eyes that had lost touch with the reality of the
dreaming earth

lid – cover

creed – religious faith

alien – foreigner

bier – a crude stretcher to carry the dead body

chest – coffin

dawn – morning

befell – happened, occurred

immortal – noble and deathless race of men who live in their
line deeds