Manmadin, The Indian Cupid
by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
Floating Down The Ganges.
There is a darkness on the sky,
And the troubled waves run high,
And the lightning flash is breaking,
And the thunder peal is waking;
Reddening meteors, strange and bright,
Cross the rainbow's timid light,
As if mingled hope and fear,
Storm and sunshine, shook the sphere.
Tempest winds rush fierce along,
Bearing yet a sound of song,
Music's on the tempest's wing,
Wafting thee young Manmadin!
Pillowed on a lotus flower
Gathered in a summer hour,
Rides he o'er the mountain wave
Which would be a tall ship's grave
At his back his bow is slung,
Sugar-cane, with wild bees strung, --
Bees born with the buds of spring,
Yet with each a deadly sting;
Grasping in his infant hand
Arrows in their silken band,
Each made of a signal flower,
Emblem of its varied power;
Some formed of the silver leaf
Of the almond, bright and brief.
Just a frail and lovely thing,
For but one hour's flourishing;
Others, on whose shaft there glows
The red beauty of the rose;
Some in spring's half-folded bloom,
Some in summer's full perfume;
Some with withered leaves and sere,
Falling with the falling year;
Some bright with the rainbow dyes
Of the tulip's vanities;
Some, bound with the lily's bell,
Breathe of love that dares not tell
Its sweet feelings; the dark leaves
Of the esignum, which grieves
Droopingly, round some were bound;
Others were with tendrils wound
Of the green and laughing vine, --
And the barb was dipped in wine.
But all these are summer ills,
Like the tree whose stem distils
Balm beneath its pleasant shade
In the wounds its thorns have made.
Though the flowers may fade and die,
'Tis but a light penalty.
All these bloom-clad darts are meant
But for a short-lived content!
Yet one arrow has a power
Lasting till life's latest hour --
Weary day and sleepless night,
Lightning gleams of fierce delight,
Fragrant and yet poisoned sighs,
Agonies and ecstacies;
Hopes, like fires amid the gloom,
Lighting only to consume!
Happiness one hasty draught,
And the lip has venom quaffed.
Doubt, despairing, crime, and craft,
Are upon that honeyed shaft!
It has made the crowned king
Crouch beneath his suffering;
Made the beauty's cheek more pale
Than the foldings of her veil:
Like a child the soldier kneel
Who had mocked at flame or steel;
Bade the fires of genius turn
On their own breasts, and there burn:
A wound, a blight, a curse, a doom,
Bowing young hearts to the tomb!
Well may storm be on the sky,
And the waters roll on high,
When Manmadin passes by.
Earth below, and heaven above,
Well may bend to thee, O Love!
Source:The Poetical Works Of Miss Landon
Phillips, Sampson, And Co.
110 Washington Street