Mr. Burnes gives a most splendid description of the hunting cavalcades in Lahore. Part, however, of the sport was cruel. The captured hogs were fastened to a stake, and baited with dogs, and their spirit renewed, when it ſailed. by cold water dashed over them. At length Runjeet gave orders that they should be liberated, in order, as he said. that “they might praise his humanity.” This latter consideration seems to have arrived somewhat late.—The horses sent from England attracted great admiration; but that was nothing compared to the praise bestowed on their shoes. The letter of thanks from Runjeet to our king says, “On beholding the shoes, the new moon turned pale, and nearly disappeared from the sky.”
The hunters were up in the light of the morn,
High on the clear air their banners were borne;
And the steeds that they mounted were bright to behold,
With housings that glitter'd in silver and gold.
Proud at their head rode the chief of Lahore,
A dagger that shone with the ruby he wore;
And Inde, and Bokhara, and Iran supplied
The dogs, staunch and gallant, that coursed at his side.
He wears the green robe of the Prophet's high line,
He is sprung from the chieftain of Mecca's far shrine;
His horse, on whose bridle the white pearls are sown,
Has a lineage as distant and pure as his own.
His falconers are round him, a bird on each hand—
No Norman from Norway ere brought such a band,
So strong is each wing, so dark is each eye
That flings back the light it has learnt in the sky.
In vain from the chase of that gallant array
The wild boar will hide in the forest to-day;
In vain will the tiger spring forth from its gloom,
He springs on the sabre that beareth his doom.
On, on through the greenwoods that girdle the pass,
The sun and the dew are alike on the grass;
On, on till by moonlight the gathering be
Of the hunters that rest by the banyan tree. [332-33]
General View of Lahore . The Graphic (16 November 1878). Click on image to enlarge it.
Related Victorian Material Written Several Decades after the Poem
Blackie, Walker Graham. The Imperial Gazetteer: A General Dictionary of Geography, Physical, Political, Statistical and Descriptive. 4 vols. London: Blackie & Son, 1856. Internet Archive. Inline version of a copy in the University of California Library. Web. 7 November 2018.
Landon, Latitia E. The Poetical Works of Miss Landon. Philadelphia: E.L. Cary and A. Hart, 1839. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the New York Public Library. Web. 17 July 2020.
Last modified 18 July 2020