Jumma Musjid, — Agra. Engraved by T. Boys from a drawing based on a sketch by Captain R. N. Elliot, R.N. From the 1831 Fisher’s Drawing Room Scrapbook edited by Letitia E. Landon. Click on image to enlarge it.

Yon mosque alone remains to tell,
      How glorious once did Agra rise,
When gilded roof and pinnacle
      Met morning half-way in the skies.

Two mighty empires load the plain,
      With palace, mosque, and tomb, and tower:
Out on the works man rears in vain!
      Out on the vanity of power!

A conqueror poured forth wealth and blood,
      And dome and temple rose sublime;—
Now, what remains where Agra stood,
      But dust and ruins, Death and Time!             [42]

* Captain Elliot says, “that a single century, or even a shorter space of time, is sufficient to reduce the streets and bazaars of an Indian city to a level with the earth from whence they rose, and to become almost as if they had never been; while the larger mosques and tombs remain with little deterioration, and stand as melancholy monuments of the earlier splendour and prosperity of the Eastern capitals.” “The city of Agra was greatly embellished by the Emperor Akbar, and it certainly contains some of the most beautiful remains of architecture that are to be found in India, where the face of a vast country is covered with the ruins of two great empires.” “Some of the tombs have been converted into dwelling-houses by the English inhabitants.”

It was remarked by Bishop Heber, that “Vanity of vanities was surely never written in more legible charac ters than on the dilapidated arcades of Delhi.” He might have said the same of Agra.


Fisher’s Drawing Room Scrapbook. Ed. L.E.L. [Letitia E. Landown]. London: Fisher, Son, & Jackson, 1832. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the New York Public Library. Web. 21 July 2020.

Last modified 24 July 2020