Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1835/Scene in Bundelkhund
SCENE NEAR CHILLAH TARAH GHAUT, BUNDELKHUND.
SCENE IN BUNDELKHUND.
She sat beneath the palm-tree, as the night
Came with a purple shadow on the day,
Which died away in hues of crimson shades,
Blushes and tears. The wind amid the reeds,
The long green reeds, sung mournfully, and shook
Faint blossoms on the murmuring river's face.
The eve was sweet and silent—she who sat
Beneath the deepening shadow of the palm,
Looked like an ancient and a pastoral dream;
Dreams—dreams indeed! It is man's actual lot
That gives the future hope, and fills the past
With happiness that is not—may not be.
—Oh, tranquil earth and heaven—but their repose,
What influence hath it on the mourner there?
Her eye is fixed in terrible despair,
Her lip is white with pain, and, spectre-like,
Her shape is worn with famine—on her arm
Rests a dead child—she does not weep for it.
Two more are at her side, she'd weep for them,
But that she is too desperate to weep:
Dust has assumed dominion, she has now
No tenderness, nor sweet solicitudes
That fill the youthful mother with fond fears.
Our fierce and cruel nature, that which sleeps
In all, though lulled by custom, law, and ease,
In her is roused by suffering. There is death
Within those wolfish eyes. Not for herself!
Fear, the last vestige of humanity,
Makes death so horrible that she will buy
Its absence, though with blood—that blood her own,
Once dearer that it ran in other veins:
She'll kill those children—for they share her food.
And such is human nature, and our own.
Distress In Bundelkhund.—The Sumarchar Durpun, of Feb. 22, contains a description of the horrible state of the native population of Bundelkhund, in consequence of the famine, which has prevailed there for some time past. The price and scarcity of grain have put it far beyond the reach of the poorer classes, more particularly as there appears to be great difficulty in the way of finding employment. For some time they obtained a miserable subsistence on byers, a sort of astringent and acid berry; but even this wretched supply has now ceased. A most appalling and pitiable condition of human misery is the consequence. Mothers have been seen to devour the dead bodies of their own children!