Page:Landon in Literary Gazette 1823.pdf/11

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Literary Gazette, 1st February, 1823, Pages 74-75

Each the more kindly grasped the other's hand,
And said again—they'd live or die together. - - -
- - Years have pass'd by; those youths are in their summer;
Each cheek is darkened by an Indian sky:
Some of hope's hues have faded like their colour,
Their island colour, but enow remain
To make life's landscape still most promising.
Disease, the brand, the ball, alike have spared them,
Still they have fought together. Many times
Have English friends been proud to hear their name.
    It is an Indian night: a starless sky
Flooded with moonlight—dark and giant palms
Fling their long shadows o'er the azure river—
The air is heavy with perfume—the dew,
Like love's power over woman, calling forth
The soul of sweetness, on the sumbal lies,
Till every scarlet berry yields its incense;
The pale mangolia[1], with its flowers of light,
The carmalata, crimson as a blush,
All, all yield their sweet offerings to the moon:—
But war is in these groves, and the white tents,
Where dwell the children of the sword,
Are pitched amid the yellow jessamines.
Steps dashed into the ground, the earth torn up
And sulphurous; patches of a blood-red hue,
And worst of all, the gashed and ghastly slain,
And the far sounds of tigers, who can scent
Their prey, yet scared by the red watch-fire’s gleam,
Howl in the distant jungles. They are here,
These brother Soldiers: each, wrapt in his cloak,
Sat by the river: they were talking o'er
Combats where each had been the other’s shield,
Marches whose weariness had been beguiled
By interchange of hopes; yet 'mid the pride
With which they waited for to-morrow’s battle.
Mingled a shade of deeper tenderness,
And each one charged the other with kind words,
Greetings of long remembrance, to old friends,

  1. presumably 'magnolia' is meant