The Cummerbund (Poem by Edward Lear)

Classic Poem

The Cummerbund
An Indian Poem
By Edward Lear


She Sat Upon her Dobie,
    To watch the Evening Star,
And all the Punkahs as they passed
    Cried, “My! how fair you are!”
Around her bower, with quivering leaves,
    The tall Kamsamahs grew,
And Kitmutgars in wild festoons
    Hung down from Tchokis blue.

Below her home the river rolled
    With soft meloobious sound,
Where golden-finned Chuprassies swam,
    In myriads circling round.
Above, on tallest trees remote,
    Green Ayahs perched alone,
And all night long the Mussak moaned
    Its melancholy tone.

And where the purple Nullahs threw
    Their branches far and wide,
And silvery Goreewallahs flew
    In silence, side by side,
The little Bheesties’ twittering cry
    Rose on the fragrant air,
And oft the angry Jampan howled
    Deep in his hateful lair.

She sat upon her Dobie, —
    She heard the Nimmak hum, —
When all at once a cry arose:
    “The Cummerbund is come!”
In vain she fled; — with open jaws
    The angry monster followed,
And so (before assistance came),
    That Lady Fair was swallowed.

They sought in vain for even a bone
    Respectfully to bury;
They said, “Hers was a dreadful fate!”
    (And Echo answered, “Very.”)
They nailed her Dobie to the wall,
    Where last her form was seen,
And underneath they wrote these words,
    In yellow, blue, and green: —
“Beware, ye Fair! Ye Fair, beware!
    Nor sit out late at night,
Lest horrid Cummerbunds should come,
    And swallow you outright.”

Note: First published in the Times of India, Bombay, July, 1874.

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