HAUNTS OF THE ASIATIC LEOPARD AND PANTHER a Poem
HAUNTS OF THE ASIATIC LEOPARD AND PANTHER
IN India's realm, where nature's affluent hand
Pours from her urn rich treasures o'er the land,
The dark-hued Indian drowsily reclines
By shadow'd stream, beneath luxuriant vines;
Doom'd to light toil where thick the honey'd fruit
Invites his taste from many a burden'd shoot;
Where the banana and the orange pour
Around his way their free and bounteous store;
Where the rough cactus yields its juicy pear,
And ripe pineapples perfume all the air.
'Tis a fair land, where plants of matchless dyes
Paint all the soil, as rainbows flush the skies;
A solemn land, where forests rise sublime,
In whose green depths soft fall the steps of Time!
Enchanted land, whose mountain summits glow
With the white lustre of eternal snow;
A realm in whose grand wilderness abound
The great wild creatures of the forest-ground.
How fair those groves, how clear the bubbling streams
In Asiatic realms where Ganges gleams,
And thro' savannas murmuringly glides,
Until it mingles with the Bengal tides!
Behold! far down the mountain solitudes,
Beneath the line of snow, the bending woods;
Kiss'd by the sunbeam, all their colors blend,
While far away the verdurous plains extend.
Enchanting pictures of commingled bloom
Burst on the vision—spice-wood lends perfume,
Citron and orange glisten on the shoot,
The brown pomegranate drops its lucious fruit,
Luxuriant vines swing high the purpling grape,
And loftiest trees with graceful festoons drape,
'Tis a fair scene where Peace drops down to rest,
Folds, like a bird, her pinions o'er her breast;
Where all the glimmering shades at hour of eve
Their filmy veils and vapors interweave.
There the strip'd tiger has his chosen home,
And there the tawny, savage panthers roam,—
Panthers more fierce than tigers gaunt and grim,
Or leopards perilous to life and limb,
More valorous in charges, more fierce to meet
Than all the prowlers of the wood's retreat.
While over all the Central India's space
The panther lurks for man, the leopard race
Stealthy and noiseless creep thro' rocky pass
And lie conceal'd in tangle of the grass;
Then, springing agile from some branching spray,
They strike the victim and secure the prey.
There where the jungle-swamps the lagoons drape
They seize the monkey tribes, the gibbering ape.
The sand-grouse first seek out that forest lake,
There speckled pea-fowl haste their thirst to slake,
There spotted deer and antelope and bear
Gather at midnight in that darkling lair,
And soon the leopard and the panther brood
Share the gorg'd feast and revel in the blood.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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