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THE VICTORIES OF THE SUTLEJ
“And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea.” The appearance of moonlight, broken by the shadows of a woodland landscape, may therefore not inaptly be rendered sheen. The enumeration of the various points occupies the four following lines.
Leila. A name of Persian extraction, and of no small popularity.
Ránee. The Queen Mother, through whose intrigues, and those of the Vizier, Gholab Singh, the young Maharajah, Dhuleep Singh, was involved in those hostilities with the British Government, which terminated in his losing a portion of that empire which Runjeet Singh, “the lion of the Punjab,” had acquired, and in the remainder being placed under the strict surveillance of British power.
The blue Indus wave. Blue is an epithet of oriental origin, as applicable especially to water. Thus the Nile is so called bail because it is of a blueish colour. This epithet is often intensified: thus in Persian they say Is dans des a blue blue, or a deep blue. In this sense we find in Greek kvávɛoc.—Simon. ix. 3; Eur. I. T.7. Of deep water, kvavosudns.-Eur. Hel. 179. Of Neptune's hair, kvavoxairns -Odyss. ix. 536 ; and avavoßevońs, strictly of the sea; then, ludicrously, of a cup.–Aristoph. Fr. 209.
Punjab, so called from si five, and waters ; these five rivers being the Indus, the Jeylum, the Chenab, the Ravee, and the Sutlej.
Lahore was made the capital of Runjeet Singh at the time that he made himself paramount over the Sikh chieftains. This city was at one period the residence of the Mogul emperors. Its position on the high road from Cabul to Delhi exposed it peculiarly to the ravages of invading armies, and it has been almost ruined by the Affghans before the rise of its present possessors, the Sikhs. Some of its splendid monuments, however, still remain. At Shaddarah, two miles north of the city, the tomb of Jehaan Geer is standing in an enclosed area of 1800 feet square. It measures 330 feet each way, and, though magnificent, cannot be compared with the Taj-mahal at Agra. The tomb of Nur Jehaan Begum, the favourite of Jehaan Geer, better known, perhaps, as Nur Mahal, is somewhat to the south of it, in the open plain. The domes and minarets of the mosques, proclaiming the fallen great
ness of the Mohammedan empire (for here, as everywhere else in the Punjab, the Mussulmans must offer up their prayers in silence).the towering walls of the fort and other public buildings,—awaken in the breast of the beholder a feeling of regret for its present fate, and of ardent remembrance of its former glory.
Stanzas 2 and 3. I am sure I shall be pardoned for introducing here an extract from Sir Robert Peel's speech in the House of Commons, relative to the battles of Moodkee and Ferozeshah.
“ The army of Lahore, not attempting to carry out the attack of Ferozepore, then determined to fight the British forces on their march from Umballa, and on the 18th of December made a sudden attack on them. On that day the troops had reached Moodkee, after having marched 150 miles by forced marches. The men were suffering severely from want of water and from exhaustion, and yet such was their discipline and gallantry that they repelled the whole of the attacking army, though greatly superior to them in number [Hear, hear]; defeating a force treble their amount, and succeeded in the capture of seventeen of their guns. [Cheers.] The army of Lahore, thus repulsed by the division of our forces from Umballa, retired within very formidable intrenchments at Ferozeshah. Those intrenchments, consisting of strong breastworks, were in the form of a parallelogram, of which the opposite faces were a mile and half a mile in length respectively. In the face of these formidable works, protected by 150 guns of excellent workmanship, and defended by 50,000 men, the Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief determined to effect a junction with the division of the army which was on its march from Ferozepore. The troops advanced accordingly within three miles of the enemy's position, and mancuvred on their right flank; but the Commander having given previous notice to Sir J. Littler, made a march on the left of their position, and on the 21st December effected a junction with the Ferozepore division, which thus gave them an addition of 7,500 men. [Hear, hear, hear.] At this time there