Was India made for British power

To boast her conquered plains ?
Must India, like a minion, cower,

And tamely wear her chains ?
Alas, this last, this bitter trial,

I fear will be suppressed;
Lahore's brave sons, without denial,

Must crouch with all the rest.


“But to return. We met the British force,
Their infantry, artillery, and horse,
Where thick jhow jungle, scattered all around,
Made us superior on our native ground.
Our valiant troops, full thirty thousand strong,
Like their own Sutlej waters, rolled along;
Lal Singh led on this numerous array,
And cheered us all throughout the fatal day.
A death-like silence—then the cannons' boom,

And then the battle's din and tumult rose;
For half an hour beneath the starlight gloom

In murderous strife, we grappled with our foes. 'Mid clouds of dust and clouds of dusky smoke,

Illumined scarcely by the cannons' gleam,

Their cavalry our ample columns broke,

Nor could we e'er the dire mishap redeem. Like clouds before the sun's ascending beam,

When we gave way they urged us on behind,

As some sere leaf impelled before the wind, Or some light straw before a swollen stream. From mount to mount retreating backward still, From tree to tree, and then from hill to hill, They bore us in confusion, till the night In darkness ended this disastrous fight; And though two chiefs lay prostrate in the vale, Sir John M.Caskill and Sir Robert Sale, Unceasing slaughter thinned our fated bands, And seventeen cannon fell into their hands.


“ The British moved upon Ferozeshah,
Sirdar Tej Singh was our commander there,
And soon they heard our thund'ring cannon roar,
As they, I deem, had seldom heard before;
We swept their ranks with musketry and mines,
And spread destruction thro’ their numerous lines.
All that the freeborn, struggling to be free,
Could do, we did, with dauntless chivalry.

Night interposed her sable shroud,
Enveloped all things in a cloud,
And thus upon the field we lay,
Awaiting the approach of day;
Save, when the moon her radiance threw,
And brought the enemy to view,
We made the moonbeam still more bright
With cannon's gleam and bombshell's light.
But let me give these foes their due,
They are both brave and generous too:
I saw their chief, without an arm,
His son upon a litter borne,
Regardless of the loss of limb,
Patrol the camp by moonlight dim,
With kindness soothe the wounded men,
Re-animate the rest again;
And, as I watched, I wished that he
Were but a Sikh commanding me.


“ At dawn of day the battle was resumed,

With unrelenting and untiring bent, Our lances gleamed, our guns unanswered boomed,

The ammunition of the foe was spent;

The blood of the slain

Flowed all around,

And dyed the ground

With scarlet stain. And here was one with gasping breath, Another agonized in death, And there another groaning in his pain. But unappalled their cavalry came on, Dispersed the Khalsas, tore their standards down, And gained the field we lately counted won. Nor yet, however, were their labours o'er,

For ere two hours elapsed Tej Singh arrived With Ghorepurras from Ferozepore,

And our exhausted energies revived. But, ah! what fate opposes all our skill?

Our valiant chief, Bohadur Singh, was slain; To crown disasters with disasters still,

The brave Lal Singh lay wounded on the plain.

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“With all our force we crossed the Sutlej then,

To make disposals for a fresh attack, To meet the foe inspirited again,

Resolved to die, or else to drive them back;

And I departed, Leila, to thee,

To see thee, ere once more the battle rage: One smile of thine will give new life to me,

Will fix my ardour, all my soul engage. ”

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