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Was India made for British power
To boast her conquered plains ?
And tamely wear her chains ?
I fear will be suppressed;
Must crouch with all the rest.
“But to return. We met the British force,
And then the battle's din and tumult rose;
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,
Night interposed her sable shroud,
“ 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.
“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;