India's Guest

Young Heir to an old, old throne! Your wandering prow,
'Neath many a wandering star,
Hath carried you erenow
Far westward, southward far;
And far into the hearts of men beside
Have been those voyagings wide.
At last, far eastward faring, you behold,
Under a heaven of vehement breath and hue,
Whose Day is fire of fire and gold of gold,
The home of all things ancient, all things new:
Great India, where, by mart and wharf and street,
By mosque or shrine, or mighty stream that pours
Its sacred waters between sacred shores,
Europe's and Asia's dreams so strangely meet;
And where the never-mingling faiths, that make
In unlike temples an unchanged abode,
Tell by what differing cups do mortals slake
The same deep thirst for God.

Guest of this ocean-seated, mountain-crowned
Mother of half Earth's tongues: on plain and hill,
Within her vast sea-bound,
So many are the peoples that did found
Famed cities, and so many and renowned
The Princedoms, their inheritors seeming still
Garbed as in fable and as in song bepearled,
That while you tread this million-memoried ground
'Tis not a land salutes you but a world!—
A world mysterious, bafflingly involved,
Multiplex, full of labyrinths obscure,
Full of enigmas not so wholly solved
As to be shorn of puissance to allure,
Yet from its cloistral bosom greeting now
You of the frank and the transparent brow,
You of the countenance like an open book,
Wherein, how curiously soe'er we look,
Nought may we read but things seemly and pure:
Kindliness, courtesy, honour and truth: the things
That, more than purple, adorn the sons of Kings,
And, more than arms, empower a throne to endure.

Ah, Heaven be thanked that suchlike things as these
Are the unponderous, the unmassive keys
That ope great doors with a most golden ease!
And the great doors of India's soul, that are
Closed to mere Might as with a mystic bar,
If Charm draw nigh seem left at least ajar.
Within, what is't we see?
Moods and emotions evermore apart
From all the way and wont o' the western heart!
And as we look on deeps we have never spanned,
There comes the thought—Perhaps 'twere well if we
Loved less to overawe than to understand:
To have true sight and very touch at last
Of this that far in an unfathomed Past
Rose and had Dayspring for its ancestry,
This Soul of the East, majestic, grave, sedate,
Grandiose of mien: a Spirit from ours aloof,
Yet knitted and beravelled with the woof
Of all our wondrous fate.
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