Tansen, the singer, in great Akbar's Court

Won great renown; through the Badshahi Fort

His voice rang like the sound of silver bells

And Akbar ravished heard. The story tells

How the King praised him, gave him many a gem,

Called him chief jewel in his diadem.

One day the singer sang the Song of Fire,

The Deepak Râg , and burning like a pyre

His body burst into consuming flame.

To cure his burning heart a maiden came

And sang Malhar, the song of water cold,

Till health returned, and comfort as of old.

— Mighty thy Teacher must be and divine, —

Great Akbar said; — magic indeed is thine,

Learnt at his feet. — Then happy Tansen bowed

And said, — Beyond the world's ignoble crowd,

Scorning its wealth, remote and far-away

He dwells within a cave of Himalay. —

— Could I but see him once, — desired the King,

— Sit at his feet awhile, and listening

Hear his celestial song, I would deny

My state and walk in robes of poverty. —

Then said Tansen. — As you desire, Huzoor,

Indeed 'twere better as a slave and poor

To come; for he, lifted above the things

Of earth, disdains to sing to earthly kings. —

Long was the road, and Akbar as a slave

Followed Tansen who rode towards the cave

High in the mountains. At the singer's feet

They knelt and prayed with supplication sweet:

— Towards thy shrine, lo, we have journeyed long,

O Holy Master, bless us with thy song! —

Then Ostad, won by their humility,

Sang songs of peace and high felicity;

The Malkous Raga all ecstatic rang

Till birds and beasts, enchanted as he sang,

Gathered to hear, O'er Akbar's dreaming soul

He felt the waves of heavenly rapture roll,

But, as he turned to speak his words of praise,

Ostad had vanished from his wondering gaze.

— Tell me, Tansen, what theme this is that holds

The soul enchanted, and the heart enfolds

In high delight — ; and, when he knew the name,

— Tell me, — again he said, — could you the same

Theme sing to lure my heart to paths untrod? —

— Ah no, to thee I sing; he sings to God. —

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