[lit-ideas] Chillianwallah

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Lit-Ideas " <Lit-Ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2014 06:42:37 -0800

A line from George Meredith's poem "Modern Love" popped into my mind
yesterday and I wondered if I could download that poem into Kindle.  I could
but a commentator said it had been converted to prose in the Kindle edition
and had many typos so I didn't bother, but while on Meredith I saw that I
could download a lot of his poetry.


I ran across his poem "Chillianwallah," a poem I don't recall reading.  My
first thought was that this was an exceedingly ugly name to use in a poem.
Meredith though didn't think so.  Here is the first stanza:


Chillianwallah, Chillianwallah! 

Where our brothers fought and bled, 

O thy name is natural music 

And a dirge above the dead! 

Though we have not been defeated, 

Though we can't be overcome, 

Still, whene'er thou art repeated, 

I would fain that grief were dumb.


[Meredith, George (2011-03-24). Poems - Volume 1 (Kindle Locations 1-4).  .
Kindle Edition.]


Meredith goes on to sing Chillianwallah in subsequent stanzas.  Maybe
Speranza can see the "natural music" in this name.  I can't.  The Battle of
Chillianwallah was fought against the Sikh's in 1849.  I was impressed with
"Modern Love" back in the 1950s, and recall trying to like something else by
Meredith and not managing.  I checked Wikipedia on him thinking he might
have been in this battle he wrote about but not so.  He was but 21 and
merely impressed with it, probably from what he'd read in the papers.  It
was an important battle in that it enabled the Indians (despite what
Meredith said about the British not being defeated) to see that the British
might be beaten and inspired the uprising of 1857.



This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.

Other related posts: