A Description of India — August 19, 1780

This poem featured in Hicky’s Bengal Gazette in 1780 (Published in Calcutta). Aptly named a Description of India, it is written from the nostalgic perspective of a Brit coming to India and missing home. Hicky likely wrote it himself as no name is ascribed to the poem.

Every week the Bengal Gazette published a poem on the final page (called the Poet’s Corner) of that’s week’s edition. These poems were quite popular in English speaking Calcutta society.

The most interesting bits can be found in stanzas 1-5. 

            A Description of India

WHILE faithful memory Love
          to trace
Each clime society and Place
   Where we have been before
Whether on Britain’s happier Coast
Which every charm of life can boast
   Or soft Italia’s shore
     What unrepented Sins of mins
Or stranger Destiny of Time
    Doom’d us to linger here
Where broiling Suns and scorching
And overwhelming Floods combined
    Alternate mark the Year.
Where Musick (different from the
That varble from Italian Throats)
    With ceaseless din assails—
Where Crows by Day, and Frogs by
Incessant Foes of calm delight
   Croak their discordant Lays
Where Insects settle on your meat
Where Scorpions crawle beneath your
     And deadly Snakes infest:
Musquetos ceaseless teazing sound
And Jackalls direful howls confound
    destroy your balmy rest.
Where naked Savages in Rows
Present their Offerings to your Nose
    Wherev’er you chance to pass
For here the Priviledge they claim
Freely to iquat devoid of shame
   And boldly sport an A—
If such the picture just and true
This envied Country holds to view
    Mercy on those who stay
Thy lovlier banks bright Thames af-
Riches beyond a Nabobs hoard
     Health and content display.
Thy lovely Banks and Silver stream
By Day my wish by night my Dream
     Once might I visit more
By every Power above I swear
Never to draw this noxious Air
    Let me be rich or Poor.
Let those whom avarice has taught
To stisle every liberal thought
     Selling, alike or sold
Let such their ease and Peace resign
Nay health itself to cross the Line
     And stick at naught for Gold.
Let such return’d affect to feel
An Interest for the Public wels
      And loud in senate Bawl
And when their Bags are like to burst
By an Exchequer summons curst
     May they refund it all.
 For you my Friend with spirit bleak
Such selfish Doctrines to detest
     I breath one ardent prayer
May you the calls of Duty ober

Speed to a Milder happier shore
     To Albions cliff[ILL]
There as in social converse gay
The hours glide unperceived away
     We laugh and Pity those
Who seek for wealth yet blind to ease
Tempt hidden Rocks and dang’rous seas
    And fly from true Repose.