Kipling Friday

The Dove of Dacca

1892

The freed dove flew to the Rajah's tower --
  Fled from the slaughter of Moslem kings --
And the thorns have covered the city of Gaur,
  Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove!
Little white traitor, with woe on thy wings!

The Rajah of Dacca rode under the wall;
  He set in his bosom a dove of flight --
"If she return, be sure that I fall."
  Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove!
Pressed to his heart in the thick of the fight.

"Fire the palace, the fort, and the keep --
  Leave to the foeman no spoil at all.     
In the flame of the palace lie down and sleep
  If the dove -- if the dove -- if the homing dove
Come, and alone, to the palace wall."

The Kings of the North they were scattered abroad --
  The Rajah of Dacca he slew them all.
Hot from slaughter he stooped at the ford,
  And the dove -- the dove -- oh, the homing dove!
She thought of her cote on the palace-wall.

She opened her wings and she flew away --
  Fluttered away beyond recall;
She came to the palace at break of day.
  Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove,
Flying so fast for a kingdom's fall!

The Queens of Dacca they slept in flame
  Slept in the flame of the palace old --
To save their honour from Moslem shame.
  And the dove -- the dove -- oh, the homing dove,
She cooed to her young where the smoke-cloud rolled!

The Rajah of Dacca rode far and fleet,
  Followed as fast as a horse could fly,
He came and the palace was black at his feet;
  And the dove -- the dove -- the homing dove,
Circled alone in the stainless sky.

So the dove flew to the Rajah's tower --
  Fled from the slaughter of Moslem kings;
So the thorns covered the city of Gaur,
  And Dacca was lost for a white dove's wings.
Dove -- dove -- oh, homing dove,
  Dacca is lost from the Roll of the Kings!
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