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Romesh Chunder Dutt (1848-1909)

Hymn of the Dying Man


1.
              1Sole Rishi! Pushan! glorious Yama!
              2   God of day! withdraw thy rays,
              3And let me once more view thy splendour, --
              4   View it with my closing eyes!
              5Let me once more view the light,
              6   The gladsome light that dwells in thee!
              7Th' Almighty Light which you reflect, --
              8   Th' Almighty Soul, it dwells in me!

2.
              9My breath will mingle with the air,
            10   To ashes turn this mortal frame,
            11Then turn, my soul, recall each deed,
            12   Each action done of praise or blame.
            13My hours of life are almost past,
            14   And steals o'er me the hand of death,
            15Then think, my soul, of actions done,
            16   Ere yet I yield this fleeting breath!

3.
            17Agni! friend of dying mortals,
            18   Lead me by the righteous path,
            19Let me win thy gracious blessings,
            20   Let me shun thy mighty wrath!
            21Lead me by the righteous path,
            22   In this last momentous hour,
            23Reverently I bend to Agni,
            24   In him -- worship Brahman's power!

Notes

1] "From the Îsâ Upanishad." (Dutt's note.)
"The following remarkable verses are to be uttered on the death-bed. They are the last three verses of the Upanishad from which they are translated." (Dutt's note.)
Rishi ... Pushan ... Yama: "All names of the sun." (Dutt's note.)

17] "Address to Fire, -- in reference to the rite of cremation, which is considered beneficial to the departed." (Dutt's note.)

24] Brahman: Hindu priest.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Romesh Chunder Dutt, Lays of Ancient India: Selections from Indian Poetry Rendered into English Verse (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1894): 81-82. British Library 2318.h.9
First publication date: 1894
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14

Rhyme: ababcdcd


Other poems by Romesh Chunder Dutt