ALAMGIR AND THE TIGER

And glow reflective to an inward light,
My soul is turned to water by its flame,
My shafts fall soft as the innocuous dew.Ē

Emperor Alamgir and the Tiger

Shah Alamgir, that high and mighty king, 25
Pride and renown of Gurgan Timurís line,
In whom Islam attained a loftier fame
And wider honour graced the Prophetís Law,
He the last arrow to our quiver left
In the affray of Faith with Unbelief ;
When that the impious seed of heresy,
By Akbar nourished, sprang and sprouted fresh 26
In Daraís soul, the candle of the heart 27
Was dimmed in every breast, no more secure
Against corruption our Community
Continued ; then God chose from India
That humble-minded warrior, Alamgir,
Religion to revive, faith to renew.
The lightning of his sword set all ablaze
The harvest of impiety ; faithís torch
Once more its radiance oíer our counsels shed.
Many the tales misguided spirits told,
Blind to the breadth of his percipient mind;
He was a moth that ever beat its wings
About the candle-flame of Unity,
An Abraham in Indiaís idol-house.28
In all the line of kings he stands alone;
His tomb is witness to his saintliness.
One day that ornament of crown and throne,
That lord of battle, saint and emperor,

Set forth into the jungle with the dawn
Attended by one faithful follower;
Exultant in the joyous breath of morn,
Birds sang their hymns to God on every tree.
The conscient king became absorbed in prayer,
Striking his tent from this contingent world
To pitch it in the realm of truth sublime.
A tiger at that instant from the plain
Suddenly sprang ; heaven trembled at his roar ;
Scenting afar the presence of a man,
He leaped on Alamgir, and smote his loins.
The king, unviewing, drew his dagger forth
And rent he belly of the furious beast;
His heart admitting not a thought of fear,
He stretched the tiger prostrate at his feet,
Then sped again impatiently to God
Mounting prayerís ladder to his heavenly throne.
A heart so humble and at once so proud
No other lodge but the believerís breast
Possesses ; for the servitor of Truth
Is naught before his Master, but stand firm
Against Untruth, and positive indeed.
Thou too, O ignorant man, take such a heart
Into thy hold ; let it a litter be
Wherein immortal Beauty may be borne.
Stake Self, to win Self back ; spread out the snare
Of supplication, glory to entrap ;
Let Love set fire to pale Anxiety ;
Be thou Godís fox, to learn the tigerís trade
The fear of God faithís only preface is,
All other fear is secret disbelief.