The Dove of Dacca

by Rudyard Kipling

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 Guar.
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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