Alfred Comyn Lyall

(4 January 1835 – 11 April 1911 / Surrey)

Alfred Comyn Lyall
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Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall was born on 4th January 1835, in Surrey, England. He was educated first at the prestigious Eton College and later at Haileybury College.

In 1856 he joined the Indian civil service and served in many capacities until his retirement in 1887. He also fought during the Mutiny of 1857-58 and was honoured for this. Subsequently he held a number of high-ranking roles including Commissioner of Nagpur, Commissioner of West Berar, the Governor-General's agent in Rajputana, and (from 1878 to 1881) Foreign Secretary to the Government of India. During this period he helped negotiate peace and a monarchy in Afghanistan.

Lyall returned to England in the 1887 ... more »

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Best Poem of Alfred Comyn Lyall

Studies At Delhi, 1876

I.--The Hindu Ascetic.


Here as I sit by the Jumna bank,
Watching the flow of the sacred stream,
Pass me the legions, rank on rank,
And the cannon roar, and the bayonets gleam.

Is it a god or a king that comes?
Both are evil, and both are strong;
With women and worshipping, dancing and drums,
Carry your gods and your kings along.

Fanciful shapes of a plastic earth,
These are the visions that weary the eye;
These I may 'scape by a luckier birth,
Musing, and fasting, and hoping to die.

When shall these phantoums flicker ...

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