Toru Dutt

(4 March 1856 - 30 August 1877 / Calcutta / British India)

The Young Captive - Poem by Toru Dutt

The budding shoot ripens unharmed by the scythe,
Without fear of the press, on vine branches lithe,
Through spring-tide the green clusters bloom.
Is't strange, then, that I in my life's morning hour,

Though troubles like clouds on the dark present lower,
Half-frighted shrink back from my doom ?
Let the stern-hearted stoic run boldly on death!
I - I weep and I hope; to the north wind's chill breath
I bend, - then erect is my form!
If days there are bitter, there are days also sweet,
Enjoyment unmixed where on earth may we meet?
What ocean has never a storm?
Illusions the fairest assuage half my pain,
The walls of a prison enclose me in vain,
The strong wings of hope bear me far;
So escapes from the net of the fowler the bird,
So darts he through ether, while his music is heard
Like showers of sweet sound from a star.
Comes Death unto me? I sleep tranquil and calm.
And Peace when I waken stands by with her balm.
Remorse is the offspring of crimes;
My welcome each morning smiles forth in all eyes,
My presence is here, to sad brows, a surprise
Which kindles to pleasure at times.
The end of my journey seemed so far to my view;
Of the elm-trees which border the long avenue,
The nearest are only past by;
At the banquet of life I have barely sat down.
My lips have but pressed the bright foaming crown
Of the wine in my cup bubbling high.
I am only in spring, - the harvest I'd see,
From season to season like the sun I would be
Intent on completing my round;
Shining bright in the garden, - its honour and queen;
As yet but the beams of the morning I've seen,
I wait for eve's stillness profound.
O Death, thou canst wait; leave, leave me to dream,
And strike at the hearts where Despair is supreme,
And Shame hails thy dart as a boon!
For me, Pales has arbours unknown to the throngs,
The world has delights, the Muses have songs,
I wish not to perish too soon.
A prisoner myself, broken-hearted and crushed,
From my heart to my lips all my sympathies rushed,
And my lyre from its slumbers awoke;
At these sorrows, these wishes, of a captive, I heard,
And to rhyme and to measure I married each word
As softly and simply she spoke.
Should this song of my prison hereafter inspire
Some student with leisure her name to inquire,
This answer at least may be given, -
That grace marked her figure, her action, her speech,
And such as lived near her, blameless might teach
That life is the best gift of heaven

Note: Captive: Aimée de Coigny, duchess of Fleury.


Comments about The Young Captive by Toru Dutt

  • (8/2/2017 9:16:00 PM)


    The correct attribution of this poem would have been nice. It is actually by Andrea Chenier 1762-94, considered by some the greatest poet of 18th century France, and hero of the eponymous opera) He was imprisoned in the Orangerie together with the 'captive bird'. Both met their fate on the guillotine in 1794. The original, in French, is well-known. Unless you know the past, you may be sold a bill of goods. MM (Report) Reply

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  • Savita Tyagi (8/2/2017 3:57:00 PM)


    Beautiful poem with so many memorable lines. It tingles the imagination and arouses the curiosity about the author or the mentioned prisoner character. Being from India I am specially fascinated by this author's time-period. She achieved so much at such young age.Thank you PoemHunter for putting the poem on. (Report) Reply

  • Neha Gupta (8/2/2017 3:17:00 PM)


    Thankx for sharing such an amazing words to us all (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/2/2017 11:50:00 AM)


    As a boon! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Oluwatobi Moses (8/2/2017 9:15:00 AM)


    And such as lived near her, blameless
    might teach
    That life is the best gift of heaven
    (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (8/2/2017 4:29:00 AM)


    If days there are bitter, there are days also sweet,
    Enjoyment unmixed where on earth may we meet? ... great write. Beautiful poem. Thanks to her soul.
    (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (8/2/2017 3:08:00 AM)


    A sophisticated write from one so young. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (8/2/2017 1:19:00 AM)


    Such an interesting poem.. thanks for sharing.... (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (8/2/2017 12:42:00 AM)


    My welcome each morning smiles forth in all eyes,
    My presence is here, to sad brows, a surprise
    Which kindles to pleasure at times.............................................................. Masterpiece of a Genius. Thank you PH for this post.
    (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (8/2/2017 12:39:00 AM)


    My welcome each morning smiles forth in all eyes,
    My presence is here, to sad brows, a surprise
    Which kindles to pleasure at times.............................................................. Masterpiece of a Genius. Thank you PH for this post.
    (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (8/2/2017 12:36:00 AM)


    The poem is a nice portrayal of the checkered shades of life. But, it needs to be celebrated in spite of all adversities and challenges. Thanks. I quote a few lines:
    At the banquet of life I have barely sat down.
    O Death, thou canst wait; leave, leave me to dream,
    The world has delights, the Muses have songs,
    I wish not to perish too soon.... life is the best gift of heaven
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/20/2016 4:29:00 PM)


    it's not in hindi's thought
    .... maybe that's why she
    said captive... by british
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/20/2016 8:18:00 AM)


    ....beautifully penned...the definition of excellence ★ (Report) Reply

  • Allemagne Roßmann (9/30/2012 8:14:00 AM)


    This is a write worth Victorian age poetry..stupendous and marvellous (Report) Reply

Read all 14 comments »




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Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 22, 2012



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