Emperor Alamgir and the tiger
Shah Alamgir, that high and mighty king,
Pride and renown of Gurgan Timur’s line,
In whom Islam attained a loftier fame
And wider honour graced the Prophet’s 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
In Dara’s soul, the candle of the heart
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; faith’s torch
Once more its radiance o’er 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 India’s idol‐house.
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 the 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 prayer’s ladder to his heavenly throne.
A heart so humble and at once so proud
No other lodge but the believer’s 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 God’s fox, to learn the tiger’s trade
The fear of God faith’s only preface is,
All other fear is secret disbelief.