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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

George Thomas Lanigan (1845–1886)

The Ahkoond of Swat

  • “The Ahkoond of Swat is dead.”
  • —London papers of January 22, 1878.

  • WHAT, what, what,

    What’s the news from Swat?

    Sad news,

    Bad news,

    Comes by the cable led

    Through the Indian Ocean’s bed,

    Through the Persian Gulf, the Red

    Sea and the Med-

    Iterranean—he’s dead;

    The Ahkoond is dead!

    For the Ahkoond I mourn—

    Who wouldn’t?

    He strove to disregard the message stern,

    But he Ahkoodn’t.

    Dead, dead, dead:

    (Sorrow, Swats!)

    Swats wha hae wi’ Ahkoond bled,

    Swats whom he hath often led

    Onward to a gory bed,

    Or to victory,

    As the case might be.

    Sorrow, Swats!

    Tears shed,

    Shed tears like water.

    Your great Ahkoond is dead!

    That Swats the matter!

    Mourn, city of Swat!

    Your great Ahkoond is not,

    But laid ’mid worms to rot.

    His mortal part alone, his soul was caught

    (Because he was a good Ahkoond)

    Up to the bosom of Mahound.

    Though earthly walls his frame surround

    (Forever hallowed by the ground!)

    And skeptics mock the lowly mound,

    And say, “He’s now of no Ahkoond!”

    His soul is in the skies—

    The azure skies that bend above his loved

    Metropolis of Swat.

    He sees with larger, other eyes,

    Athwart all earthly mysteries—

    He knows what’s Swat.

    Let Swat bury the great Ahkoond

    With a noise of mourning and of lamentation!

    Let Swat bury the great Ahkoond

    With the noise of the mourning of the Swattish nation!

    Fallen is at length

    Its tower of strength;

    Its sun is dimmed ere it had nooned;

    Dead lies the great Ahkoond.

    The great Ahkoond of Swat

    Is not!