Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Poem ‘King Porus: A Legend of Old’-A Critical Analysis

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Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Poem ‘King Porus: A Legend of Old’-A Critical Analysis

Michael Madhusudan Dutt's Poem 'King Porus: A Legend of Old'

Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Poem ‘King Porus A Legend of Old’-A Critical Analysis

Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Poem ‘King Porus: A Legend of Old’-A Critical Analysis

‘King Porus: A legend of Old’ is a narrative poem by Madhusudan Dutt. As the title suggests the poem deals with a legend of ancient India.

The background of the poem is historical, and its background dates back to the third century before the Christian Era. In 327 B.C. a young king of ancient Macedonia named Alexander, son of Philip, desired to conquer the world and with this intention, he took a huge well-trained body of soldiers and began to invade land after land that lay in front of him. First, he conquered his neighbouring countries including Parsia (now Iraq) and then came to India. As his soldiers were well-trained and huge in number, no king of India dared to face and resist him. Many Indian kings, surrendered to him without fighting. But in the north-west of Indin, there was a small kingdom, the king of which was Porus. Conquering the small kingdoms of India one by one, when Alexander arrived at the frontier of the kingdom of Porus, then Porus stood against him and began to fight like a hero. But the number of the soldiers of Porus was so small that it was like making fun to face a huge army like that of Alexander. Yet Porus fought proudly and at last, he got defeated at the hand of the soldiers of Alexander. Porus was caught hold by the soldiers of Alexander and was presented in front of Alexander.

Then what happened to the imprisoned king Porue has been narrated by M. Dutt in this poem. The poem is dramatic. It is narrated in six stanzas.

In Stanza-1, the poet s expresses his emotional dirge as India had lost her freedom at the hand of Alexander. He writes in highly imagerical language that while Alexander entered the kingdom of Porus, it was midnight and then suddenly the alarm bell of peril was rung. All startled in fear. The poet says that the bell was as if the dirge of the death of the kingdom of Porus. The clouds in the sky also startled at the alarm bell and it also roared in a thundering voice. The rain fell in darksome torrents. The wave Hydaspes swept onwards and began to flow headlong. The lightning flashed as a fair woman’s glance. The air also seemed to moan. In such an atmosphere Alexander entered the city of king Porus. He entered stealthily as a tiger. But Porus was not sitting idle. He also rang the bell and come out with his soldiers to resist his foes.

Thus in this stanza, the poet has given a poetic account of the atmosphere of the night when the soldiers of Alexander entered the city.

In stanza -II, the poet gives a vivid picture of how and when Porus faced the soldiers of Alexander and how he fought against his foes. It was morning. The sun spread its blight rays. During such a time, king Porus waved his flag and defied his foes. Though his soldiers were small in number yet they rushed upon his foes as bravely as a lion. They fought to protect freedom. But all the soldiers of king Porus were badly defeated in the hand of the soldiers of Alexander.

In stanza -III, the poet narrates what king Porus did in the battlefield after the fall of his soldiers. The poet says that King Porus stood dauntlessly amidst the foes as firmly as the peak of the Himalaya wearing the regal diadem on his head. He did not care about the phalanx of his foes around him. He was standing there amidst the foes proudly. Seeing his hero-like courage, the soldiers of Alexander did not dare to approach him.

In stanza -IV, the poet narrates what the soldiers of Alexander did to king Porus. Amid the foes,  Porus was standing as strong as a rock in the ocean. He was wounded badly and red blood was issuing out of his body. Seeing him so, Alexander forbade his soldiers to kill Porus. The poet writes.

”Desist–desist! He cried-

Such noble blood should not be shed.”

Then he was brought to Alexander as a war-prisoner. 

In stanza V, the poet tells what had happened to king Porus after he was taken to Alexander. The poet writes that though he was imprisoned in the hand of his foe, yet his look was bold like a hero. He did not bow down to Alexander. He stood in Himalayan majesty. Then Alexander asked him,

”How should I treat thee?’

Porus replied:

‘Ev’n as a king

In royal pride……..”

Alexander,  appreciating his heroism, released him and made friends with him giving back his crown and kingdom.

In stanza VI, the poet evaluates the heroism of king Porus and thinks of the poet’s age. Porus was the truest heroic son of India who fought bravely for his own land. But now (poet’s time) there is none to fight for India’s freedom.

”But where, oh! Where is Porus now?

And where the noble hearts that bled 

For freedom – with the heroic glow.’

The poet also laments, (during the time of the poet, India was under the English) that India has lost its freedom. All its gold and riches are in the hand of foreigners.

From the above analysis of the poem, it is seen that this poem expresses the great humanism of Alexander and the patriotism of king Porus. They are the pride not of India alone but of the world also. Stanza -VI expresses the poet’s own patriotism as he laments the loss of India’s freedom.

The theme of the poem is lofty no doubt; its style is also so. The language of it is also grand as the poet has used rich imageries made of similes.

In the use of imageries, the poet proves that he was conscious of a lofty style for a lofty theme. At random, the following imageries, made of similes, may be quoted as examples:

(i)The lightning flashed bright dazzling like 

Fair woman’s glance from beneath her veil.

(ii) He stood –as stand the ocean rock 

Amidst the lashing billows.

(iii) But stood, as stands an oak.

(iv) Then standest like a lofty tree 

Shorn of fruits –blossoms –leaves and all –. 

If the theme and style of the poem are compared with the poems of the Indian English poets before him it must be said that the poem is a grand one. 0 0 0

Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Poem ‘King Porus: A Legend of Old’

Read More: Michael Madhusudhan Dutt’s Poem ‘The Captive Lady’-A Critical Analysis

N. B. This article entitled ‘Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Poem ‘King Porus A Legend of Old’-A Critical Analysis’ originally belongs to the book ‘Indian English Poetry Criticism‘ by Menonim Menonimus. Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Poem ‘King Porus: A Legend of Old’

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.

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