Hindoo [Hindu] Superstition, or the First Velocipede in India
The Hindoos say the gods sometimes
Their heavenly mansions leave,
And visit the abodes of men; –
This multitudes believe.
Vishnu, they tell us, has been seen
Night after night of late,
Riding upon a wheel of fire,
At a most rapid rate.
O’ercome with terror and dismay,
Whene’er the god rode by,
Prostrate upon the ground they fell,
Nor dared lift up an eye.
‘Tis evident they did not know
Of fear there was no need,
That ‘twas an Englishman rode by
On a velocipede.
When Sol shot forth his scorching rays,
The heat o’ ercame him quite,
It was such tiring work by day,
Therefore he rode at night.
A lamp on the carriage hung
The needed light supplied,
Thus was the Englishman enjoyed,
The Hindos terrified.
Oft when the night has o’er the world
Its sable mantle spread,
Then ghosts and goblins roam abroad,
By many folks’tis said.
Strange fancies then prey on the mind,
Come some at mid-day see,
What so affrighted them at night,
Astonished they would be.
Isle of Wight Observer, January 15, 1870; pg. 3