After the devastation of Delhi in the eighteenth century, a new genre of Urdu poetry (shahrashob, ‘the disturbed city’) emerged, lamenting the fallen city and simultaneously marking the displacement of Persian as the language of court poetry. This paper considers two visual laments from this period, focusing on artistic representations that merge structures modelled after the Qila-i Mualla (the Red Fort of Delhi) with narratives of suffering and longing drawn from classical Persian poetry. These responses to Delhi’s endangered existence also register the symbolic importance of a history of sovereign Mughal power associated with the Qila and the now imperiled Persianate cosmopolitan culture from which it developed.