Gerald Massey: Havelock's March (1)

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PROEM
________

DEDICATORY TO

LADY MARION.


IN her Ancestral Tree's old smiling shade,
Spenser and Milton sang, and Shakespeare played.
I cannot prophesy immortal fame,
And endless honour for my Lady's name
Thro' my poor Verse; but it shall surely give
All that it has, and long as it may live.

She heard my Children singing in the street,
And smiled down on them starry-clear and sweet,
But half-way up in Heaven, and far from me,
As Shakspeare's Juliet in her balcony;
A golden Creature, all too rare to stay,
With waving white hand she would pass away!

Now I have seen her; heard her voice To-day,
And touched her hand; enriched my life for aye:
The thought in sunbeams radiantlyly upsprings,
To smile out in the saddest face of things.
After the gloom is gone, the worst is passed,
I know you, my good Fairy, found at last.

Tho' poor, and grim to tears, our lot might be,
We had proud visions in our poverty!
My Princess too, with darkly-sparkling e'en,
As I lay dreaming, over me would lean;
And now the silken clue of hidden power,
Hath led me to her beauty in its bower.

Lady! Giorgione should have painted you
With live warm flesh-tints golden thro' and thro';
The sun-soul making luminous its prison
With splendours rarer than have ever risen;
Bird-peeps of brightnessdawn-dewsmiling fire
Full of all freshness as a spring-wood choir;

A glow and glory of impetuous blood;
Brave spirits that crowd all sail to take the flood
Of large, abounding life, that in the sun
Heaves flashing, with a frolic fringe of fun;
A happy wit! creative genius, proved
In Pictures that Angelico would have loved:

A stately soul: yet with a laugh that brings
Echoes from Girlhood's heaven as it rings!
And that fine spirit of motion's airy charm,
Which hovers glancing round the flower of form:
A lofty lady of a proud old race,
Recklessly splendid in her gifts and grace.

Yet, as the life of some tall, towery tree
Climbs till atop it laughs exultingly
With all its leaves, using its pride of place
To look both earth and heaven full in the face!
Thusup thro' bole and branch of wealth and blood,
Breaks out her noble natural Womanhood.

No fear of England's great old Houses when
Such glorious women give us noble men,
And sway the heart o' the people sovereignly
As the Moon sways the heavings of the sea,
To touch its darkness with her lovelier light,
And mould to loftier shape its climbing might.

Their foes may rave, but, far off is their fall,
Whose glory is the heritage of all!
Who grew some grain we long shall save for seed;
Who man the gap for England in her need.
All who love England think with holy pride
Of all who for her like De Norman died.

My Lady Marian, you are good, and true;
Most bountiful, and gracious as the dew;
And glad Heartswing'd with Blessingsfollow you
Far as the Earth is green, or Heaven is blue;
But, dear my lady, there is work to do
In England yet, and royal work for you.

Why leave your own free air, and English Home,
For Paristhat Slave-Danceror for Rome?
With all their lustres, dazzlingly displayed,
They cannot match the sweetness of our shade;
Our leafier pathways cool with gladder green;
Our Hearts, whose heavings lift you upour Queen.

Much Mother's Milk wants sweetening with the Balms
That you can bring; much need of more than Alms!
In eyes wide open souls lie fast asleep;
With daylight on the face hearts darkly weep;
Our world has many a ward where wounds and wails
Cry for a thousand Florence Nightingales.

I know that Knowledge thro' our Shire doth trail
With slow illumination of a snail!
But still we dream of some bright better day,
And while we sleep the great Dawn comes our way.
Think How long God's love brooded over Earth
Before she quickened for her noblest Birth!

O, they shall bless you down in pit and den,
Transforming slowly into Women and Men;
And smile, as leaves out-smile in first spring-hours,
With livelier green, while fall the singing showers;
Or as the winter mosses round your trees
Look up and smile at their good influences.

Your pardon, Lady, if my unskilled word,
Like a bad player, should mistake the chord!
No churlish charge, no plea of parasite,
Is mine; but leal heart-service of a knight
Who in old days had fought for you and bled;
Going to death as 'twere a bridal bed.

Our lost "Maid Marian" bore your name, and she
Yet works a very tender ministry;
And, somehow, when of her we sit and think,
Our hearts touch you by an invisible link.
Sacred to her, my sadder verses take;
And kindly think of them for Marian's sake.

Room for my Sea-Kings too, your heart will make,
From young Sir William Peel, to old King Hake.
You have the spirit born of the salt spray
That snuffs the sea-breeze meadowy miles away;
The Norse blood running seaward round the world,
That leaves the Saxon island closely curled.

You love our Heroes! and you might have been
In battle-need our Boadicea Queen;
And stood up to the full majestic height
In your war-chariot beckoning on the fight:
A famous victory you would have wrought,
Or with your heroes fallen as you fought.

 

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NATIONAL
____________


HAVELOCK'S MARCH.

The Revolt.


COME hither my brave Soldier boy, and sit you by my
              side,
To hear a tale, a fearful tale, a glorious tale of pride;
How Havelock with his handful, all so faithful, and
              so few,
Held on in that far Indian land, to bear our England 
              through
Her pass of bloodiest peril, and her reddest sea of 
              wrath;
And strode like Paladins of old on their avenging path.
Tho' clothes were drencht, and flesh was parcht, and
              bones were chilled with cold,
The gallant hearts never gave up; they never loosed
              their hold;
But fought right on, and triumphed!   O but eyes
              rained as we read
How proudly every place was filled, with living and
              with dead.
The dark death-circle narrowed round our little
              English band:
The stillness of a brooding storm lay on the east-
              ern land;
The false Sepoy stoopt lower for his spring, and, in
              his eye
A bloody light was burning on them, as he glided by:
Old Horrors rose, and leered at them, from out the
              tide of time,—
The peering peaks of War's old world, whose brows
              were stained with crime!
The conscious Silence was but dumb, a cursed plot to
              hide;
The darkness only a mask of Death, ready to slip aside.
Under the leafy palms they lay, and through their
              gay green crown,
Our English saw no Storm roll up: no Fate swift
              flaming down.


At last it came. The Rebel drum was heard at dead
              of night:
They dasht in dust the only torch that showed the
              face of Right!
Again the Devil clutches at his lost throne of the
              earth,
And sends a people, smit with plague of madness,
              howling forth.
As in a Demon's dream they swarm from horrible
              hiding nooks;
Red Murder stabs the air, and lights their way with
              bloody looks!
Snuffing the smell of human blood, the cruel Moloch
              stands;
Hearing the cry of "Kill! Kill! Kill!" and claps
              his gory hands.
At dead of night, while England slept, the fearful
              vision came,
She lookt, and with a dawn of hell the East was all
              a-flame.


Stern tidings came to Havelock, of legions in revolt:
"The traitors turn upon us, and the eaters of our 
              salt,
Subtle as death, and false as hell, and cruel as the
              grave,
Have sworn to rend us by the root; be quick, if ye
              would save;
The wild beasts bloody and obscene, mad-drunk with
              gore and lust,
Have wreaked a horrible vengeance on our England
              rolled in dust."
And such a withering wind doth blow, such fearful
              sounds it brings,
The soul with shudders tries to shake off creeping
              thoughts and things!
A vast invisible Terror twines its fingers in the hair,
With one hand feeling for the throat; a hand that
              will not spare.


They slew the grizzled Warrior, who to them had
              been so true;
The ruddy stripling with frank eyes of bonny
              English blue;
They slew the Maiden as she slept; the Mother great
              with child;
The Babe, that smiled up in their face, they stabbed
              it as it smiled.
The piteous, pleading, hoary hair, they draggled in
              red mire;
And mocked the dying as they dasht out, frantic
              from the fire,
To fall upon their Tulwars, hacked to death; the bayonet
Held up some child; the devils danced around it
              writhing yet:
Warm flesh, that kindled so with life, was torn, and
              slowly hewn,
To daintiest morsels for the feast where death began
              too soon.


Our English girls, whose sweet red blood went dancing
              on its way,
A merry marriage-maker quick for its near wedding-
              day,—
All life awaiting for the breath of Love's sweet south
              to blow,
And budding bridal roses ripe with secret balms
              should flow—
They stripped them naked as they were born; naked
              along the street,
In their own blood they made them dip their delicate
              white feet!
With some last rag of shelter the poor helpless darling
              tries
To hide her from the cruel hell of those devouring
              eyes;
Then, plucking at the skirts of Death, she prayerfully
              doth cling,
To hide her from the eyes that still gloat round her in
              a ring.

 


_______________________

 
The Avengers.


"NOW, Soldiers of our England, let your love arise in
              power;
For never yet was greater need than in this awful 
              hour:
Together stand like old true-hearts that never fear nor
              flinch;
With feet that have been shod for death, never to
              yield an inch.
Our Empire is a Ship on fire, before a howling wind,
With such a smoke of torment, as 'twould make high
              heaven blind!
Wild Ruin waves his flag of flame, and ye must spring
              on deck,
And quench the fire in blood, and save our treasures
              from the wreck.
Many a time has England thought she sent her
              bravest forth;
But never went more gallant men, of more heroic 
              worth.


Hungry and lean, thro' rain and mire, our war-wolves
              grimly go,
On their long march, that shall not mete the red
              grave of the foe:
Like winter trees stripped to their naked strength of
              heart and arm,
That glory in their grimness as they tussle with the
              storm!
Only a handful few and stern, and few and stern their
              words;
Fierce meaning in their eyes that meet and strike out
              sparks like swords!
And there goes Havelock! leading the Forlorn Hope
              of our land;
The quick heart spurring at their side; the banner of
              their band:
Kindled, but calm, along their ranks his steady eye
              doth run,
As marksman seeks the death-line down the level of 
              his gun.


Beneath the whitening snows of age his spirit ardours
              glow,
As glow the fragrant fires of spring in flowers beneath
              the snow.
Look in his grave and martial face, with God's dear
              pity toucht;
A saviour soul doth sanctify the sword his hand hath
              clutcht:
A little while his silent thoughts have gone within to 
              pray,
And send a farewell of the heart to the dear ones far
              away.
He prays to God to light him thro' the perilous
              darkness, when
He grapples with the beasts of blood, and quells them
              in their den.
And now his look is lifted in the light of some far
              goal;
His lips the living trumpet of a grey-haired seer's soul.


On the housetops of Allahabad black, scowling brows
              were bent,
In hate, and deep, still curses, on our heroes as they
              went
To fight their hundred-days-long fight; all true as
              their good steel,
The Highlanders of Havelock, the Fusileers of Neil!
A falling firmament of rain the heavens were pouring
              down;
They heeded not the drowning heavens, nor yet the
              foeman's frown:
Forward they strained with hearts a-fire, and gallantly
              they toiled
Till darkness fell upon them: then the Moon rose up
              and smiled.
A little thing! and yet it seemed at such a time to
              come
Just like a proud and mournful smile from the very
              heart of Home.


That night they halted in a snipe-swamp; hungry,
              cold, and drencht;
With hearts that kept the blitheness of brave men
              that never blencht.
Thro' flooding nullah, slushy sand, onward they strode
              again,
Ere Dawn, a wingéd glory, alit upon the burnisht
              rain,
And mists up-gathered sullenly along the rear of flight,
Slowly as beaten Bellooches might lounge from out
              the fight.
Then heaven grew like inverted hell; a blazing vault
              of fire!
The Sun pursuing pitiless, to bring the brain-strokes
              nigher;
With white heat blinding in their front, and burning
              down all day,
Intently as the eyes of Death a-feeding on his prey.


All the day long, and every day, with patience con-
             quering pain,
Our good and gallant fellows with one purpose for-
             ward strain;
For there is that within each heart nothing but death
              can stop;
They hurry on, and hurry on, and hurry till they drop;
Trying to save the remnant; reach the leaguered
              place in time
To grasp, with red-wet slaughtering hands, the
              workers of this crime.
They think of all the dead that float adown the
              Ganges' waters:
Those noble Englishmen of ours; their gentle wives
              and daughters!
Of Fire and Madness broken loose, and doing deeds
              most pitiful;
And then of vengeance dealt out by the choaked and
              blackened city-full.


They think of those poor things that climb each little
              eminence;
As, from the deluge of the dark, when day is going
              hence,
The sheep will huddle up the hill, and gather there
              forlorn;
So gather they in this dread night, to wait the far-off
              morn.
Or, crouching in the jungle, they look up in Nature's face,
To find she has no heart, for all her reptilinear grace!
Each leaf a sword, or prickly spear, or lifted jagged
              knife!
No shields of shelter like our leaves; but threatening
              human life,
With ominous gouts of blood; and there the roots go
              writhing round,
Like curses coiled upon the spring, that rest not 
              underground.


They find sure tokens all the day! and starting from
              their dream
At night, they hear the Pariah dogs that howl by
              Ganges stream,
Knowing the waters bear their freight of corpses stiff
              and stark,
Scenting the footfalls on the air, as Death comes down 
              the dark;
Only the Lotus with ripe lips, and arms caressing clings.
The silence swarms with ghastly thoughts; each
              sound with ghastly things.
There, stands the plough i' the furrow; there the
              villagers have flown!
There, Fire ran dancing over roofs that underfoot
              went down!
There, Renaud hung his dangling dead, with but
              short time for shrift,
He caught them on their way to hell, and gave them
              there a lift.


They saw the first sight of their foe as the fourth
              dawn grew red;
Twenty miles to breakfast marched; and had to fight
              instead.
The morning smiled on arms up-piled, and weary
              way-worn men,
But soon the assembly sounded, and they sprung to
              arms again;
The heaviest hearts up-leaping light, as flames that
              tread on air.
The Rebel line bore down as they had caught us
              unaware;
But Maude dasht forward with his guns, over the
              sandy mire,
And little did they relish our bright rain of rifle fire:
Quickly the onward way was ploughed, with heaps on
              either hand;
They broke the foe, then broke their fast, that daunt-
              less little band.


Again they felt our withering fire, by Pandoo Nuddee
              stream;
Again they feared the crashing charge, and fled the
              vengeful gleam:
Small loss was his in battle when the Conqueror
              lookt around;
But many fell from weariness, and died without a 
              wound.
Soft, whispering flowery secrets, came a low wind of
              the west
That eve, like breath made balmy with the sweet love
              in the breast;
Breathing its freshness thro' the groves of Mango and
              of Palm;
But the sweetest thing that wind could bring was
              slumber's holy balm,
To bless them for the morrow, and give strength for
              them to cope
With those ten thousand men that stood betwixt
              them and their hope.


It must have been a glorious sight to see them as they
              went,
With veteran valour steady; sure of proud accom-
              plishment,
When Havelock bade his line advance, and the High-
             landers swept on;
Each one at heart a thousand; a thousand men as one;
Linked in their beautiful proud line across the broken
              lands,
Straight on! they never paused to lift the weapon
              in their hands;
Silent, compact and resolute, charged as a thunder-
              cloud.
That burst, and wrapt the dead and living in one
              smoky shroud;
One volley of Defiance! one wild cheer! and through
              the smoke,
They flasht! and all the battle into flying fragments
              broke.


When night came down they lay there, gashed all
             
over, side by side,
The grey old warrior, and the youth, his Mother's
             
darling pride!
Rolled with the rebel in the dust, and grim in bloody
             
death;
And over all the mist arose, dank as the graveyard's
             
breath.
But light of heart we took the hill, and very proud
             
that night
Was Havelock of his noble men, and Cawnpore was
             
in sight.
The men had neither food nor tent, but the red road
             
was won:
And very proud were they to hear their General's
             
"Well done;"
Not knowing how their triumph-cheer had rung a
             
fatal knell;
Or what that wondrous wretch had done who has no
             
match in hell.

 

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Cawnpore.


CAWNPORE was ghastly silent, as into it they stepped;
There stood the blackened Ruin that the brave
   
              old Soldier kept!
Where strained each ear for the English cheer, and
                stretcht the wan wide eyes,
Thro' all that awful night to see the signal rocket rise;
No tramp, no cheer of Brothers near; no distant
   
              cannon's boom;
Nothing but Death goes to and fro betwixt the glare
   
             and gloom.
The living remnant try to hold their bit of blood
                   
-stained ground;
Dark gaps continual in their midst; the dead all
   
              lying round;
And saddest corpses still are those that die and do
   
              not die;
With just a little glimmering light of life to show
   
             them by.


Each drop of water cost a wound to fetch it from the
   
              well;
The father heard his crying child and went, but surely
   
             fell.
They had drunk all their tears, and now dry agony
   
              drank their blood;
The sand was killing in their souls; the wind a fiery
   
              flood;
Oh, for one waft of heather-breath from off a Scottish 
               wold!
One shower that makes our English leaves smile
             
     greener for its gold!
Then life drops in ward from the eyes; turns upward
   
             with last prayer,
To look for its deliverance; the only way lies there!
And then triumphant Treachery made leap each
   
             trusting heart,
Like some poor Bird called from the nest, up-poising
   
             for the dart.


"Come, let us pray," their Chaplain said. No other
   
              boon was craved:
No pleading word for mercy sued; no face the white
   
              flag waved;
But all grasped hands and prayed, till peace their
   
              souls serenely filled;
Then like our noble Martyrs, there they stood up,
   
             and were killed.
Only one saved!
                He led our soldiers to the house of blood;
An eager, panting, cursing crew! but stricken there
   
             they stood
In silence that was breathlessness of vengeance
   
              infinite;
A-many wept like women who were fiercest in the
   
              fight:
There grew a look in human eyes as tho' a wild
   
             beast came
Up in them at that scent of blood and glared de-
                   
vouring flame.


All the Babes and Women butchered! all the dear
   
              ones dead;
The story of their martyrdom in lines of awful red!
The blood-black floor, the clotted gore, fair tresses,
   
              fierce sword-dints;
Last message-scrawl upon the wall, and tiny finger-
                   
prints:
Gathered in one were all strange sights of horror and
   
             despair,
That make the vision blood-shot, freeze the life, or
   
             lift the hair.
Faces to faces flasht hell-fire! O, but they felt
   
             'twould take
The very cup of God's own wrath, that terrible thirst
   
              to slake:
For many a day "Cawnpore" was hissed, and, at its
   
             word of guilt,
The slaying sword went merciless right, ruddy to the hilt.


There came a time we caught them, with a vast and
   
             whelming wave,
And in their grand Secunder Bagh, we made a
   
              bloody grave!
Once more the Highlanders pressed on with nervous,
   
             springy tread,
And Peel was there with his big guns, and Campbell
   
              at their head:
A spring of daring madness! and they leapt upon
   
             their prey
With hungry hearts on fury fed, for many and many a day.
For hours and hours, they slew, and slew, the devils
   
              in their den:
"Ye wreaked your will on women weak, now try it
   
             with strong men."
The blood that cried to heaven long in vapours from
   
             our slain,
Fell hot and fast upon their heads in a rich ruddy rain.


That day we made their delicate white marble glow
   
              and swim;
There rose a cry like hell from out a slaughter great
   
              and grim:
And as they claspt their hands and sued for mercy
   
             where they fell,
One last sure thrust was given for that red and
   
             writhing Well.
And there was joy in every heart, and light in
   
             every eye,
To see the traitor hordes that fled, make a last stand
   
              to die!
While from the big wide wounds, like snakes, the
   
             runlets crawled along
And stole away; the reptiles who had done the cruel
   
              wrong!
A terrible reprisal for each precious drop they spilled.
Seventeen hundred coward killers there were bravely
   
             killed.

 

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The Relief.


ENGLAND'S unseen, dead Sorrow doth a visible Angel
   
             rise;
The sword of justice in her hand; Revenge looks
                    
thro' her eyes:
Stern with the purpose in her soul right onward
                   
hastens she,
Like one that bears the doom of worlds, with vengeful
                 
 majesty;
Sombre, superb, and terrible, before them still she
                   
goes!
And tho' they lessen day by day, they deal such echo-
                   
ing blows,
That still dilating with success, still mightier grows
                   
that band,
Till in the place of hundreds, ten thousand seem to
                   
stand.
With arms that weary not at work, they bear our
                   
victor flag,
To plant it high on hills of dead, a torn and bloody
                   
rag.


And Lucknow lies before them now, with all its
   
              pomp unrolled;
Against the smiling sapphire, gleam her tops of
   
             lighted gold.
Each royal wall is fretted all with frostwork and
   
             with fire,
A glory of colours jewel-rich, that makes a splendour
                   
-pyre,
As wave on wave the wonder breaks, the pointed
   
              flames burn higher;
On dome of mosque and minaret, on pinnacle and 
                spire;
Fairy creations, seen mid-air, that in their pleasaunce 
                wait,
Like wingéd creatures sitting just outside their
   
             heaven-gate.
The City in its beauty lies, with flowers about her feet;
Green fields, and goodly gardens, make so foul a
   
             thing seem sweet.


The Trumpet rings out for the march with utterance
   
             golden-grand,
A sound that shivers to the heart of Havelock's little
   
             band,
And makes their spirits thrill as leaves are thrilled in
   
              some wild wind;
Hunger and heartache, weariness and wounds, all left
   
             behind.
Their sufferings all forgotten now, as in the ranks
                   
they form;
And every man in stature rose to wrestle with that 
                storm.
All silent! what was in their hearts could not be said
   
              in words;
With faces set for Lucknow, ground to sharpness,
                 
keen as swords!
A tightning twitch all over! a grim glistening in
                 
the eye,
"Forward!" and on their way they strode to dare,
              and do, and die.


Hope whispers at the ear of some, that they shall
              meet again,
And clasp their long-lost darlings, after all the toil
              and pain;
A-many know that they will sleep to-night among
              the slain;
And many a cheek will bloom no more for all the
              tearful rain:
And some have only vengeance; but to-day 'tis
                  
bitter sweet;
And there goes Havelock! his aim too lofty for defeat;
With steady tramp the column treads, true as the
                  
firm heart's-beat;
Upon its headlong murderous march for that long 
                   
fatal street.
All ready to win a soldier's grave, or do the daring 
                   
deed!
But not a man that fears to die for England in her 
                   
need.


The masked artillery raked the road, and plough'd 
                   
them front and flank;
Some gallant fellow every step was stricken from the rank;
But, as he staggered, in his place another sternly
                   
stepped;
And, firing fast as they could load, their onward 
                   
way they kept.
Now, give them the good bayonet! with England's 
                   
fiercest foes,
Strong arm, cold steel will do it, in the wildest, 
                   
bloodiest close:
And now their bayonets abreast go sparkling up the 
               ridge,
And with a thrilling cheer they take the guns, and 
                   
clear the bridge.
One good home-thrust! and surely, as the dead in 
                   
doom are sure,
They send them where the British cheer can trouble 
                   
them no more.


The fire is biting bitterly; onward the battle rolls;
And Death is glaring at them, from then thousand 
                   
hiding holes;
Death stretches up from earth to heaven, spreading 
                   
his darkness round;
Death piles the heaps of helplessness face downward 
                   
to the ground;
Death flames from deadly ambuscades, where all was 
                   
still and dark;
Death swiftly speeds on whizzing wings the bullets to 
                   
their mark;
Death from the doors and windows, all around and 
                   
overhead,
Darts, with his cloven fiery tongues, incessant, quick, 
                   
and red:
Death everywhere, Death in all sounds, and, thro' 
                   
the smoky seeth,
Victory beckons at the end of long dark lanes of 
                   
death.


Another charge, another cheer, another battery won!
And in a whirlwind of fierce fire the fight goes roar-
                    ing on.
Into the very heart of hell, with comrades falling 
                fast,
Thro' all that tempest terrible, the glorious remnant 
                   
passed.
No time to help a dear old friend: but where the 
                   
wounded fell,
They knew it was all over, and they lookt a last 
                   
farewell.
And dying eyes, slow setting in a cold and stony stare,
Turned upward, see a map of murder scribbled on 
                   
the air
With crossing flames; and others read their fiery 
                   
fearful fate,
In dark, swart faces waiting for them, almost white 
                   
with hate.


O, proudly men will march to death, when Havelock 
                   
leads them on:
Thro' all the storm he sat his horse as he were cut in 
                   
stone!
But now his look grows dark; his eye lightens with 
                   
quicker flash:
"On, for the Residency, we must make a last brave 
                   
dash."
And on dasht Highlander and Sikh thro' a sea of fire 
                   
and steel,
On, with the lion of their strength, our first in glory, 
                   
Niel!
It seemed the face of heaven grew black, so close it 
                   
held its breath,
Through all the glorious agony of that long march 
                   
of death.
The round shot tears, the bullets rain; O God, out-
                spread thy shield!
Put forth thy red right arm, for them! thy sword of 
                   
sharpness wield.


One wave breaks forward on the shore, and one falls 
                   
helpless back:
Again they club their wasted strength, to fight like 
                   
"Hell-fire Jack."
And still as fainter grows the fire of that intrepid 
                   
band,
Again they grasp the bayonet as 'twere Salvation's 
               hand.
They leap the broad, deep trenches, rush thro' arch-
                   
ways streaming fire;
Every step some brave heart bursts, heaving deliver-
                    ance nigher:
"I'm hit," cries one, "you'll take me on your back, 
                   
my comrade, I
Should like to see their bonny white faces once be-
                   
fore I die;
My body may save you from the shot."
                                  His comrade bore him on:
But, ere they reacht the Bailie Guard, the longing 
                   
soul was gone.


And now the Gateway was in sight; the last grim 
                moment came.
One moment makes immortal! dead or living, end-
                less fame!
They heard the voice of fiery Niel, that like a trumpet 
                thrilled!
"Push on my men, 'tis getting dark: " he sat where 
                he was killed.
Another frantic surge of life, and plunging o'er the 
                bar,
Right into harbour bursting goes their whirling wave 
                of war,
And breaks in mighty thunders of reverberating 
                cheers,
Then dances on in frolic foam of kisses, blessings, 
                tears.
Stabbed by mistake, one native cries with the last 
                breath he draws,
"Welcome, my friends, never you mind, it's all for 
                the good cause."


How they had leaned and listened, as the battle 
                sounded nigher;
How they had strained their eyes to see them coming 
                crown'd with fire!
Till in the flashing street they heard them breathing 
                bloody breath,
And then the English faces came white from the 
                clouds of death;
And iron grasp met tender clasp; wan weeping 
                women fold
Their dear Deliverers, down whose long rough beards 
                the big tears rolled.
Another such a meeting will not be on this side 
                heaven!
The little wine they have hoarded, to the last drop 
                shall be given
To those who, in their mortal need, fought on thro' 
                fearful odds,
Bled for them, reacht them, saved them, less like 
                men than glorious gods.

 

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_______________________


Death of Havelock.


The Warrior may be ripe for rest, and laurelled with 
                great deeds,
But till their work be done, no rest for those whom 
                God yet needs:
Whether in rivers of ruin their onward way they tear,
Or healing waters trembling with the beauty that 
                they bear;
Blasting or blessing they must on: on, on, for ever on!
Divine unrest is in their breast, until their work be 
                done.
Nor is it all a pleasant path the sacred band must 
                tread,
With life a summer holiday, and death a downy bed!
They wear away with noble use, they drink the 
                tearful cup;
And they must bear the bitter cross who go with 
                Christ to sup.


Each day his face grew thinner, and sweeter, saintlier
                grew
The smiling soul that every day was burning keenlier 
                through.
And higher, each day higher, did the life-flame 
                heavenward climb,
Like sad sweet sunshine up the wall, that for the 
                sunset time
Still watches; and the signal that shall call it hence 
                is given;
Even so his spirit kept the watch, till beckoned home 
                to heaven.
His work was done, his eyes with peace were soft 
                and satisfied;
War-worn and wasted, in the arms of Victory he died.
"Havelock's dead," and darkness fell on every up-
                turned face;
The shadow of an Angel passing from its earthly place.


They laid it low, the old grey head, not only grey 
                with years;
It had been bowed in Sorrow's lap and silvered with 
                her tears;
Our England may not crown it, with her heart too 
                full for speech;
The hand that draws into the dark, hath borne it 
                beyond reach.
The eyes of far-away heaven-blue, with such keen 
                lustre lit,
As they could pierce the dark of death, and, star-like, 
                fathom it,
They may not swim with sweetness as the happy 
                Children run
To welcome home the Reaper, when the weary day 
                is done!
How would the tremulous radiance round the old 
                man's mouth have smiled;
Our good grey-headed hero, with the heart of a little 
                child.


In grandest strength he fell, full-length; and now our 
                hero climbs
To those who stood up in their day and spoke with 
                after times:
There on the battlements of Heaven, they watch us, 
                looking back
To see the blessing flow for those who follow in their 
                track.
He smileth from his heaven now; the Martyr with 
                his palm;
The weary warrior's tired life is crown'd with starry 
                calm.
On many sailing thro' the storm another star shall 
                shine,
And they shall look up thro' the night and conquer 
                at the sign.
In the red pass of peril, with a fame shall never dim,
Died Havelock, the Good Soldier; who would not die 
                like him?


Honour to Henry Havelock! tho' not of kingly blood,
He wore the double royalty of being great and good.
He rose and reacht the topmost height; our Hero 
                lowly born:
So from the lowly grass hath grown the proud em-
                battled Corn!
He rose up in our cruel need, and towering on he trod;
Bearing his brow to battle bold, as humbly to his God.
He did his work nor thought of nations ringing with 
                his name,
He walkt with God, and talkt with God, nor cared 
                if following Fame
Should find him toiling in the field, or sleeping under-
                ground;
Nor did he mind what resting-place, with heaven em-
                bracing round.


When swarming hell had broken bounds, he showed 
                us how to stand
With rootage like the Palm amidst the maddest whirl 
                of sand;
Undaunted while the swarthy storm around him 
                swirled and swirled,
A winding sheet of all white life! a wild Sahara world!
The drowning waves closed over him, lost to all 
                human view,
But, like an arrow straight from God, he cleft their 
                twelve hosts through.
No swerving as he walkt along the rearing earth-
                quake ridge;
He made a way for Victory, his body was her bridge.
Grand in the mouths of men his fame along the cen-
                turies runs;
Women shall read of his great deed and bear heroic 
                sons.


He leant a trusting hand on heaven, a gentle heart 
                on home;
In secret he grew ready, ere the Judgment hour was 
                come.
In darkest days of duty he had seen God's goodness 
                shown;
And now, in all his beauty sees the King upon his 
                throne!
Some Angel-Mute had led him thro' his trial's thorny 
                ways,
Till, on a sudden, lo, he stood, full in the glory's blaze.
Aloud, for all the world to hear, God called his ser-
                vant's name,
And led him forth, where all might see, upon the 
                heights of fame.
His arch of life, suspended as it sprang, in heaven 
                appears,
Our bow of promise o'er the storm, seen thro' rejoicing
                tears.


Joy to old England! she has stuff for storm-sail and 
                for stay,
While she can breed such heroes, in her quiet, homely 
                way:
Such martial souls that go with grim, war-figured 
                brows pulled down,
As men that are resolved to bear Death's heavy, iron 
                crown.
So long as she has sons like these, no foe shall make 
                her bow,
While Ocean washes her white feet; Heaven kisses 
                her fair brow.
Her beauty high and starlike in its splendour, hath 
                not fled;
Her bravery high and warlike is not vanisht, is not 
                dead:
War blows away the ashes gray, and kindles at the core,
Live sparkles of such sacred fire as glowed on Marston 
                Moor.


Thank God for all our heroes, who so wondrously 
                have done!
Thank God for men like Havelock, and mighty Nichol-
                son:
Hodgeson, of Hodgeson's Horse, who slew the 
                guiltiest; noble Niel;
And he o' the good Ship Shannon, our beloved Captain
                Peel!
If India's fate had rested on each single saviour soul,
They would have kept their grasp of it till we regained 
                the whole.
One fighter never would give in, thro' all his fearless 
                part;
One fortress they could never win; 'twas the true 
                English heart.
The Lightnings of that bursting Cloud, which were 
                to blast our might,
But served to shew its majesty clear in the sterner 
                light.


Our England towers up beautiful with her dilating form,
To greater stature in the strife, and glory in the 
                storm;
Her wrath's great wine-press trodden on so many 
                vintage fields,
With crush and strain, and press of pain, a ripened 
                spirit yields,
To warm us in our winter, when the times are coward 
                and cold,
And work divinely in young veins; bring boyhood to 
                the old.
Behold her flame from field to field on Victory's 
                chariot wheels,
Till to its den, bleeding to death, Rebellion backward 
                reels.
Her Martyrs are aveng'd! ye may search that Indian
                land,
And scarcely find a single soul of all the bloody band.


We've many a nameless hero lying in his unknown 
                grave,
Their life's gold fragment gleaming but a sunfleck on 
                the wave.
But rest you unknown, noble dead! our living are 
                one hand
Of England's power; but, with her dead she grasps 
                into the land.
In many a country they sleep crown'd, her conquer-
                ing, faithful dead;
They pave her path where shines her sun of empire 
                overhead;
And where their blood has turned to bloom, our 
                England's Rose is red:
They circle in a glorious ring, with which the world 
                is wed.
For us the flower of our race makes quick the sand 
                and sod,
And there, as here, amid our dead, we build our 
                Church to God.


Your Brother Willie, boy, was one of Havelock's little 
                band:
My Son! my beautiful brave Son, lies in that Indian 
                Land.
They buried him by the way-side where he bowed him 
                down to die,
While Homeward in its eastern pomp the Triumph 
                passed him by.
And even yet mine eyes are wet, but 'tis with that 
                proud tear
A great grand feeling in its front doth like a jewel 
                wear.
I see him! on his forehead shines the conqueror's 
                burning crest,
And God's own cross of Victory is on his martial 
                breast.
I should have liked to have felt him near, when these 
                old eyes are dim,
But gave him to our England; she had greater need 
                of him.


_______________________


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