Gerald Massey: My Lyrical Life IV.

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HAVELOCK'S MARCH.

Behold a phantom-form appears, majestic in its gloom!
Mournfully it looks across a Chasm deep as doom:
A quivering heartache seems to move its withered, wordless lips;
Familiar eyes are kindling through their wan light of eclipse:
It is the Ancient Mother rising, Sphinx-like, 'mid her sands,
To plead with those who will not hear.   She wrings her wrinkled 
          hands;
Yearns over both.    As Brothers long ago she brought them forth,
Her dusky darlings and her great white Heroes of the North!
The Children have no memories of the Morning-Land, and yet
The Mother's heart remembers, though all the world forget.

We look with horror, when the blood grows 
            cold,
On that which stung us hotly enough of old;
Blame me not wantonly: I do but draw
Faintly the thing we felt; the sight we saw!

 

 

THE REVOLT.


"COME hither, my brave Soldier boy, and sit you 
               
by my side,
 To hear the 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 bloodiest pass of peril, and her reddest sea 
               
of wrath;
 And strode like Paladins of old on their avenging
   
         path.
 Though clothes were drenched, and flesh was 
               
parched, or bones were chilled with cold,
 The gallant hearts never gave up; they never 
               
loosed their hold;
 But fought right on, and triumphed, till our eyes 
               
rained as we read
 How proudly every place was filled, with living 
               
and with dead.


"The stillness of a brooding storm lay on that 
               
Eastern land;
The dark death-circle narrowed round our little 
               
English band:
The false Sepoy stooped 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 cursèd 
               
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 dashed in dust the only torch that showed 
               
the face of Right!
 Once more 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 maddening 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 looked, and with a dawn of hell the East 
               
was all aflame.


"Stern tidings flashed 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 thoughts 
               
like creeping 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 
               
northern 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 dashed out, 
               
frantic from the fire,
 To fall upon their Tulwars, hacked to Death; 
               
the bayonet
 Held up some child; the demons 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 
               
to 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 might 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, through rain and mire, our 
               
War-wolves ravening 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;
 Strange 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 Love's 
            dear pity touched;
 A saviour soul doth sanctify the sword his hand 
            hath clutched;
 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 through 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 gray-haired 
            Seer's soul.


"On th' house-tops 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 afire, and gallantly
            they toiled
 Till darkness fell upon them: then the Moon 
            uprose 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 drenched;
 With hearts that kept the blitheness of brave 
            men that never blenched.
 Through flooding Nullah, slushy sand, onward 
            they strode again,
 Ere Dawn, a winèd glory, lit upon the burnished 
            rain,
 And mists up-gathered sullenly along the rear 
            of flight,
 Slowly as beaten Belooches 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 sworded splendours fierce in front, and 
            darting down all day,
 Intently as the eyes of Death a-feeding on his prey.


"All the day long, and every day, with patience 
            conquering pain,
 Our good and gallant fellows with one purpose 
            forward 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 choked 
            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 hints 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 glides 
               
down the dark;
 Only the Lotus with ripe lips, and arms caressing 
               
clings.
 The silence swarms with ghostly 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 a last 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 
               
wayworn men,
 But soon the Assembly sounded, and they sprang 
               
to arms again;
 The heaviest heart up-leaping light, as flames 
               
that tread on air.
 The Rebel line bore down as they had caught us 
               
unaware;
 But Maude dashed forward with his Guns, across 
               
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 
               
dauntless 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 
               
looked round;
 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 through 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 
               
accomplishment.
 When Havelock bade his line advance, the 
               
Highlanders 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 
               
thundercloud
 That burst, and wrapped the dead and living in 
               
one smoky shroud;
 One volley of Defiance! one wild cheer! and 
               
through the smoke
 They flashed! and all the battle into flying 
               
fragments broke.


"When night came down they lay there, gashed 
               
all over, side by side,
 The gray 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 shout of triumph rang 
               
a fatal knell;
 Nor what that wretch had wrought who has no 
               
match this side of Hell.

 

 

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 stretched the wan wide eyes,
 Through 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 bloodstained 
               
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 inward 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, uppoising 
               
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 
               
dumb 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 though a 
               
wild beast came
 Up in them at that scent of blood and glared 
               
devouring 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, deep 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 flashed hell-fire!   Oh, but they 
               
felt 'twould take
 The very cup of God's own wrath, that gasping 
               
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 
               
o'erwhelming wave,
 And of their grand Secunder Bagh we made a 
               
trophied grave.
 Once more the Highlanders pressed on with 
               
stern avenging 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 showers 
               
of ruddy rain.


"That day they saw their delicate white marbles 
               
glow and swim;
 There rose a cry like hell from out a slaughter 
               
great and grim:
 And as they clasped 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 one 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 cowardly killers there were 
               
bravely killed.

 

 

THE RELIEF OF LUCKNOW.


"England's unseen, dead Sorrow doth a visible 
               
Angel rise;
 The sword of Justice in her hand; Revenge looks 
               
through 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 though they lessen day by day, they deal 
               
such echoing blows,
 That still dilating with success, still grows that 
               
little 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.


"Proud Lucknow lies before them,—all its pageantry 
               
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 colour 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 wingèd 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 Bugle rings out for the march, and, with 
               
its fiercest thrill,
 Goes to the heart of Havelock's men, and works 
               
its lordly will,
 Making 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 soul in stature rose to wrestle with 
               
the storm.
 All silent! what was hid at heart could not be 
               
said in words:
 With faces set for Lucknow, ground to sharpness, 
               
keen as swords.
 A tightening 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 the aim too lofty 
               
for defeat;
 With steady tramp the column treads, true as 
               
the firm heart's-bea:
 Strung for its headlong murderous march through 
               
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 
               
ploughed 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 
               
sternest foes,
 Strong arm, cold steel has done it, in the wildest, 
               
bloodiest close:
 And now their Bayonets flash in forks of 
               
Lightning up the ridge,
 And with a cheer they take the guns, another, 
               
clear the bridge.
 One good home-thrust! and surely, as the dead 
               
in doom are sure,
 They send them where that British cheer can 
               
trouble them no more.


"The fire is biting bitterly; onward the battle 
               
rolls;
 Grim Death is glaring at them, from ten 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 sudden 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, 
               
through its smoke of breath,
 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 went 
               
roaring on
 Into the very heart of hell: with Comrades falling 
               
fast,
 Through 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 looked a last 
               
farewell.
 And dying eyes, slow-setting in a cold and stony 
               
stare,
 Turned upward, saw 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, whitening 
               
with their hate.


"But, proudly men will march to death, when 
               
Havelock leads them on:
 Through all the storm he sat his horse as he 
               
were cut in stone!
 But now his look grows dark; his eye gleams 
               
with uneasy flash:
 'On, for the Residency, we must make a last brave 
               
dash.'
 And on dashed Highlander and Sikh through 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; dear 
               
God, outspread 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, and fight 
               
like 'Hell-fire Jack.'1
 And ever 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 through 
               
archways streaming fire;
 Every step some brave heart bursts, heaving 
               
deliverance nigher:
 'I'm hit,' cries one, 'you'll take me on your back, 
               
old Comrade, I
 Should like to see their dear white faces once before 
               
I die;
 My body may save you from the shot.'
                                         His Comrade bore him on:
 But, ere they reached the Bailie Guard, the 
               
hurrying soul was gone.

1 Sobriquet of Captain Olpherts


"And now the Gateway arched in sight; the last 
               
grim tussle came.
 One moment makes immortal! dead or living, 
               
endless fame!
 They heard the voice of fiery Niel, that for the 
               
last time 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 hurling 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 crowned with fire!
 Till in the flashing street below they heard them 
               
pant for breath,
 And then the friendly faces smiled clear from 
               
the cloud of death;
 And iron grasp met tender clasp; wan weeping 
               
women fold
 Their dear Deliverers, down whose long brown 
               
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 
               
through fearful odds,
 Bled for them, reached them, saved them, less 
               
like men than glorious gods.

 

 

 

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 
               
is 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 Cross who are bidden 
               
with the 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
 Seems watching till 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 upturned 
            face;
 The shadow of an Angel passing from its earthly 
            place.


"In the red pass of peril, with a fame shall never 
            dim,
 Died Havelock, the Good Soldier: who would 
            not die like him?
 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 crowned with 
            starry calm.
 On many sailing through the storm another star 
            shall shine,
 And they shall look up through the night and 
            conquer at the sign.


"They laid it low, the old gray head, not only 
               
gray 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 gray-headed hero, with the heart of a 
               
little child.


"Honour to Henry Havelock! though not of 
               
kingly blood,
 He wore the double royalty of being great and 
               
good.
 He rose and reached the topmost height; our 
               
Hero lowly born:
 So from the lowly grass hath grown the proud 
               
embattled Corn!
 He rose up in our cruel need, and towering on 
               
he trod;
 Baring his brow to battle bold, as humbly to his 
               
God.
 He did his work, nor thought of nations ringing 
               
with his name,
 He walked with God, and talked with God, nor 
               
cared if following Fame
 Should find him toiling in the field, or sleeping 
               
underground;
 Nor did he mind what resting-place, with heaven 
               
embracing 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,
 And, like an arrow straight from God, he cleft 
               
their Twelve Hosts through.
 No swerving as he walked along the rearing 
               
earthquake-ridge;
 He made a way for Victory, his body was her 
               
bridge.
 Grand in the mouths of men his fame along the 
               
Centuries 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.
 War blew away the ashes gray, and kindled at 
               
the core
 Live sparkles of the Ironside fire that glowed on 
               
Marston Moor.
 Some Angel-Mute had led him blindfold through 
               
his 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 
               
servant'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 through 
               
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.
 If India's fate had rested on each single saviour 
               
soul,
 They would have kept their grasp of it till we 
               
regained the whole.
 The Lightnings of that bursting Cloud, which 
               
were to blast our might,
 But served to show 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: wake boyhood 
               
in the old.
 Behold her flame from field to field on Victory's 
               
chariot wheels,
 Till to its den, bleeding to death, Rebellion backwards 
               
reels.
 Her Martyrs are avenged! ye may search that 
               
Indian land,
 And scarcely find a single soul of all the traitor 
               
band.


"We've many a nameless Hero lying in his unknown 
               
grave,
 Their life's gold fragment glinting 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.
 The flower of our Race shall make that Indian 
               
desert bud,
 Its shifting sands drench firm, and fertilize with 
               
English blood.
 In many a country they sleep crowned, our conquering, 
               
faithful Dead:
 They pave our path where shines her sun of 
               
empire overhead;
 They circle in a glorious ring, with which the 
               
world is wed,
 And where their blood has turned to bloom, our 
               
England's Rose is red.


"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 wayside 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 lofty feeling in its front doth like a jewel 
               
wear.
 I see him! on his forehead shines the conqueror's 
               
radiant 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 grow dim,
 But gave him to our England in her greater 
               
need of him."


_______________________

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