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(Few, forgotten and lonely,

Where the empty metals shine-
No, not combatants-only
Details guarding the line.)

We slip through the broken panel
Of fence by the ganger's shed;
We drop to the waterless channel
And the lean track overhead;

We stumble on refuse of rations,
The beef and the biscuit-tins;
We take our appointed stations,
And the endless night begins.

We hear the Hottentot herders

As the sheep click past to the fold-
And the click of the restless girders
As the steel contracts in the cold-

Voices of jackals calling

And, loud in the hush between,

A morsel of dry earth falling

From the flanks of the scarred ravine.

And the solemn firmament marches,
And the hosts of heaven rise
Framed through the iron arches-
Banded and barred by the ties;

Till we feel the far track humming,
And we see her headlight plain,
And we gather and wait her coming—
The wonderful north-bound train.

(Few, forgotten and lonely,

Where the white car-windows shine

No, not combatants-only

Details guarding the line.)

Quick, ere the gift escape us!
Out of the darkness we reach
For a handful of week-old papers
And a mouthful of human speech.

And the monstrous heaven rejoices,
And the earth allows again,
Meetings, greetings, and voices
Of women talking with men.

So we return to our places,

As out on the bridge she rolls; And the darkness covers our faces,

And the darkness re-enters our souls.

More than a little lonely

Where the lessening tail-lights shine. No-not combatants-only Details guarding the line!



ET us admit it fairly, as a business people should,


We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of good.

Not on a single issue, or in one direction or twain, But conclusively, comprehensively, and several times and again,

Were all our most holy illusions knocked higher than Gilderoy's kite.

We have had a jolly good lesson, and it serves us jolly well right!

This was not bestowed us under the trees, nor yet in the shade of a tent,

But swingingly, over eleven degrees of a bare brown continent.

From Lamberts to Delagoa Bay, and from Pietersburg to Sutherland,

Fell the phenomenal lesson we learned-with a fulness accorded no other land.

It was our fault, and our very great fault, and not the judgment of Heaven.

We made an Army in our own image, on an island nine

by seven,

Which faithfully mirrored its makers' ideals, equipment, and mental attitude

And so we got our lesson: and we ought to accept it with gratitude.

We have spent two hundred million pounds to prove the fact once more,

That horses are quicker than men afoot, since two and two make four:

And horses have four legs, and men have two legs, and two into four goes twice,

With nothing over except our lesson-and very cheap at the price.

For remember (this our children shall know: we are too near for that knowledge)

Not our mere astonied camps, but Council and Creed and College

All the obese, unchallenged old things that stifle and overlie us

Have felt the effects of the lesson we got-an advantage no money could buy us!

Then let us develop this marvellous asset which we alone command,

And which, it may subsequently transpire, will be worth as much as the Rand.

Let us approach this pivotal fact in a humble yet hopeful mood

We have had no end of a lesson: it will do us no end of



It was our fault, and our very great fault-and now we must turn it to use;

We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse!

So the more we work and the less we talk the better results we shall get

We have had an imperial lesson; it may make us an Empire yet!

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