« AnteriorContinuar »
And after one hundred and seventy years
Ah, France! And did we stand by you,
When life was made splendid with gifts and rewards ?
In the hour of your agony, Mother of Swords?
For where there are Irish there's loving and fighting,
Ireland no more!
PHARAOH AND THE SERGEANT
Consider that the meritorious services of the Sergeant Instructors attached to the Egyptian Army have been inadequately acknowledged. To the excellence of their work is mainly due the great improvement that has taken place in the soldiers of H.H. the Khedive."
EXTRACT FROM Letter.
SAID England unto Pharaoh, "I must make a man of
But a man in khaki kit who could handle men a bit,
Said England unto Pharaoh, "Though at present singing small,
You shall hum a proper tune before it ends,”
And she introduced old Pharaoh to the Sergeant once for all, And left 'em in the desert making friends.
It was not a Crystal Palace nor Cathedral;
Said England unto Pharaoh, "You've had miracles before, When Aaron struck your rivers into blood;
But if you watch the Sergeant he can show you something
He's a charm for making riflemen from mud."
It was neither Hindustani, French, nor Coptics;
(There were years that no one talked of; there were times of horrid doubt
There was faith and hope and whacking and despairWhile the Sergeant gave the Cautions and he combed old Pharaoh out,
And England didn't seem to know nor care.
That is England's awful way o' doing business—
She would serve her God (or Gordon) just the sameFor she thinks her Empire still is the Strand and Holborn Hill,
And she didn't think of Sergeant Whatisname.)
Said England to the Sergeant, "You can let my people go!"
It was wicked bad campaigning (cheap and nasty from the first),
There was heat and dust and coolie-work and sun,
There were vipers, flies, and sandstorms, there was cholera and thirst,
But Pharaoh done the best he ever done.
Down the desert, down the railway, down the river,
Like Israelites from bondage so he came,
"Tween the clouds o' dust and fire to the land of his desire,
And his Moses, it was Sergeant Whatisname!
We are eating dirt in handfuls for to save our daily bread, Which we have to buy from those that hate us most,
And we must not raise the money where the Sergeant raised the dead,
And it's wrong and bad and dangerous to boast.
But he did it on the cheap and on the quiet,
And he's not allowed to forward any claim
Though he drilled a black man white, though he made a
He will still continue Sergeant Whatisname-
THE LAST OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
THERE were thirty million English who talked of Eng
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.
They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door; And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!
They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and gray;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old troop sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."
They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.
They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toilbowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.
The old troop sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.
"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight? We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."
The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn. And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
O thirty million English that babble of England's might, Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night; Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made-"
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!