Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

KITCHENER'S SCHOOL

1898

Being a translation of the song that was made by a Mohammedan schoolmaster of Bengal Infantry (some time on service at Suakim) when he heard that Kitchener was taking money from the English to build a Madrissa for Hubshees or a college for the Sudanese.

OH HUBSHEE, carry your shoes in your hand and bow your head on your breast!

This is the message of Kitchener who did not break

you in jest. It was permitted to him to fulfil the long-appointed years; Reaching the end ordained of old over your dead Emirs.

He stamped only before your walls, and the Tomb ye knew was dust:

He gathered up under his armpits all the swords of your

trust:

He set a guard on your granaries, securing the weak from the strong:

He said: "Go work the waterwheels that were abolished so long."

He said: "Go safely, being abased. I have accomplished

my vow."

That was the mercy of Kitchener. Cometh his madness now! He does not desire as ye desire, nor devise as ye devise:

He is preparing a second host-an army to make you wise.

Not at the mouth of his clean-lipped guns shall ye learn his name again,

But letter by letter, from Kaf to Kaf, at the mouths of his

chosen men.

He has gone back to his own city, not seeking presents or bribes,

But openly asking the English for money to buy you Hakims and scribes.

Knowing that ye are forfeit by battle and have no right to live,

He begs for money to bring you learning—and all the English give.

It is their treasure it is their pleasure thus are their hearts inclined:

For Allah created the English mad-the maddest of all mankind!

They do not consider the Meaning of Things; they consult not creed nor clan.

Behold, they clap the slave on the back, and behold, he ariseth a man!

They terribly carpet the earth with dead, and before their cannon cool,

They walk unarmed by twos and threes to call the living to school.

How is this reason (which is their reason) to judge a scholar's

worth,

By casting a ball at three straight sticks and defending the same with a fourth?

But this they do (which is doubtless a spell) and other matters more strange,

Until, by the operation of years, the hearts of their scholars change:

Till these make come and go great boats or engines upon

rail

the

(But always the English watch near by to prop them when

they fail);

Till these make laws of their own choice and Judges of their

own blood;

And all the mad English obey the Judges and say that that Law is good.

Certainly they were mad from of old; but I think one new thing,

That the magic whereby they work their magic-wherefrom their fortunes spring

May be that they show all peoples their magic and ask no price in return.

Wherefore, since ye are bond to that magic, O Hubshee, make haste and learn!

Certainly also is Kitchener mad. But one sure thing I know

If he who broke you be minded to teach you, to his Madrissa go!

Go, and carry your shoes in your hand and bow your head on your breast,

For he who did not slay you in sport, he will not teach you in jest.

LORD ROBERTS

1914

HE passed in the very battle-smoke

Of the war that he had descried.
Three hundred mile of cannon spoke
When the Master-Gunner died.

He passed to the very sound of the guns;
But, before his eye grew dim,

He had seen the faces of the sons

Whose sires had served with him.

He had touched their sword-hilts and greeted each
With the old sure word of praise;

And there was virtue in touch and speech
As it had been in old days.

So he dismissed them and took his rest,
And the steadfast spirit went forth
Between the adoring East and West
And the tireless guns of the North.

Clean, simple, valiant, well-beloved,
Flawless in faith and fame,

Whom neither ease nor honours moved
An hair's-breadth from his aim.

Never again the war-wise face,
The weighed and urgent word
That pleaded in the market-place-
Pleaded and was not heard!

Yet from his life a new life springs
Through all the hosts to come,
And Glory is the least of things
That follow this man home.

BRIDGE-GUARD IN THE KARROO

1901

... and will supply details to guard the Blood River Bridge." District Orders-Lines of Communication. South African War.

SUDDEN the desert changes,

The raw glare softens and clings,
Till the aching Oudtshoorn ranges
Stand up like the thrones of Kings—

Ramparts of slaughter and peril—

Blazing, amazing, aglow"Twixt the sky-line's belting beryl And the wine-dark flats below.

Royal the pageant closes,

Lit by the last of the sunOpal and ash-of-roses,

Cinnamon, umber, and dun.

The twilight swallows the thicket,
The starlight reveals the ridge.
The whistle shrills to the picket-
We are changing guard on the bridge.

(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

« AnteriorContinuar »