"Or some day the earth will fall into the sun, Just as sure and as straight, as if shot from a gun." And he worried about it. "For when gravitation unbuckles her straps, Just picture," he said, "what a fearful collapse! It will come in a few million ages, perhaps." And he worried about it.
"The earth will become far too small for the race, And we'll pay at a fabulous rate for our space." And he worried about it. "The earth will be crowded so much without doubt, There will hardly be room for one's tongue to stick out, Nor room for one's thoughts when they'd wander about." And he worried about it.
"And in ten thousand years, there's no manner of doubt, Our lumber supply and our coal will give out." And he worried about it: "And then the Ice Age will return cold and raw, Frozen men will stand stiff with arms stretched out in awe, As if vainly beseeching a general thaw." And he worried about it.
His wife took in washing (two shillings a day). He didn't worry about it. His daughter sewed shirts, the rude grocer to pay. He didn't worry about it. While his wife beat her tireless rub-a-dub-dub On the washboard drum in her old wooden tub, He sat by the fire and he just let her rub. He didn't worry about it,
ASTRONOMY MADE EASY.
I saw and heard him as I was going home the other evening. A big telescope was pointed heavenward from the public square, and he stood beside it and thoughtfully inquired,—
"Is it possible, gentlemen, that you do not care to view the beautiful works of nature above the earth? Can it be true that men of your intellectual appearance will sordidly cling to ten cents, rather than take a look through this telescope and bring the beauties of heaven within one and a half miles of your eyes?"
The appeal was too much for one young man to resist. He was a tall young man, with a long face, high cheek bones, and an anxious look. He looked at the ten cents and then at the telescope, hesitated for a single moment, and then took his seat on the stool.
"Here is a young man who prefers to feast his soul with scientific knowledge rather than become a sordid, grasping, avaricious capitalist," remarked the astronomer, as he arranged the instrument. "Fall back, you people who prefer the paltry sum of ten cents to a view of the starry heavens, and give this noble young man plenty of room!"
The noble young man removed his hat, placed his eye to the instrument, a cloth was thrown over his head, and the astronomer continued:—
"Behold the bright star of Venus! A sight of this star is worth a thousand dollars to any man who prefers education to money." There was an instant of deep silence, and then the young man exclaimed:—
I stood behind him, and knew that the telescope pointed at the fifth storey of a building across the square, where a dance was in progress.
"All people indulge in exclamations of admiration as they view the beauties and mysteries of nature," remarked the astronomer. "Young man, tell the crowd what you see."
"I see a feller hugging a girl!" was the prompt reply. "And if there isn't a dozen of them!"
"And yet," continued the astronomer, "there are sordid wretches in this crowd who hang to ten cents in preference to observing such sights as these in ethereal space. Venus is millions of miles away, and yet by means of this telescope and by paying ten cents this intellectual young man is enabled to observe the inhabitants of that far-off world hugging each other just as natural as they do in this!"
The instrument was wheeled around to bear on the tower of the engine-house some distance away, and the astronomer, continued:—
"Behold the beauties and the wonders of Saturn! This star, to the naked eye, appears no larger than a pin's point, and yet for the paltry sum of ten cents this noble young man is placed within one mile of it!"
"Well, this beats all!" murmured the young man, as he slapped his leg.
"Tell me what you see, my friend."
"I see two fellows in a small room, smoking cigars and playing chess!" was the prompt reply.
"Saturn is 86,000,000 of miles from this town," continued the astronomer, "and yet the insignificant sum of ten cents has enabled this progressive young man to learn for himself that the celestial beings enjoy themselves pretty much as we do in this world. I venture to say that there is not a man in this crowd who ever knew before that the inhabitants of Saturn knew anything about chess or cigars."
Once more he wheeled the instrument round. This time it got the range of the upper storey of a tenement-house on the hill The young man had scarcely taken a glance through the tube, when he yelled out:—
"Great guns! But what planet is this?"
"You are now looking at Uranus," replied the professor. "Uranus is 97,502,304 miles distant from the earth, and yet I warrant that it doesn't appear over eighty rods away to you. Will you be kind enough, my friend, to tell this crowd what you see?"
"Give it to him! That's it! Go it old woman!" shouted the young man, slapping one leg and then the other.
"Speak up, my friend. What do you see?"
"By jove! she's got him by the hair now! Why, she'll beat him hollow!"
"Will you be kind enough, my friend, to allay the curiosity of your friends?"
"Whoop! that's it; now she's got him. Toughest fight I ever saw!" cried the young man as he moved back and slapped his thigh.
The professor covered up the instrument slowly and carefully, picked up and unlocked a satchel which had been lying near his feet, and then softly said:—
"Gentlemen, we will pause here for a moment. When a man tells you after this that the planet of Saturn is not inhabited, tell him that you know better, that it is not only inhabited, but that the married couples up there have family fights the same as on this mundane sphere. In about ten minutes I will be ready again to explain the wonders and beauties of the sparkling heavens to such of you as prefer a million dollars' worth of scientific knowledge to ten cents in vile dross. Meanwhile permit me to call your attention to my celebrated toothache drops, the only perfect remedy yet invented for aching teeth."
BY JOHN B. GOUGH.
An old southern preacher, who had a great habit of talking through his nose, left one congregation and came to another. The first Sunday he addressed his new congregation he went on about as follows:—
My beloved brederin, before I take my text, I must tell you of parting with my old congregation-ah, on the morning of last Sabbath-ah I entered into my church to preach my farewell discourse-ah. Before me sat the old fadders and mothers of Israel-ah. The tears course down their furrowed cheeks, their tottering forms and quivering lips breathed out a sad fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah.
Behind them sat middle-aged men and matrons, youth and vigour bloomed from every countenance, and as they looked up, I thought I could see in their dreamy eyes fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah.
Behind them sat the little boys and girls I had baptised and gathered into the Sabbath school. Ofttimes had they been rude and boisterous; but now their merry laugh was hushed and in the silence I could hear fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah.
Away in the back seats and along the aisles stood and sat the coloured bretherin with their black faces and honest hearts, and as they looked up I thought I could see in their eyes fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah.
When I had finished my discourse, and shaken hands with the bretherin-ah, I went out to take a last look at the church-ah, and the broken steps-ah, the flopping blinds-ah, and the moss-covered roof-ah, suggested fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah.
I mounted my old grey mare with all my earthly possessions in my saddle-bags, and as I passed down the street the servant girls stood in the doors-ah and waved their brooms with a fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah.
As I passed out of the village, I thought I could hear the wind-ah moaning through the waving branches of the trees, fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah.
I came on to the creek, and as the old mare stopped to drink I thought I could hear the water rippling over the pebbles, fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah. Even the little fishes-ah, as their bright fins glistened in the sunlight-ah, gathered round to say as best they could, fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah.
I was slowly passing up the hill meditating-ah on the sad vicissitudes of life-ah, when out bounded a big hog from the fence corner-ah with an a-boo a-boo and I came to the ground-ah, with my saddle bags-ah by my side-ah, and as the old mare ran up the hill-ah, she waved her tail back at me-ah seemingly to say-ah, fare-ye-well Brother Watkins-ah.
I. HER RESPECTABLE PAPA'S.
"My dear, be sensible! Upon my word, This—for a woman even—is absurd. His income's not a hundred pounds, I know. He's not worth loving."—"But I love him so."
II. HER MOTHER'S.
"You silly child, he is well made and tall; But looks are far from being all in all. His social standing's low, his family's low. He's not worth loving."—"And I love him so."
III. HER ETERNAL FRIEND'S.
"Is that he picking up the fallen fan? My dear! he's such an awkward, ugly man! You must be certain, pet, to answer 'No.' He's not worth loving."—" And I love him so."
IV. HER BROTHER'S.
"By jove! were I a girl—through horrid hap— I wouldn't have a milk-and-water chap. The man has not a single spark of 'go.' He's not worth loving."—" Yet I love him so."
V. HER OWN.
"And were he everything to which I've listened, Though he were ugly, awkward (and he isn't), Poor, lowly-born, and destitute of 'go,' He is worth loving, for I love him so."
THE PRIDE OF BATTERY B.
BY F.H. GASSAWAY.
South Mountain towered on our right Far off the river lay; And over on the wooded height We kept their lines at bay.
At last the muttering guns were stilled, The day died slow and wan; At last the gunners' pipes were filled, The sergeant's yarns began.
When, as the wind a moment blew Aside the fragrant flood, Our brushwood razed, before our view A little maiden stood.
A tiny tot of six or seven, From fireside fresh she seemed; Of such a little one in heaven I know one soldier dreamed.
And as she stood, her little hand Went to her curly head; In grave salute, "And who are you?" At length the sergeant said.
"Where is your home?" he growled again. She lisped out, "Who is me? Why, don't you know I'm little Jane, The pride of Battery B?
"My home? Why, that was burnt away, And Pa and Ma is dead; But now I ride the guns all day, Along with Sergeant Ned.
"And I've a drum that's not a toy, And a cap with feathers too; And I march beside the drummer-boy On Sundays at review.
"But now our baccy's all give out The men can't have their smoke, And so they're cross; why even Ned Won't play with me, and joke!
"And the big colonel said to-day— I hate to hear him swear— 'I'd give a leg for a good smoke Like the Yanks have over there.'
"And so I thought when beat the drum, And the big guns were still, I'd creep beneath the tent, and come Out here across the hill.
"And beg, good Mr. Yankee-men, You'd give me some Long Jack; Please do, when we get some again, I'll surely bring it back.
"And so I came; for Ned, says he, 'If you do what you say, You'll be a general yet, maybe, And ride a prancing bay.'"
We brimmed her tiny apron o'er,— You should have heard her laugh, As each man from his scanty store Shook out a generous half.
To kiss the little mouth stooped down A score of grimy men, Until the sergeant's husky voice Said "'Tention, squad?" and then,
We gave her escort till good-night The little waif we bid, Then watched her toddle out of sight, Or else 'twas tears that hid.
Her baby form nor turned about, A man nor spoke a word, Until at length a far faint shout Upon the wind we heard,
We sent it back, and cast sad eyes Upon the scene around, That baby's hand had touched the ties That brother's once had bound.
That's all, save when the dawn awoke: Again the work of hell, And through the sullen clouds of smoke The screaming missiles fell.
Our colonel often rubbed his glass, And marvelled much to see, Not a single shell that whole day fell In the camp of Battery B.
THE DANDY FIFTH.
BY F.H. GASSAWAY.
'Twas the time of the working men's great strike, When all the land stood still At the sudden roar from the hungry mouths That labour could not fill; When the thunder of the railroad ceased, And startled towns could spy A hundred blazing factories Painting each midnight sky.
Through Philadelphia's surging streets Marched the brown ranks of toil, The grimy legions of the shops, The tillers of the soil; White-faced militia-men looked on, And women shrank with dread; 'Twas muscle against money then— 'Twas riches against bread.
Once, as the mighty mob tramped on, A carriage stopped the way, Upon the silken seat of which A young patrician lay. And as, with haughty glance, he swept Along the jeering crowd, A white-haired blacksmith in the ranks Took off his cap and bowed.
That night the Labour League was met, And soon the chairman said: "There hides a Judas in our midst; One man who bows his head, Who bends the coward's servile knee When capital rolls by." "Down with him! Kill the traitor cur!" Rang out the savage cry.
Up rose the blacksmith, then, and held Erect his head of grey— "I am no traitor, though I bowed To a rich man's son to-day; And though you kill me as I stand— As like you mean to do— I want to tell you a story short, And I ask you'll hear me through.
"I was one of those who enlisted first, The old flag to defend, With Pope and Hallick, with 'Mac' and Grant, I followed to the end; And 'twas somewhere down on the Rapidan, When the Union cause looked drear, That a regiment of rich young bloods Came down to us from here.
"Their uniforms were by tailors cut, They brought hampers of good wine; And every squad had a nigger, too, To keep their boots in shine; They'd nought to say to us dusty 'vets,' And through the whole brigade, We called them the kid-gloved Dandy Fifth When we passed them on parade.
"Well, they were sent to hold a fort The Rebs tried hard to take, 'Twas the key of all our line which naught While it held out could break, But a fearful fight we lost just then, The reserve came up too late; And on that fort, and the Dandy Fifth, Hung the whole division's fate.
"Three times we tried to take them aid, And each time back we fell, Though once we could hear the fort's far guns Boom like a funeral knell; Till at length Joe Hooker's corps came up, An' then straight through we broke; How we cheered as we saw those dandy coats Still back of the drifting smoke.
"With the bands at play and the colours spread We swarmed up the parapet, But the sight that silenced our welcome shout I shall never in life forget. Four days before had their water gone— They bad dreaded that the most— The next their last scant rations went, And each man looked a ghost,
"As he stood, gaunt-eyed, behind his gun, Like a crippled stag at bay, And watched starvation—but not defeat— Draw nearer every day. Of all the Fifth, not four-score men Could in their places stand, And their white lips told a fearful tale, As we grasped each bloodless hand.
"The rest in the stupor of famine lay, Save here and there a few In death sat rigid against the guns, Grim sentinels in blue; And their Col'nel, he could not speak nor stir, But we saw his proud eye thrill As he simply glanced at the shot-scarred staff Where the old flag floated still!
"Now, I hate the tyrants who grind us down, While the wolf snarls at our door, And the men who've risen from us—to laugh At the misery of the poor; But I tell you, mates, while this weak old hand I have left the strength to lift, It will touch my cap to the proudest swell Who fought in the Dandy Fifth!"
BY F.H. GASSAWAY.
'Twas the last fight at Fredericksburg— Perhaps the day you reck— Our boys, the Twenty-second Maine, Kept Early's men in check. Just where Wade Hampton boomed away The fight went neck and neck.
All day we held the weaker wing, And held it with a will; Five several stubborn times we charged The battery on the hill, And five times beaten back, re-formed, And kept our columns still.
At last from out the centre fight Spurred up a general's aid. "That battery must silenced be!" He cried, as past he sped. Our colonel simply touched his cap, And then, with measured tread,
To lead the crouching line once more The grand old fellow came. No wounded man but raised his head And strove to gasp his name, And those who could not speak nor stir "God blessed him" just the same.
For he was all the world to us, That hero grey and grim; Right well he knew that fearful slope We'd climb with none but him, Though while his white head led the way We'd charge hell's portals in.
This time we were not half-way up, When, 'midst the storm of shell, Our leader, with his sword upraised, Beneath our bay'nets fell; And, as we bore him back, the foe Set up a joyous yell.
Our hearts went with him. Back we swept, And when the bugle said, "Up, charge, again!" no man was there But hung his dogged head. "We've no one left to lead us now," The sullen soldiers said.
Just then, before the laggard line, The colonel's horse we spied— Bay Billy, with his trappings on, His nostrils swelling wide, As though still on his gallant back His master sat astride.
Right royally he took the place That was his old of wont, And with a neigh, that seemed to say, Above the battle's brunt, "How can the Twenty-second charge If I am not in front?"
Like statues we stood rooted there, And gazed a little space; Above that floating mane we missed The dear familiar face; But we saw Bay Billy's eye of fire, And it gave us hearts of grace.
No bugle-call could rouse us all As that brave sight had done; Down all the battered line we felt A lightning impulse run; Up, up the hill we followed Bill, And captured every gun!
And when upon the conquered height Died out the battle's hum; Vainly 'mid living and the dead We sought our leader dumb; It seemed as if a spectre steed To win that day had come.
At last the morning broke. The lark Sang in the merry skies, As if to e'en the sleepers there It said awake, arise!— Though naught but that last trump of all Could ope their heavy eyes.
And then once more, with banners gay, Stretched out the long brigade; Trimly upon the furrowed field The troops stood on parade, And bravely 'mid the ranks we closed The gaps the fight had made.
Not half the Twenty-second's men Were in their place that morn, And Corp'ral Dick, who yester-morn Stood six brave fellows on, Now touched my elbow in the ranks, For all between were gone.
Ah! who forgets that dreary hour When, as with misty eyes, To call the old familiar roll The solemn sergeant tries— One feels that thumping of the heart As no prompt voice replies.
And as in falt'ring tone and slow The last few names were said, Across the field some missing horse Toiled up with weary tread. It caught the sergeant's eye, and quick Bay Billy's name was read.
Yes! there the old bay hero stood, All safe from battle's harms, And ere an order could be heard, Or the bugle's quick alarms, Down all the front, from end to end, The troops presented arms!
Not all the shoulder-straps on earth Could still our mighty cheer. And ever from that famous day, When rang the roll-call clear, Bay Billy's name was read, and then The whole line answered "Here!"
THE OLD VETERAN.
BY BAYARD TAYLOR.
An old and crippled veteran to the War Department came, He sought the Chief who led him on many a field of fame— The Chief who shouted "Forward!" where'er his banner rose, And bore its stars in triumph behind the flying foes.
"Have you forgotten, General," the battered soldier cried, "The days of eighteen hundred twelve, when I was at your side? Have you forgotten Johnson, who fought at Lundy's Lane? 'Tis true I'm old and pensioned, but I want to fight again."
"Have I forgotten?" said the Chief: "my brave old soldier, no! And here's the hand I gave you then, and let it tell you so; But you have done your share, my friend; you're crippled, old, and gray, And we have need of younger arms and fresher blood to-day."
"But, General," cried the veteran, a flush upon his brow, "The very men who fought with us, they say, are traitors now; They've torn the flag of Lundy's Lane, our old red, white and blue, And while a drop of blood is left, I'll show that drop is true."
"I'm not so weak but I can strike, and I've a good old gun, To get the range of traitors' hearts, and prick them one by one. Your Minie rifles and such arms, it ain't worth while to try; I couldn't get the hang o' them, but I'll keep my powder dry"
"God bless you, comrade!" said the Chief,—"God bless your loyal heart! But younger men are in the field, and claim to have a part; They'll plant our sacred banner firm, in each rebellious town, And woe, henceforth, to any hand that dares to pull it down!"
"But, General!"—still persisting, the weeping veteran cried, "I'm young enough to follow, so long as you're my guide; And some you know, must bite the dust, and that, at least can I; So give the young ones place to fight, but me a place to die!"
"If they should fire on Pickens, let the colonel in command Put me upon the ramparts with the flag-staff in my hand: No odds how hot the cannon-smoke, or how the shell may fly, I'll hold the Stars and Stripes aloft, and hold them till I die!"
"I'm ready, General; so you let a post to me be given, Where Washington can look at me, as he looks down from Heaven, And say to Putnam at his side, or, may be, General Wayne,— 'There stands old Billy Johnson, who fought at Lundy's Lane!'"
"And when the fight is raging hot, before the traitors fly, When shell and ball are screeching, and bursting in the sky, If any shot should pierce through me, and lay me on my face, My soul would go to Washington's, and not to Arnold's place!"
BY ALFRED H. MILES.
The bells were ringing their cheerful chimes In the old grey belfry tow'r, The choir were singing their carols betimes In the wintry midnight hour, The waits were playing with eerie drawl "The mistletoe hung in the castle hall," And the old policeman was stomping his feet As he quiver'd and shiver'd along on his beat;
The snow was falling as fast as it could O'er city and hamlet, forest and wood, And Jack Frost, busy with might and main, Was sketching away at each window-pane;
Father Christinas was travelling fast, Mid the fall of the snow and the howl of the blast, With millions of turkeys for millions to taste, And millions of puddings all tied to his waist, And millions of mince-pies that scented the air, To cover the country with Christmas fare,—
When over the hills, from far away, Came Santa Claus with the dawn of day; He rode on a cycle, as seasons do, With Christmas behind him a-tandem too; His pockets were bigger than sacks from the mill— The Soho Bazaar would not one of them fill, And the Lowther Arcade and the good things that stock it Would travel with ease in his tiniest pocket. And these were all full of delights and surprises For gifts and rewards and for presents and prizes.
Little knick-knackeries, beautiful toys For mas and papas and for girls and for boys There were dolls of all sorts, there were dolls of all sizes, In comical costumes and funny disguises,— Dolls of all countries and dolls of all climes, Dolls of all ages and dolls of all times; Soldier dolls, sailor dolls, red, white and blue; Khaki dolls, darkie dolls, trusty and true; Curio Chinese and quaint little Japs, Nid-nodding at nothing, the queer little chaps; Bigger dolls, nigger dolls woolly and black, With never a coat or a shirt to their back. Dolls made of china and dolls made of wood, Dutch dolls and such dolls, and all of them good; Dolls of fat features, and dolls with more pointed ones, Dolls that were rigid and dolls that were jointed ones, Dolls made of sawdust and dolls made of wax, Dolls that go "bye-bye" when laid on their backs, Dolls that are silent when nobody teases them, Dolls that will cry when one pinches or squeezes them; Dolls with fair faces and eyes bright of hue, The black and the brunette, the blond and the blue; Bride dolls and bridegrooms, the meekest of spouses; And hundreds and thousands of pretty dolls' houses. And as for the furniture—think for a day He brought all you'll think of and all I could say!
And then there were playthings and puzzles and games. With all kinds of objects and all sorts of names,— Musical instruments, boxes and glasses, And fiddles and faddles of various classes; Mandolins ready for fingers and thumbs, And banjos and tambourines, trumpets and drums.
Noah's arks, animals, reptiles and mammals, Mammoths and crocodiles, cobras and camels; Lions and tigers as tame as a cat, Eagles and vultures as blind as a bat; Bears upon bear-poles and monkeys on sticks, Foxes in farmyards at mischievous tricks; Monkeys on dogs too, and dogs too on bicycles, Clumsy old elephants triking on tricycles; Horses on rockers and horses on wheels, But never a one that could show you his heels.
There were tops for the whip, there were tops for the string, There were tops that would hum, there were tops that would sing; There were hoops made of iron and hoops made of wood, And hoop-sticks to match them, as strong and as good; There were books full of pictures and books full of rhymes, There were songs for the seasons and tales for the times; Pen-knives and pen-wipers, pencils and slates, Wheelers and rockers and rollers and skates; Bags full of marbles and boxes of bricks, And bundles and bundles of canes and of sticks.
There were "prams" for the girls, there were "trams" for the boys, And thousands of clever mechanical toys,— Engines and carriages running on rails, Steamers and sailers that carry the mails; Flags of all nations, and ships for all seas— The Red Sea, the Black Sea, or what sea you please— That tick it by clockwork or puff it by steam, Or outsail the weather or go with the stream; Carriages drawn by a couple of bays, 'Buses and hansoms, and waggons and drays, Coaches and curricles, rallis and gigs— All sorts of wheelers, with all sorts of rigs.
Cricket and croquet, and bat, trap, and ball, And tennis—but really the list would appal. There were balls for the mouth, there were balls for the feet, There were balls you could play with and balls you could eat, There were balls made of leather and balls made of candy, Balls of all sizes, from footballs to brandy.
And then came the boxes of curious games, With all sorts of objects and all sorts of names,— Lotto and Ludo, the Fox and the Geese, Halma and Solitaire—all of a piece; Go-bang and Ringolette, Hook-it and Quoits, For junior endeavours and senior exploits; And Skittles and Spellicans, Tiddle-de-winks— But one mustn't mention the half that one thinks; Chessmen and draughtsmen, and hoards upon hoards Of chess and backgammon and bagatelle boards; And boxes of dominoes, boxes of dice, And boxes of tricks you can try in a trice.
And Santa Claus went with his wonderful load Through street after street, and through road after road, And crept through the keyholes—or some other way; He got down the chimneys—so some people say: But, one way or other, he managed to creep Where all the good children were lying asleep; And when he got there, all the stockings in rows That were ready hung up he cramm'd full to the toes With the many good things he had brought with the day From over the hills and far away.
And Santa Claus smiled as he look'd on the faces Of all the good children asleep in their places, And laugh'd out so loud as to almost awaken One sharp little fellow who great pains had taken; His socks were too small—for he'd hopes of great riches— So, tying the legs, he had hung up his breeches! And surely the tears almost came in his eyes As he open'd a letter with joy and surprise That he took from a stocking hung up to a bed, And surely they fell as the letter he read; 'Twas a little girl's hand, and said, "Dear Santer Claws, Don't fordit baby's sox—they's hung up to the drors."
But wasn't there laughter and shouting and noise From the boys and the girls, and the girls and the boys, When they counted the good things the good Saint had brought them, And laid them all out on their pillows to sort them. Such wonderful voices, such wonderful lungs, It was just like another confusion of tongues, A Babel of chatter from master and miss— And I don't think they've left off from that day to this.
Ah! good little people, if thus you shall find Rich treasures provided, be grateful and mind, In the midst of your pleasures, a moment to pause, And think about Christmas and good Santa Claus!
Remember, in weary and desolate places, With tears in their eyes and with grime on the faces, The children of poverty, sorrow and weep, With little to cheer them awake or asleep; And remember that you who have much and to spare, Can brighten their eyes and can lighten their cares, If you take the example and work to the cause Of your own benefactor, the good Santa Claus.
You need not climb chimneys in tempest and storm, Nor creep into keyholes in fairy-like form; You've a magical key for the dreariest place In the light of your eyes and the smile of your face. And remember the joy that you give to another Will gladden your own heart as well as the other; For troubles are halved when together we bear them, And pleasures are doubled whenever we share them.
THE IMPERIAL RECITER
"And we are peacemen, also; crying for Peace, peace at any price—though it be war! We must live free, at peace, or each man dies With death-clutch fast for ever on the prize." —GERALD MASSEY.
The Editor's thanks are due to the Rev. A. Frewen Aylward for the use of the poem "Adsum," and to Messrs. Harmsworth Bros, for permission to include Mr. Rudyard Kipling's phenomenal success, "The Absent-Minded Beggar," in this collection; also to Messrs. Harper and Brothers, of New York, for special permission to copy from "Harper's Magazine" the poem "Sheltered," by Sarah Orme Jewett; to Messrs. Chatto and Windus for permission to use "Mrs. B.'s Alarms," from "Humorous Stories," by the late James Payn; to Miss Palgrave and to Messrs. Macmillan and Co., for the use of "England Once More," by the late F. T. Palgrave; to Mr. Clement Scott for permission to include "Sound the Assembly" and "The Midnight Charge"; to Mr. F. Harald Williams and Mr. Gerald Massey for generous and unrestricted use of their respective war poems, and to numerous other authors and publishers for the use of copyright pieces.
There is a true and a false Imperialism. There is the Imperialism of the vulgar braggart, who thinks that one Englishman can fight ten men of any other nationality under the sun; and there is the Imperialism of the man of thought, who believes in the destiny of the English race, who does not shrink from the responsibilities of power from "craven fear of being great," and who holds that an Englishman ought to be ready to face twenty men if need be, of any nationality, including his own, rather than surrender a trust or sacrifice a principle. The first would base empire on vanity and brute force, inspired by the vulgar reflection—
"We've got the men, we've got the ships, we've got the money too."
The second does not seek empire, but will not shrink from the responsibilities of its growth, and in all matters of international dispute believes with Solomon, that "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding," and in all matters of international relationship that "Righteousness exalteth a nation."
The rapid and solid growth of the British Empire has been due largely to two characteristics of its rule—the integrity of its justice and the soundness of its finance. Native races everywhere appeal with confidence to the justice of our courts, and find in the integrity of our fiscal system relief from the oppressive taxation of barbarous governments.
These blessings we owe, and with them the strength of our empire, not to the force of our arms in the field, but to the subordination of the military to the civil spirit, both in peace and war.
Other nations fail in their attempts at colonisation because they proceed on military lines. With them it is the soldier first and the civilian where he can. England succeeds because she proceeds on industrial lines. With her it is the plough where it may be and the sword where it must.
The military spirit never yet built up an enduring empire, and the danger of military success is that it is apt to confuse means and ends in the public mind, and to encourage the subordination of the civil to the military spirit in national institutions. Such a result could only be disastrous to the British Empire, and so, while rejoicing in the success of the British arms, it behoves us to oppose with all our strength the growth of the military spirit.
The seventh decade of the nineteenth century saw the realisation of one of the greatest facts of our time, the federation of the German states in one great military empire. The tenth decade has realised a greater fact, the federation of the British colonies in a great social and commercial empire. The German Empire must fall to pieces if it continues to subordinate the civil to the military Spirit in its national policy. The British Empire can never perish while it is true to the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
Signs of the growth of a military spirit are to be seen in the advocacy of some form of conscription or compulsory service for home defence; and this, too, at a time when the ends of the earth have been sending us volunteers in abundance to espouse a foreign quarrel.
Such advocates neither understand the national history nor the English character. Were England in any real danger there would be no need for forced service, and service forced without need would breed revolution. The nation that cannot depend upon its volunteers for its home defence is not worth defending.
ALFRED H. MILES. October 1, 1900.
The Englishman Eliza Cook England goes to Battle Gerald Massey England Once More F. T. Palgrave God Defend the Right F. Harold Williams The Volunteer Alfred H. Miles Down in Australia Gerald Massey Australia Speaks Gerald Massey An Imperial Reply Gerald Massey The Boys' Return Gerald Massey "Sound the Assembly!" Clement Scott The Absent-Minded Beggar Rudyard Kipling For the Empire F. Harald Williams Wanted—a Cromwell F. Harald Williams England's Ironsides F. Harald Williams The Three Cherry-Stones Anonymous The Midshipman's Funeral Darley Dale Ladysmith F. Harald Williams The Six-inch Gun "The Bombshell" St. Patrick's Day F. Harald Williams The Hero of Omdurman F. Harald Williams Boot and Saddle F. Harald Williams The Midnight Charge Clement Scott Mafeking—"Adsum!" A. Frewen Aylward The Fight at Rorke's Drift Emily Pfeiffer Relieved! (At Mafeking) "Daily Express" How Sam Hodge Won the V.C. Jeffrey Prowse The Relief of Lucknow R.T.S. Lowell A Ballad of War M.B. Smedley The Alma R.C. Trench After Alma Gerald Massey Balaclava—The Charge of the Light Lord Tennyson Brigade After Balaclava James Williams Inkerman Gerald Massey Killed in Action F. Harald Williams At the Breach Sarah Williams Santa Filomena H.W. Longfellow The Little Hatchet Story Burdette The Loss of the Birkenhead Sir F.H. Doyle Elihu Alice Carey The Last of the Eurydice Sir Noel Paton The Warden of the Cinque Ports H.W. Longfellow England's Dead Felicia Hemans Mehrab Khan Sir F.H. Doyle The Red Thread of Honour Sir F.H. Doyle The Private of the Buffs Sir F.H. Doyle A Fisherman's Song Alfred H. Miles The Field of Waterloo Lord Byron The Lay of the Brave Cameron J. S. Blackie A Song for Stout Workers J. S. Blackie At the Burial of a Veteran Alfred H. Miles Napoleon and the British Sailor Thomas Campbell The Burial of Sir John Moore Charles Wolfe At Trafalgar Gerald Massey Camperdown Alfred H. Miles The Armada Lord Macaulay Mr. Barker's Picture Max Adeler The Wooden Leg Max Adeler The Enchanted Shirt Colonel John Hay Jim Bludso Colonel John Hay Freedom J.R. Lowell The Coortin' J.R. Lowell The Heritage J.R. Lowell Lady Clare Lord Tennyson Break, Break, Break Lord Tennyson The Lord of Burleigh Lord Tennyson Dora Lord Tennyson Mrs. B.'s Alarms James Payn Sheltered Sarah Orme Jewett Guild's Signal Bret Harte Bill Mason's Bride Bret Harte The Clown's Baby "St. Nicholas" Aunt Tabitha O. Wendell Holmes Little Orphant Annie J. Whitcomb Riley The Limitations of Youth Eugene Field Rubinstein's Playing Anonymous Obituary William Thomson The Editor's Story Alfred H. Miles Nat Ricket Alfred H. Miles 'Spatially Jim "Harper's Magazine" 'Arry's Ancient Mariner Campbell Rae-Brown The Amateur Orlando George T. Lanigan A Ballad of a Bazaar Campbell Rae-Brown A Parental Ode Thomas Hood 'Twas ever Thus Henry S. Leigh Miss Maloney on the Chinese Question Mary Mapes Dodge The Heathen Chinee Bret Harte Ho-ho of the Golden Belt John G. Saxe The Hired Squirrel Laura Sanford Ballad of the Trailing Skirt New York "Life" To the Girl in Khaki "Modern Society" The Tender Heart Helen G. Cone A Song of Saratoga John G. Saxe The Sea Eva L. Ogden A Tale of a Nose Charles F. Adams Leedle Yawcob Strauss Charles F. Adams Dot Baby of Mine Charles F. Adams A Dutchman's Mistake Charles F. Adams The Owl Critic James T. Fields The True Story of King Marshmallow Anonymous The Jackdaw of Rheims R.H. Barham Tubal Cain Charles Mackay The Three Preachers Charles Mackay Say not the Struggle A.H. Clough Patriotism Lord Tennyson To-day and To-morrow Gerald Massey Ring Out, Wild Bells Lord Tennyson "Rule, Britannia!" James Thomson
THE IMPERIAL RECITER. EDITED BY ALFRED H. MILES.
BY ELIZA COOK.
There's a land that bears a well-known name, Though it is but a little spot; I say 'tis the first on the scroll of fame, And who shall aver it is not? Of the deathless ones who shine and live In arms, in arts, or song, The brightest the whole wide world can give To that little land belong. 'Tis the star of the Earth—deny it who can— The Island-home of the Englishman.
There's a flag that waves o'er every sea, No matter when or where; And to treat that flag as aught but the free Is more than the strongest dare. For the lion spirits that tread the deck Have carried the palm of the brave; And that flag may sink with a shot-torn wreck, But never float o'er a slave; Its honour is stainless—deny it who can— And this is the flag of the Englishman.
There's a heart that beats with burning glow, The wrong'd and the weak to defend; And strikes as soon for a trampled foe As it does for a soul-bound friend. It nurtures a deep and honest love, The passions of faith and pride, And yearns with the fondness of a dove, To the light of its own fireside, 'Tis a rich rough gem—deny it who can— And this is the heart of an Englishman.
The Briton may traverse the pole or the zone And boldly claim his right, For he calls such a vast domain his own That the sun never sets on his might. Let the haughty stranger seek to know The place of his home and birth; And a flush will pour from cheek to brow While he tells of his native earth; For a glorious charter—deny it who can— Is breathed in the words, "I'm an Englishman."
ENGLAND GOES TO BATTLE.
BY GERALD MASSEY.
Now, glory to our England, She arises, calm and grand, The ancient spirit in her eyes,— The good sword in her hand! Our royal right on battle-ground Was aye to bear the brunt: Ho! brave heart, with one passionate bound, Take the old place in front! Now glory to our England, As she rises, calm and grand, The ancient spirit in her eyes,— The good sword in her hand!
Who would not fight for England? Who would not fling a life I' the ring, to meet a Tyrant's gage, And glory in the strife? Her stem is thorny, but doth burst A glorious Rose a-top! And shall our proud Rose wither? First We'll drain life's dearest drop! Who would not fight for England? Who would not fling a life I' the ring, to meet a tyrant's gage, And glory in the strife?
To battle goes our England, As gallant and as gay As lover to the altar, on A merry marriage-day. A weary night she stood to watch The clouds of dawn up-rolled; And her young heroes strain to match The valour of the old. To battle goes our England, As gallant and as gay As lover to the altar, on A merry marriage-day.
Now, fair befall our England, On her proud and perilous road: And woe and wail to those who make Her footprints wet with blood. Up with our red-cross banner—roll A thunder-peal of drums! Fight on there, every valiant soul Have courage! England comes! Now, fair befall our England, On her proud and perilous road: And woe and wail to those who make Her footprints wet with blood!
Now, victory to our England! And where'er she lifts her hand In freedom's fight, to rescue Right, God bless the dear old land! And when the Storm hath passed away, In glory and in calm, May she sit down i' the green o' the day, And sing her peaceful psalm! Now victory to our England! And where'er she lifts her hand In freedom's fight, to rescue Right, God bless the dear old land!
ENGLAND ONCE MORE.
BY FRANCIS TURNER PALGRAVE.
Old if this England be The Ship at heart is sound, And the fairest she and gallantest That ever sail'd earth round! And children's children in the years Far off will live to see Her silver wings fly round the world, Free heralds of the free! While now on Him who long has bless'd To bless her as of yore, Once more we cry for England, England once more!
They are firm and fine, the masts; And the keel is straight and true; Her ancient cross of glory Rides burning through the blue:— And that red sign o'er all the seas The nations fear and know, And the strong and stubborn hero-souls That underneath it go:— While now on Him who long has bless'd To bless her as of yore, Once more we cry for England, England once more!
Prophets of dread and shame, There is no place for you, Weak-kneed and craven-breasted, Among this English crew! Bluff hearts that cannot learn to yield, But as the waves run high, And they can almost touch the night, Behind it see the sky. While now on Him who long has bless'd To bless her as of yore, Once more we cry for England, England once more!
As Past in Present hid, As old transfused to new, Through change she lives unchanging, To self and glory true; From Alfred's and from Edward's day Who still has kept the seas, To him who on his death-morn spoke Her watchword on the breeze! While now on Him who long has bless'd To bless her as of yore, Once more we cry for England, England once more!
What blasts from East and North What storms that swept the land Have borne her from her bearings Since Caesar seized the strand! Yet that strong loyal heart through all Has steer'd her sage and free, —Hope's armour'd Ark in glooming years, And whole world's sanctuary! While now on Him who long has bless'd To bless her as of yore, Once more we cry for England, England once more!
Old keel, old heart of oak, Though round thee roar and chafe All storms of life, thy helmsman Shall make the haven safe! Then with Honour at the head, and Faith, And Peace along the wake, Law blazon'd fair on Freedom's flag, Thy stately voyage take:— While now on Him who long has bless'd To bless Thee as of yore, Once more we cry for England, England once more!
GOD DEFEND THE RIGHT.
BY F. HARALD WILLIAMS.
Where Roman eagle never flew The flag of England flies, The herald of great empires new Beneath yet larger skies; Upon a hundred lands and seas, And over ransomed slaves Who poured to her no idle pleas, The pledge of Freedom waves; Whatever man may well have done We have with dauntless might, And England holds what England won, And God defends the right.
Where hardly climb the mountain goats, On stormy cape and crag, The refuge of the wanderer floats— Our hospitable flag; While alien banners only mock With glory's fleeting wraith, It stands on the eternal rock Of our eternal faith; And handed on from sire and son, It furls not day nor night; So England holds what England won, And God defends the right.
When wrongs cry out for brave redress, Our justice does not lag, And in the name of righteousness Moves on our stainless flag; The helpless see it proudly shine And hail the sheltering robe, That heralds on the thin red line That girdles round the globe; A pioneer of truth as none Before it scatters light, And England holds what England won, And God defends the right.
Beneath the shadow of its peace Though riddled to a rag, The down-trod nations gain release, And rally round the flag; We fight the battles of the Lord, And never may we yield A foot we measure with the sword— On the red harvest-field; And we will not retreat, while one Stout heart remains to fight; Let England hold what England won, And God defend the right.
BY ALFRED H. MILES.
Conscription? Never! The word belongs To the Foes of Freedom, the Friends of wrongs, And unto them alone. The first and worst of the Tyrant's terms, Barbed to spike at the writhing worms That crawl about his throne. Only the mob at a despot's heels Would juggle a man at Fortune's wheels, Or conjure one with the die that reels From the lip of the dice-cup thrown! The soldier forced to the field of fight, With never a reck of the wrong or right, Wherever a flag may wave— By the toss of a coin, or a number thrown— Fights with a will that is not his own, A victim and a slave!
Right is Might in ever a fight, And Truth is Bravery, And the Right and True are the Ready too, When the bolt is hurl'd in the peaceful blue By the hand of Knavery. And the Land that fears for its Volunteers Is a Land of Slavery.
Compulsion? Never! The word is dead In a land of Freedom born and bred, Of old in the years of yore, Where all by the laws of Freedom wrought May do as they will, who will as they ought, And none desire for more. Who brooks no spur has need of none, (Who needs a spur is a traitor son,) And all are ready and all are one When Freedom calls to the fore! The soldier forced to the field of war By the iron hand of a tyrant law, Wherever a flag may wave, And the press'd—at best but a coward's 'hest— Fight with the bitter, sullen zest, And the ardour of a slave!
A hireling? Never! The bought and sold Are ever the prey of the traitor's gold, Wherever the fight may be. Or ever a man will sell his sword, The highest bidder may buy the gaud With a coward's niggard fee. Who buys and sells to the market goes, And sells his friends as he sells his foes, So he gain in the main by his country's woes,— But the gain is not to the free;— For the soldier bought with a price has nought But his fee to 'fend when the fight is fought, Wherever the flag may wave. And he who fights for the loot or pay, Fights for himself, or ever he may— A huckster and a slave!
Or ever a Free land needs a son To follow the flag with pike or gun Upon the field of war, There's never a need to seek for one In the dice's throw, or the number's run, Or the iron grip of the law;— All are ready, where all are free, With never a spur and never a fee, To fight and 'fend the liberty That Freemen hold in awe. The Volunteer is a son sincere, And ready, or ever the cause appear, Whole-hearted, free as brave,— Ready at call to sally forth From east and west, and south and north, Wherever the flag may wave,— With never a selfish thought to mar The sacrifice of the holy war, And never a self to save. And the flag shall float in the blue on high Till the last of the Volunteers shall die, And Hell shall tear it out of the sky— From Freedom's trampled grave!
Right is Might in ever a fight, And Truth is Bravery, And the Right and True are the Ready too, When the bolt is hurl'd in the peaceful blue By the hand of Knavery. And the Land that fears for its Volunteers Is a Land of Slavery.
DOWN IN AUSTRALIA.
BY GERALD MASSEY.
Quaff a cup and send a cheer up for the Old Land! We have heard the Reapers shout, For the Harvest going out, With the smoke of battle closing round the bold Land; And our message shall be hurled Ringing right across the world, There are true hearts beating for you in the Gold Land.
We are with you in your battles, brave and bold Land! For the old ancestral tree Striketh root beneath the sea, And it beareth fruit of Freedom in the Gold Land! We shall come, too, if you call, We shall fight on if you fall; Shakespere's land shall never be a bought and sold land....
O, a terror to the Tyrant is that bold Land! He remembers how she stood, With her raiment roll'd in blood, When the tide of battle burst upon the Old Land; And he looks with darkened face, For he knows the hero race Strike the Harp of Freedom—draw her sword with bold hand....
When the smoke of Battle rises from the Old Land You shall see the Tyrant down! You shall see her lifted crown Wears another peerless jewel won with bold hand; She shall thresh her foes like corn, They shall eat the bread of scorn; We will sing her song of triumph in the Gold Land.
Quaff a cup and send a cheer up for the Old Land! We have heard the Reapers shout For the Harvest going out, Seen the smoke of battle closing round the bold Land; And our answer shall be hurled Ringing right across the world,— All true hearts are beating for you in the Gold Land.
BY GERALD MASSEY.
What is the News to-day, Boys? Have they fired the Signal gun? We answer but one way, Boys; We are ready for the fray, Boys, All ready and all one!
They shall not say we boasted Of deeds that would be done; Or sat at home and toasted: We are marshall'd, drilled, and posted, All ready and all one!
We are not as driven cattle That would the conflict shun. They have to test our mettle As Volunteers of Battle, All ready and all one!
The life-streams of the Mother Through all her youngsters run, And brother stands by brother, To die with one another, All ready and all one!
AN IMPERIAL REPLY.
BY GERALD MASSEY.
'Tis glorious, when the thing to do Is at the supreme instant done! We count your first fore-running few A thousand men for every one! For this true stroke of statesmanship— The best Australian poem yet— Old England gives your hand the grip, And binds you with a coronet, In which the gold o' the Wattle glows With Shamrock, Thistle, and the Rose.
They talked of England growing old, They said she spoke with feeble voice; But hear the virile answer rolled Across the world! Behold her Boys Come back to her full-statured Men, To make four-square her fighting ranks. She feels her youth renewed again, With heart too full for aught but "Thanks!" And now the gold o' the Wattle glows With Shamrock, Thistle, and the Rose.
"My Boys have come of age to-day," The proud old mother smiling said. "They write a brand-new page to-day, By far-off futures to be read!" Throughout all lands of British blood, This stroke hath kindled such a glow; The Federal links of Brotherhood Are clasped and welded at a blow. And aye the gold o' the Wattle glows With Shamrock, Thistle, and the Rose.
THE BOYS' RETURN.
BY GERALD MASSEY.
Wives, mothers, sweethearts sent Their dearest; waved their own defenders forth; And, fit companions for the bravest, went The Boys, to test their manhood, prove their worth.
As Sons of those who braved All dangers; to Earth's ends our Flag unfurled, The old pioneers of Ocean, who have paved Our pathway with their bones around the world!
To-day the City waits, Proudly a-throb with life about to be: She welcomes her young warriors in her gates Of glory, opened to them by the Sea.
Let no cur bark, or spurt Defilement, trying to tarnish this fair fame; No Alien drag our Banner through the dirt Because it blazons England's noble name.
Upon the lips of Praise They lay their own hands, saying, "We have not won Great battles for you, nor Immortal bays, But what your boys were given to do is done!"
When Clouds were closing round The Island-home, our Pole-star of the North, Australia fired her Beacons—rose up crowned With a new dawn upon the ancient earth.
For us they filled a cup More rare than any we can brim to them! The patriot-passion did so lift men up, They looked as if each wore a diadem!
Best honours we shall give, If to that loftier outlook still we climb; And in our unborn children there shall live The larger spirit of this great quickening time.
To-day is the Women's day! With them there's no more need o' the proud disguise They wore when their young heroes sailed away; Soft smiles the dewy fire in loving eyes!
And, when to the full breast, O mothers! your re-given ones you take, And in your long embraces they are blest, Give them one hug at heart for England's sake.
The Mother of us all! Dear to us, near to us, though so far apart; For whose defence we are sworn to stand or fall In the same battle as Brothers one at heart.
All one to bear the brunt, All one we move together in the march, Shoulder to shoulder; to the Foe all front, The wide world round; all heaven one Triumph Arch.
One in the war of Mind For clearing earth of all dark Jungle-Powers; One for the Federation of mankind, Who will speak one language, and that language ours.
"SOUND THE ASSEMBLY!"
BY CLEMENT SCOTT.
(From Punch's Souvenir. May 3rd, 1900.)
Sound the Assembly! Blow, Buglemen, blow! For England has need of her bravest to-day. Sound! and the World Universal will know We shall fight to a finish, in front or at bay. Sound the Assembly! They'll hear it, and spring To the saddle, and gallop wherever they're led. Sound! Every city and village will ring With the shout "To the front!" It shall never be said—
That an Englishman's heart ever failed in its glow For Queen, or for country, when threatened by foe, For Liberty, stabbed by oppression and woe, So, Sound the Assembly! Blow! Buglemen, blow! Sound the Assembly!
Sound the Assembly! You'll see, as of yore, The Service united in heart and in head, When blue-jackets leap from their ships to the shore To bring up the guns for their comrades in red! Sound the Assembly! Our Naval Brigade Will prove they are sailors and soldiers as well; They will pull, they will haul, they will march, they will wade, And dash into furnaces hotter than hell!
A long pull, a strong pull, a cheery "Yo! ho!" Do you see that big mountain? 'Tis Jack who will know To be first at the top, when, by gad! he will crow! So, Sound the Assembly! Blow, Buglemen, blow! Sound the Assembly!
Sound the Assembly! Brave Union Jack! You have floated triumphant on sea and on shore; Old England and Scotland are still back to back, And Ireland, God bless her! is with us once more. Sound the Assembly! Come! Forward! Quick march! What! Feather-bed soldiers? Bah! give them the lie. Divested by war of Society starch They will shout "'Tis a glorious death to die!"—
What land in the world could produce such a show Of heroes, who face both siroccos and snow, Rush madly to danger, and never lie low? So, Sound the Assembly! Blow, Buglemen, blow! Sound the Assembly!
Sound the Assembly! Form, citizens, form! From smoke of the city, from country so green, A horse of irregulars sweeps like a storm To defend with their lives their dear country and Queen! Sound the Assembly! Come! Volunteers, come! Leave oldsters at grinding and tilling the sod! Bold Yoemen, enrolled for defence of their home, Enlist with a cheer for the Empire, thank God!—
To the front! to the front! with their faces aglow, They will march, the dear lads, with a pulse and a go; Wave flags o'er the Workman, the Johnnie, the Beau, So, Sound the Assembly! Blow, Buglemen, blow! Sound the Assembly!
THE ABSENT-MINDED BEGGAR.
BY RUDYARD KIPLING.
When you've shouted "Rule Britannia"—when you've sung "God Save the Queen"— When you've finished killing Kruger with your mouth— Will you kindly drop a shilling in my little tambourine For a gentleman in kharki ordered South? He's an absent-minded beggar and his weaknesses are great— But we and Paul must take him as we find him— He is out on active service, wiping something off a slate— And he's left a lot o' little things behind him!
Duke's son—cook's son—son of a hundred kings— (Fifty thousand horse and foot going to Table Bay!) Each of 'em doing his country's work (and who's to look after their things?) Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay—pay—pay!
There are girls he married secret, asking no permission to, For he knew he wouldn't get it if he did. There is gas and coals and vittles, and the house-rent falling due, And it's more than rather likely there's a kid. There are girls he walked with casual, they'll be sorry now he's gone, For an absent-minded beggar they will find him; But it ain't the time for sermons with the winter coming on— We must help the girl that Tommy's left behind him!
Cook's son—Duke's son—son of a belted Earl— Son of a Lambeth publican—it's all the same to-day! Each of 'em doing his country's work (and who's to look after the girl?) Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay! pay! pay!
There are families by thousands, far too proud to beg or speak— And they'll put their sticks and bedding up the spout, And they'll live on half o' nothing paid 'em punctual once a week, 'Cause the man that earned the wage is ordered out. He's an absent-minded beggar, but he heard his country call, And his reg'ment didn't need to send to find him: He chucked his job and joined it—so the job before us all Is to help the home that Tommy's left behind him!
Duke's job—cook's job—gardener, baronet, groom— Mews or palace or paper-shop—there's someone gone away! Each of 'em doing his country's work (and who's to look after the room?) Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay! pay! pay!
Let us manage so as later we can look him in the face, And tell him—what he'd very much prefer— That, while he saved the Empire his employer saved his place, And his mates (that's you and me) looked out for her. He's an absent-minded beggar, and he may forget it all, But we do not want his kiddies to remind him, That we sent 'em to the workhouse while their daddy hammered Paul, So we'll help the home our Tommy's left behind him!
Cook's home—Duke's home—home of a millionaire. (Fifty'thousand horse and foot going to Table Bay!) Each of 'em doing his country's work (and what have you got to spare?) Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay! pay! pay!
FOR THE EMPIRE.
BY F. HARALD WILLIAMS.
It is no more place and party, It is no more begging votes; But the roaring of steam-packets, And a rushing of bluejackets And a rally of redcoats; For the Empire's will is hearty, Thundered by united throats.
We are sick of talk and treason, There is duty to be done; By the veteran in danger, And the lad who is a stranger Unto strife and shrinks from none; In the power of right and reason, Now all classes are but one.
We have suffered and have yielded, Till we felt the burning shame; And long outrage and endurance Are our glory of assurance To begin the bloody game; By our honour are we shielded, In the might of England's name.
It is no more fume of faction, It is no more weary calls; We are strong in faith and steady, With the sword of Justice ready And our iron men and walls; Since the hour has struck for action, And red retribution falls.
We have wrongs, which for redressing Cry aloud to God at last; It is woe to him who trifles When we speak across our rifles At the great and final cast; And we seek no other blessing Than the blotting out the past.
We will brook no new denial, We will have no second tale; And we seek no sordid laurels, But here fight the ages' quarrels And for freedom's broadening pale— Lo, an Empire on its trial, Hangs within the awful scale.
BY F. HARALD WILLIAMS.
O for an hour of Cromwell's might Who raised an Empire out of dust, And lifted it to noontide light By simple and heroic trust; Whose word was like a swordsman's thrust, And clove its way through crowned night. We want old England's iron stock, Hewn of the same eternal rock.
Where is the man of equal part, To rule by right divine of power; With statesman's head and soldier's heart, And all the ages' dreadful dower Brought to a bright and perfect flower— From whom a nobler course may start? We hear but faction's fume and cry, With England in her agony.
Where is the master mind that reads The far-off issues of the day, And with a willing nation pleads That loves to own a master sway? Where are the landmarks on the way, Set up alone by him who leads? We vainly ask a common creed To make us one in England's need.
Is there no man with broader reach To fill a thorny throne of care, And bravely act and bravely teach Because in all he has a share? No helper who will do and dare, And stand a bulwark in the breach? Have we no lord of England's fate, Though coming from a cottage gate?
O surely somewhere is the hand To grasp and guide this reeling realm, While in the hour-glass sinks the sand And faints the pilot at the helm; If billows break to overwhelm, Yet he will conquer and command. England is waiting to be led, If through the dying and the dead.
We do not seek the party fame That trafficks in a people's fall, But one to shield our burning shame And answer just his country's call; To weld us in a solid wall, And kindle with a common flame. Ah, when she finds the fitting man, England will do what England can.
BY F. HARALD WILLIAMS.
They are not gone, the old Cromwellian breed, As witness conquered tides, And many a pasture sown with crimson seed— Our English Ironsides; And out on kopjes, where the bullets rain, They serve their Captain, slaying or are slain. The same grand spirit in the same grim stress Arms them with stubborn mail; They see the light of duty's loveliness And over death prevail. They never count the price or weigh the odds, The work is theirs, the victory is God's.
They are not fled, the old Cromwellian stock, Where stern the horseman rides, Or stands the outpost like a lonely rock— Our English Ironsides. Through drift and donga, up the fire-girt crag They bear the honour of the ancient flag. What if they starve, or on red pillows lie Beneath a burning sun? It is enough to live their day, or die Ere it has even begun; They only ask what duty's voice would crave, And march right on to glory or the grave.
THE THREE CHERRY-STONES.
Many years ago, three young gentlemen were lingering over their fruit and wine at a tavern, when a man of middle age entered the room, seated himself at a small unoccupied table, and calling the waiter, ordered a simple meal. His appearance was not such as to arrest attention. His hair was thin and grey; the expression of his countenance was sedate, with a slight touch, perhaps, of melancholy; and he wore a grey surtout with a standing collar, which manifestly had seen service, if the wearer had not.
The stranger continued his meal in silence, without lifting his eyes from the table, until a cherry-stone, sportively snapped from the thumb and finger of one of the gentlemen, struck him upon his right ear. His eye was instantly upon the aggressor, and his ready intelligence gathered from the ill-suppressed merriment of the party that this petty impertinence was intentional.
The stranger stooped, and picked up the cherry-stone, and a scarcely perceptible smile passed over his features as he carefully wrapped it in a piece of paper, and placed it in his pocket. This singular procedure upset the gravity of the young gentlemen entirely, and a burst of laughter proceeded from the group.
Unmoved by this rudeness, the stranger continued his frugal repast until another cherry-stone, from the same hand, struck him upon the right elbow. This also, to the infinite amusement of the party, he picked from the floor, and carefully deposited with the first.
Amidst shouts of laughter, a third cherry-stone was soon after discharged, and struck the stranger upon the left breast. This also he very deliberately deposited with the other two.
As he rose, and was engaged in paying for his repast, the gaiety of these sporting gentlemen became slightly subdued. Having discharged his reckoning, he walked to the table at which the young men were sitting, and with that air of dignified calmness which is a thousand times more terrible than wrath, drew a card from his pocket, and presented it with perfect civility to the offender, who could do no other than offer his in return. While the stranger unclosed his surtout, to take the card from his pocket, he displayed the undress coat of a military man. The card disclosed his rank, and a brief inquiry at the bar was sufficient for the rest. He was a captain whom ill-health and long service had entitled to half-pay. In earlier life he had been engaged in several affairs of honour, and, in the dialect of the fancy, was a dead shot.
The next morning a note arrived at the aggressor's residence, containing a challenge, in form, and one of the cherry-stones. The truth then flashed before the challenged party—it was the challenger's intention to make three bites at this cherry—three separate affairs out of this unwarrantable frolic! The challenge was accepted, and the challenged party, in deference to the challenger's reputed skill with the pistol, had half decided upon the small sword; but his friends, who were on the alert, soon discovered that the captain, who had risen by his merit, had, in the earlier days of his necessity, gained his bread as an accomplished instructor in the use of that weapon.
They met, and fired alternately, by lot—the young man had selected this mode, thinking he might win the first fire—he did—fired, and missed his opponent. The captain levelled his pistol and fired—the ball passed through the flap of the right ear; and, as the wounded man involuntarily put his hand to the place, he remembered that it was the right ear of his antagonist that the first cherry-stone had struck. Here ended the first lesson. A month passed. His friends cherished the hope that he would hear nothing more from the captain, when another note—a challenge, of course—and another cherry-stone arrived, with an apology, on the score of ill-health, for delay.
Again they met—fired simultaneously, and the captain, who was unhurt, shattered the right elbow of his antagonist—the very point upon which he had been struck with the second cherry-stone; and here ended the second lesson. There was something awfully impressive in the modus operandi and exquisite skill of his antagonist. The third cherry-stone was still in his possession, and the aggressor had not forgotten that it had struck the unoffending gentleman upon the left breast. A month passed—another—and another, of terrible suspense; but nothing was heard from the captain.
At length, the gentleman who had been his second in the former duels once more presented himself, and tendered another note, which, as the recipient perceived on taking it, contained the last of the cherry-stones. The note was superscribed in the captain's well-known hand, but it was the writing evidently of one who wrote feebly. There was an unusual solemnity also in the manner of him who delivered it. The seal was broken, and there was the cherry-stone in a blank envelope.
"And what, sir, am I to understand by this?" inquired the aggressor.
"You will understand, sir, that my friend forgives you—he is dead."
THE MIDSHIPMAN'S FUNERAL.
BY BARLEY DALE.
"Years ago, when I was quite a young man, I was appointed chaplain to H.M.S. Octopus, then on guard at Gibraltar. We had a very nice time of it, for 'Gib.' is a very gay place, and that winter there was plenty of fun somewhere nearly every night, and we were asked to most of the festivities. Now, on board the Octopus was a young midshipman, whom I will call Munro. He was a handsome young fellow, but rather delicate, and he had been sent to Gibraltar for the sake of the climate, in hopes that the sea-air and warm winter might set him up. He was the life of the ship, and wherever he went he was popular; and it is possible he might have outgrown his weakness, for I don't think there was any organic disease at this time, but he got a low fever, and died in a week. This low fever was very prevalent, and at the same time that poor young Munro died, an admiral, one of the leading members of society at 'Gib.,' died of the same disease. As it was considered infectious, the two bodies were placed in their coffins and carried to the mortuary till the funeral. Oddly enough, both funerals were fixed for the same day; Munro's in the morning, and the admiral's in the afternoon. The admiral's was to be a very grand affair, all the troops in the garrison were to follow, as well as the naval officers and sailors on board the guardships; the ceremony was to be performed by the bishop, assisted by some other clergy while as for poor Munro, I was to bury him at ten o'clock in the morning, six men were told off to carry the coffin, and it was left to those who liked to act as mourners.
"Well, the day of the funerals arrived, all the ships were decked with flags half-mast high in honour of the admiral, minute-guns were fired in honour of the admiral, church bells tolled in honour of the admiral, while as for poor Munro (one or two of us excepted), no one thought of him. Ten o'clock came, and I with the doctor and ore of Munro's comrades, another middy, and the six sailors, who, by the way, had all volunteered their services, set out for the mortuary; I had a fancy to follow the poor fellow as far as I could, so I waited while the jack tars went inside and fetched out the coffin covered with the union-jack, and Munro's hat and sword on the top, and then the little procession took its way across the neutral ground to the English cemetery. I followed the coffin, and the other two brought up the rear. The sentries did not salute us as we passed them. At last we reached the cemetery gates. Here I was obliged to relegate my post of chief mourner to the doctor, while I went into the chapel, put on my surplice, and went to the door to meet the body. I then proceeded to bury the poor boy, and when the union-jack was taken off and the coffin lowered into the grave, I leant over to take one last look; the doctor did the same, and as our eyes met the same emotion caused us both to blow our noses violently, and it was in a voice of suppressed emotion that I concluded the service.
"I was so disgusted with the way in which the poor boy had been slighted that I had not intended going to the admiral's funeral; but after burying Munro I felt more charitably disposed, so I got into my uniform and duly attended the admiral's obsequies.
"It was a very grand affair indeed; the streets were thronged with spectators, every window was filled with eager faces as the enormous procession passed by. There were five regiments stationed in Gibraltar at the time, and two men-of-war besides the Octopus lying in the harbour; detachments from every regiment were sent, three military bands followed, a battery of artillery, the marines and all the jack tars in the place, the governor and his staff were there, and every officer, who was not on the sick list, quartered in Gibraltar, was present. A firing party was told off to fire over the grave when all was over, and this brilliant procession was met at the cemetery-gates by the bishop, attended by several clergymen and a surpliced choir. I forgot to say that a string of carriages followed the troops, and the entire procession could not have been much less than a mile long.
"As we crossed the neutral ground this time, the sentry, with arms reversed, saluted us; and the strains of Beethoven's 'Funeral March of a Hero,' must have been heard all over Gibraltar as the three bands—one in front, one in the rear, and one in the centre—all pealed it forth.
"Of course, not one-third of the funeral cortege could get near the grave; but I managed to get pretty close. The service proceeded, and at length the coffin was uncovered to be lowered into the grave; it was smothered with flowers, but the wreaths were all carefully removed, and the admiral's cocked-hat and sword, and then the union-jack was off, and the bishop, the governor, and all the officers near the grave pressed forward to look at the coffin.
"They looked once, they started; they looked again, they frowned; they rubbed their eyes; they looked again, then they whispered; they sniffed, they snorted, they grumbled; they gave hurried orders to the sextons, who shovelled some earth on to the coffin, and the bishop hurriedly finished the service.
"What do you think they saw when they looked into the grave?
"Why, poor Munro's coffin! I buried the admiral myself in the morning, by mistake. The doctor and I found it out at the grave, but we kept our own counsel."—Young England.
BY F. HARALD WILLIAMS.
Flushed with fight and red with glory, Conquerors if backward flung, Fresh from triumphs grim and gory, Toward the goal the Army swung; Splendid, but with recent laurels Dimmed by shadow of defeat, Thirsting yet for nobler quarrels— Never dreaming of retreat.
Day by day they grimly struggled, Early on and on till late; Night by night with doom they juggled, Dodging Death and fighting Fate. Not a murmur once was spoken, Stern endurance still unspent, As with spirit all unbroken On the bitter march they went.
Still with weary steps that stumbled Forward moved that constant tread, Sleepless, silent, and unhumbled, On and on the army sped, Noble sons of noble mothers, Proud of home and kin and kith, Brothers to the aid of brothers, On and on to Ladysmith.
There, through smoke of onset rifted, Soldiers who disdained to yield Had for weal or woe uplifted England's own broad battle-shield. Right across the path of pillage Was that iron rampart thrust, While beneath it town and village Safely hid in settled trust.
Frail and open seemed that shelter And unguarded to the foes, Helpless, as the fiery welter Rocked it in volcanic throes; But there was defence to bind it With the force of Destiny, And an Empire stood behind it Armed in awful majesty.
And no fortress ever moulded Girt securer chosen space, Than those unseen walls which folded In their fear that lonely place. On its Outposts far the scourges Fell with wrath and crimson rain, But the fierce assaulting surges Beat and beat in thunder vain.
There they kept the old flag flying Day by day and prayed relief, Weary, wounded, doomed, and dying— Gallant men and noble chief By the leaden tempest stricken, Grandly stood or grandly fell— Peril had but power to quicken Faith that owned such holy spell.
Not alone the foe without them Menaced them with fire and shot, Sickness creeping round about them, Fever, dysentery, and rot, Struck the rider and the stallion, Making merry as at feast On the pick of each battalion— Ruthless, smiting man and beast.
None were spared and nothing holy, For the fever claimed the best, Now the high and now the lowly, Now the baby at the breast, All obeyed its mandate, drooping In the fulness of their power, Old and young before it stooping, Bud and blossom, fruit and flower.
Hunger blanched their dauntless faces, Furrowed with the lines of lack, But with stern and stubborn paces Still they drove the spoiler back. Round them drew the iron tether Tighter, but they kept their troth, All for England's sake together— Soldier and civilian both.
Death and ruin knock and enter, Hearts may break and homesteads burn, Yet from that lone faithful centre Flashed red vengeance in return; Guardian guns thence hurled defiance From the brave who lightly took All their blows in brave reliance, Which no tempest ever shook.
Hand to hand they strove and wrestled Stoutly for that pearl of pride, Where mid flame and woe it nestled Down with danger at its side. Yet like boys released from class time, Though the blast destroying blew, There they played and found a pastime While the Flag unconquered flew.
Then, when all seemed lost but glory With the lustre which it gave, And Relief an idle story Murmured by a sealed grave; While with pallid lips they reckoned Darkly the enduring days Famished, lo! Deliverance beckoned Surely after long delays.
Wave on wave of martial beauty, Dashed upon those deadly rocks At the simple call of duty, And were broken by the shocks. Yet that chivalry of splendour, Though baptized in blood and fire, Had no thought of mean surrender Never breathed the word retire.
Still they weighed the dreadful chances, Still they gathered up their strength, By invincible advances Steeled to win the prize at length. Fate-like their resolve to sever Those gaunt bonds of grim despair, And within the breach for ever England's honour to repair.
Came relief at last, endeavour, Stern, magnificent, and true, Hoping on and fighting ever, Forced its gory passage through. All the rage of pent-up forces, All the passion seeking vent Out of vast and solemn sources, Here renewed their sacrament;
In the rapture of a greeting For which thousands fought and bled, With the saved and saviours meeting Over our Imperial dead. Witnesses unseen but tested Lived again as grander men, And their awful shadow rested With a benediction then;
One who with his wondrous talent Conquered more than even the sword, And among the gay and gallant By his pen was crowned lord. There they lie in silence lowly Which no battle now can wake, And the ground is ever holy For our English heroes' sake.
THE SIX-INCH GUN.
(From the Christmas number of the Bombshell, published in Ladysmith during the siege.)
There is a famous hill looks down, Five miles away, on Ladysmith town, With a long flat ridge that meets the sky Almost a thousand feet on high. And on the ridge there is mounted one Long-range, terrible six-inch gun.
And down in the street a bugle is blown, When the cloud of smoke on the sky is thrown, For it's sixty seconds before the roar Reverberates o'er, and a second more Till the shell comes down with a whiz and stun From that long-range, terrible six-inch gun.
And men and women walk up and down The long, hot streets of Ladysmith town, And the housewives walk in the usual round, And the children play till the warning sound— Then into their holes they scurry and run From the whistling shell of the six-inch gun.
For the shells they weigh a hundred pound, Bursting wherever they strike the ground, While the strong concussion shakes the air And shatters the window-panes everywhere. And we may laugh, but there's little of fun In the bursting shell from a six-inch gun.
Oh! 'twas whistle and jest with the carbineers gay As they cleaned their steeds at break of day, But like a thunderclap there fell In the midst of the horses and men a shell, And the sight we saw was a fearful one After that shell from the six-inch gun.
Though the foe may beset us on every side, We'll furnish some cheer in this Christmastide; We will laugh and be gay, but a tear will be shed And a thought be given to the gallant dead, Cut off in the midst of their life and fun By the long-range, terrible six-inch gun.
ST. PATRICK'S DAY.
BY F. HARALD WILLIAMS.
Here's to the Isle of the Shamrock, Here's a good English hurrah, Luck to the Kelt upon kopje or veldt, Erin Mavourneen gobragh. The shamrock, the rose, and the thistle, The shamrock, the rose, and the leek, One where the bayonets bristle, One when there's duty to seek. Each has a need of each other, Linked on the shore and the wave, All for the sake of one Mother— Honour the Brave.
Here's to the boys of the Shamrock, Here's to the gallant and gay, Bearing the flag upon donga or crag, Blithely as children at play. The shamrock, the leek, and the thistle, The shamrock, the leek, and the rose, One though the bullets may whistle, One in a red grave's repose. Each has a need of his fellows, Sharing the glory or grave, Each the same destiny mellows— Honour the Brave.
Here's to the girls of the shamrock, Here's to the glamour and grace, Laughing on all, in hovel and hall, Ever from Erin's young face! The shamrock, the rose, and the thistle, The shamrock, the rose, and the leek, One in the face of a missile, One when the batteries speak. Each of himself is delighted To succour the serf or the slave, And who can deny them united?— Honour the Brave.
Here's to the wit of the Shamrock, Here's to the favoured and free, Giving us store of that magical lore Learnt but at Nature's own knee! The shamrock, the leek, and the thistle, The shamrock, the leek, and the rose, One when fame writes her epistle, One where dread dangers enclose. Each for the others asks only, Ever to succour and save, Each without all must be lonely— Honour the Brave.
Here's to the day of the Shamrock, Here's to the emblem of youth; Wear it we will on our bosoms and still Deeper in heart and in truth! The shamrock, the rose, and the thistle, The shamrock, the rose, and the leek, One where grim batteries bristle, One when there's pleasure to seek. Each on each other relying, Trusts, nor for better would rave, Each for all, living and dying— Honour the Brave.
Here's to the reign of the shamrock, Here's to the welfare of all, Bearing its light through the feast and the fight, Ever at liberty's call. The shamrock, the leek, and the thistle, The shamrock, the leek, and the rose, One where the death-arrows whistle, One where hilarity flows. Each from the bog or the heather Gives all a brother may crave, Ploughland and city together— Honour the Brave.
THE HERO OF OMDURMAN.
MAJOR-GENERAL H.A. MACDONALD, C.B., D.S.O. [Told in the Ranks.]
BY F. HARALD WILLIAMS.
There were lots of lies and tattle In dispatches and on wire, But 'twas Mac who saved the battle When the word came to retire. "I'll no do it"—he cried, ready For what peril lay in store, With his ranks like steel and steady— "And I'll see them hanged before! O, we maun jist fight!" And bolder Slewed his front the Dervish way, Smart with shoulder knit to shoulder, White and black that bloody day.
Then a hell of fire, and sputtered Iron blast and leaden hail, While the Maxims stormed and stuttered And our rifles did not fail. For the destiny of nations With an agony intense, And our Empire's own foundations Hung a minute in suspense. But old Mac was cool as ever, And his words like leaping flame Flashed in confident endeavour To avert that evil shame.
Swung his lines on hinges, rolling Right and left like very doom, Till our fate nigh past controlling Brake in glory out of gloom. While upon those awful stages Throbbed a world's great piston beat, And the moments seemed as ages Rung from death and red defeat. Ah, we lived, indeed, and no man Recked of wound or any ill, As we grimly faced the foeman— If we died, to conquer still.
And it felt as though the burden Of all England gave us might, Laid on each, who asked no guerdon But against those odds to fight. Let the lucky get high stations And the honour which he won, Mac desires no decorations But the gallant service done. For the rankers bear the losses And the brunt of every toil, While they earn for others "crosses" And the splendour and the spoil.
BOOT AND SADDLE.
BY F. HARALD WILLIAMS.
A TRUE INCIDENT IN THE MATABELE CAMPAIGN (1893).
Mashangombi's was the rat-hole, Which we had to draw ere day, Heedless whether this or that hole— If we only found a way; Up among the iron furrows Of the rocks, where hid in burrows Safe the rats in shelter lay. No misgiving, not a fear— Nor was I the last astraddle Nor the hindmost in the rear When the bugle sounded clear— "Boot and saddle!"
Right away went men and horses, Both as eager for the fun; Through the drifts and dried-up courses, Where like mad the waters run After storms or through the winters, Mashing all they meet to splinters— Ready, hand and sword and gun. Every eye was keen to mark, And the tongue alone seemed idle Every ear alert to hark As we scanned each crevice dark— Bit and bridle!
Here and there the startled chirrup Of strange creatures, as we go, Standing sometimes in the stirrup, Just to get a bigger show; Till we gain our point, the entry— There the pass, no sign of sentry, Not a sound above, below! Clear the coast, the savage gave Never hint to south or norward; Was he napping in his cave, With that quiet like the grave?— Steady, forward!
Further in; the rats were sleeping; We would grimly smoke them out, With a dose of lead for keeping And a fence of flame about; They might wake perhaps from shelter, At our bullets' ghastly pelter, To the brief and bloody rout!— But, next moment, we were wrapt Down to saddle girth and leather In the fire of foes unmapt; We were turned, and fairly trapt— "Keep together!"
On they poured in thousands, hurling Steel that stabbed and belching ball From a host of rifles, curling Serpent-wise around us all. Front and flank and rear, they tumbled Nearer, darker, as we fumbled— Till we heard the Captain's call, "Each man for himself, and back!" So we rushed those rocky mazes, With that torrent grim and black Dealing ruin in our track— Death and blazes!
Ah, that bullet! How it shattered Vein and tissue to the bone; Dropt me faint and blood-bespattered, Helpless on a bed of stone! While the mare which oft had eaten From my hand, caressed, unbeaten, Left her master doomed, alone. Limply then I lay in dread, Racked with torture, sick and under— Hearing, as through vapours red And with reeling heart and head, Hoofs of thunder!
Was I dreaming? By the boulder Where I huddled as I fell, Stood the steed beside my shoulder Faithful, fain to serve me well. Whinnying softly, then, to screen me From the foe, she knelt between me And that circling human hell. Tenderly she touched my face With the nose that knew my petting, Ripe for the last glorious race And her comrade's own embrace— Unforgetting!
O her haunches heaved and quivered With the passion freely brought For the life to be delivered, Though she first with demons fought; While her large eyes gleamed and glistened And her ears down-pointing listened, Waiting for the answer sought. Till a sudden wave of might Set me once again astraddle On the seat of saving flight, Plucked from very jaws of night— Boot and saddle!
THE MIDNIGHT CHARGE.
BY CLEMENT SCOTT.
Pass the word to the boys to-night!—lying about midst dying and dead!— Whisper it low; make ready to fight! stand like men at your horses' head! Look to your stirrups and swords, my lads, and into your saddles your pistols thrust; Then setting your teeth as your fathers did, you'll make the enemy bite the dust! What did they call us, boys, at home?—"Feather-bed soldiers!"— faith, it's true! "Kept to be seen in her Majesty's parks, and mightily smart at a grand review!" Feather-bed soldiers? Hang their chaff! Where in the world, I should like to know, When a war broke out and the country called, was an English soldier sorry to go? Brothers in arms and brothers in heart! cavalry! infantry! there and then; No matter what careless lives they lived, they were ready to die like Englishmen! So pass the word! in the sultry night, Stand to your saddles! make ready to fight!
We are sick to death of the scorching sun, and the desert stretching for miles away; We are all of us longing to get at the foe, and sweep the sand with our swords to-day! Our horses look with piteous eyes—they have little to eat, and nothing to do; And the land around is horribly white, and the sky above is terribly blue. But it's over now, so the Colonel says: he is ready to start, we are ready to go: And the cavalry boys will be led by men—Ewart! and Russell! and Drury-Lowe! Just once again let me stroke the mane—let me kiss the neck and feel the breath Of the good little horse who will carry me on to the end of the battle—to life or death! "Give us a grip of your fist, old man!" let us all keep close when the charge begins! God is watching o'er those at home! God have mercy on all our sins! So pass the word in the dark, and then, When the bugle sounds, let us mount like men!
Out we went in the dead of the night! away to the desert, across the sand— Guided alone by the stars of Heaven! a speechless host! a ghostly band! No cheery voice the silence broke; forbidden to speak, we could hear no sound But the whispered words, "Be firm, my boys!" and the horses' hoofs on the sandy ground. "What were we thinking of then?" Look here! if this is the last true word I speak, I felt a lump in my throat—just here—and a tear came trickling down my cheek. If a man dares say that I funked, he lies! But a man is a man though he gives his life For his country's, cause, as a soldier should—he has still got a heart for his child and wife! But I still rode on in a kind of dream; I was thinking of home and the boys—and then The silence broke! and, a bugle blew! then a voice rang cheerily, "Charge, my men!" So pass the word in the thick of the fight, For England's honour and England's right!
What is it like, a cavalry charge in the dead of night? I can scarcely tell, For when it is over it's like a dream, and when you are in it a kind of hell! I should like you to see the officers lead—forgetting their swagger and Bond Street air— Like brothers and men at the head of the troop, while bugles echo and troopers dare! With a rush we are in it, and hard at work—there's scarcely a minute to think or pause— For right and left we are fighting hard for the regiment's honour and country's cause! Feather-bed warriors! On my life, be they Life Guards red or Horse Guards blue, They haven't lost much of the pluck, my boys, that their fathers showed us at Waterloo! It isn't for us, who are soldiers bred, to chatter of wars, be they wrong or right; We've to keep the oath that we gave our QUEEN! and when we are in it—we've got to fight! So pass the word, without any noise, Bravo, Cavalry! Well done, boys!
Pass the word to the boys to-night, now that the battle is fairly won. A message has come from the EMPRESS-QUEEN—just what we wanted— a brief "Well done!" The sword and stirrup are sorely stained, and the pistol barrels are empty quite, And the poor old charger's piteous eyes bear evidence clear of the desperate fight. There's many a wound and many a gash, and the sun-burned face is scarred and red; There's many a trooper safe and sound, and many a tear for the "pal" who's dead! I care so little for rights and wrongs of a terrible war; but the world at large— It knows so well when duty's done!—it will think sometimes of our cavalry charge! Brothers in arms and brothers in heart! we have solemnly taken an oath! and then, In all the battles throughout the world, we have followed our fathers like Englishmen! So pass this blessing the lips between— 'Tis the soldier's oath—GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.
BY REV. A. FREWEN AYLWARD.
At the evening roll call at the "Charterhouse" School, where Baden-Powell was educated, it is customary for the boys to respond to the call of their names by saying "Adsum—I'm here!"
Oft as the shades of evening fell, In the school-boy days of old,— The form work done, or the game played well,— Clanging aloft the old school bell Uttered its summons bold; And a bright lad answered the roll call clear, "Adsum,—I'm here!"
A foe-girt town and a captain true Out on the Afric plain;— High overhead his Queen's flag flew, But foes were many and friends but few; Who shall guard that flag from stain? And calm 'mid confusion a voice rang clear, "Adsum,—I'm here!"
The slow weeks passed, and no succour came, Famine and death were rife; Yet still that banner of deathless fame, Floated, unsullied by fear or shame, Over the scene of strife; And the voice,—though weaker—was full of cheer, "Adsum,—I'm here!"
Heaven send, that when many a heart's dismayed, In dark days yet in store,— Should foemen gather; or, faith betrayed, The country call for a strong man's aid As she never called before,— A voice like his may make answer clear, Banishing panic, and calming fear, "Adsum,—I'm here!"
THE FIGHT AT RORKE'S DRIFT
(January 23, 1879.)
BY EMILY PFEIFFER.
It was over at Isandula, the bloody work was done, And the yet unburied dead looked up unblinking at the sun; Eight hundred men of Britain's best had signed with blood the story Which England leaves to time, and lay there scanted e'en of glory.
Stewart Smith lay smiling by the gun he spiked before he died; But gallant Gardner lived to write a warning and to ride A race for England's honour and to cross the Buffalo, To bid them at Rorke's Drift expect the coming of the foe.
That band of lusty British lads camped in the hostile land Rose up upon the word with Chard and Bromhead to command; An hour upon the foe that hardy race had barely won, But in it all that men could do those British lads had done.
And when the Zulus on the hill appeared, a dusky host, They found our gallant English boys' 'pale faces' at their post; But paler faces were behind, within the barricade— The faces of the sick who rose to give their watchers aid.
Five men to one the first dark wave of battle brought, it bore Down swiftly, while our youngsters waited steadfast as the shore; Behind the slender barricade, half-hidden, on their knees, They marked the stealthy current glide beneath the orchard trees.
Then forth the volley blazed, then rose the deadly reek of war; The dusky ranks were thinned; the chieftain slain by young Dunbar, Rolled headlong and their phalanx broke, but formed as soon as broke, And with a yell the furies that avenge man's blood awoke.
The swarthy wave sped on and on, pressed forward by the tide, Which rose above the bleak hill-top, and swept the bleak hill-side; It rose upon the hill, and, surging out about its base, Closed house and barricade within its murderous embrace.
With savage faces girt, the lads' frail fortress seemed to be An island all abloom within a black and howling sea; And only that the savages shot wide, and held the noise As deadly as the bullets, they had overwhelmed the boys.
Then in the dusk of day the dusky Kaffirs crept about The bushes and the prairie-grass, to rise up with a shout, To step as in a war-dance, all together, and to fling Their weight against the sick-house till they made its timbers spring.
When beaten back, they struck their shields, and thought to strike with fear Those British hearts,—their answer came, a ringing British cheer! And the volley we sent after showed the Kaffirs to their cost The coolness of our temper,—scarce an ounce of shot was lost.
And the sick men from their vantage at the windows singled out From among the valiant savages the bravest of the rout; A pile of fourteen warriors lay dead upon the ground By the hand of Joseph Williams, and there led up to the mound
A path of Zulu bodies on the Welshman's line of fire Ere he perished, dragged out, assegaied, and trampled in their ire; But the body takes its honour or dishonour from the soul, And his name is writ in fire upon our nation's long bead-roll.
Yet, let no name of any man be set above the rest, Where all were braver than the brave, each better than the best, Where the sick rose up as heroes, and the sound had hearts for those Who, in madness of their fever, were contending as with foes.
For the hospital was blazing, roof and wall, and in its light The Kaffirs showed like devils, till so deadly grew the fight That they cowered into cover, and one moment all was still, When a Kaffir chieftain bellowed forth new orders from the hill.
Then the Zulu warriors rallied, formed again, and hand to hand We fought above the barricade; determined was the stand; Our fellows backed each other up,—no wavering and no haste, But loading in the Kaffirs' teeth, and not a shot to waste.
We had held on through the dusk, and we had held on in the light Of the burning house; and later, in the dimness of the night, They could see our fairer faces; we could find them by their cries, By the flash of savage weapons and the glare of savage eyes.
With the midnight came a change—that angry sea at length was cowed, Its waves still broke upon us, but fell fainter and less loud; When the 'pale face' of the dawn rose glimmering from his bed The last black sullen wave swept off and bore away the dead.
That island all abloom with English youth, and fortified With English valour, stood above the wild, retreating tide; Those lads contemned Canute, and shamed the lesson that he read,— For them the hungry waves withdrew, the howling ocean fled.
Britannia, rule, Britannia! while thy sons resemble thee, And are islanders, true islanders, wherever they may be; Island fortified like this, manned with islanders like these, Will keep thee Lady of thy Land, and Sovereign of all Seas!
Said he of the relieving force, As through the town he sped, "Art thou in Baden-Powell's Horse?" The trooper shook his head, Then drew his hand his mouth across, Like one who's lately fed. "Alas! for Baden-Powell's horse— It's now in me," he said.—Daily Express.
HOW SAM HODGE WON THE VICTORIA CROSS.
BY WILLIAM JEFFREY PROWSE.
Just a simple little story I've a fancy for inditing; It shows the funny quarters in which chivalry may lodge, A story about Africa, and Englishmen, and fighting, And an unromantic hero by the name of Samuel Hodge.