George Gordon McCrae

(9 May 1833 – 15 August 1927 / Leith, Scotland)

L'envoi from Balladeadro


See where the allied armies camped,
Where plumed and painted dancers tramped--
'Tis still the same, the same wild scene,
As though the ploughshare ne'er had been.
Grey Tomboritha still the skies
With bold and massy front defies;
And gorge, and chasm, and long-ledged rocks
Echo the ever-thundering shocks
Of waters dashed with headlong force,
Wild cataracts leaping on their course.
In dark Maroka's vale the stream
Reflects the slanting solar beam;
There the proud lyre-bird* spreads his tail,
And mocks the notes of hill and dale--
Whether the wild dog's plaintive howl
Or cry of piping waterfowl,
Or the shrill parrot's answering scream,
As, gem-like, dangling o'er the stream
He hears, re-echoed from the rock
The whirlwind whistle of the flock.
Alas! and what a change is there!
And yet the landscape still is fair.
There smiled the woodland by the rill:
'Tis gone--the waters turn a mill.
There the Mirbango village lay:
Mirbango maidens, where? O say,
Where the tall braves, whose warrior songs
Once wooed the dark-eyed Darakongs.
Yon sheltered hollow, 'neath the steep,
Now dotted o'er with browsing sheep,
Holds the last graves the dark man owns--
The treasure of his father's bones.
All else, alas! has passed, is o'er;
Time's wing has swept hill, vale, and shore;
All, hence to farthest northern strand,
Obeys the white, "the blood-stained hand;"
And grey-beards by the fire at night,
Warm, basking in its ruddy light,
The young, in solemn tones, advise
To shun all stranger-women's eyes.
"Our fathers," quoth they, "as we trace,
Thus lost a country--doomed a race."

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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