Thomas Pringle

(5 January 1789 – 5 December 1834 / Blaiklaw)

Makanna's Gathering


Wake! Amakósa, wake!
And arm yourselves for war.
As coming winds the forest shake,
I hear a sound from far:
It is not thunder in the sky,
Nor lion's roar upon the hill,
But the voice of HIM who sits on high,
And bids me speak his will!

He bids me call you forth,
Bold sons of Káhabee,
To sweep the White Men from the earth,
And drive them to the sea:
The sea, which heaved them up at first,
For Amakósa's curse and bane,
Howls for the progeny she nurst,
To swallow them again.

Hark! 'tis UHLANGA'S voice
From Debè's mountain caves!
He calls you now to make your choice --
To conquer or be slaves:
To meet proud Amanglézi's guns,
And fight like warriors nobly born:
Or, like Umláo's feeble sons,
Become the freeman's scorn.

Then come, ye Chieftains bold,
With war-plumes waving high;
Come, every warrior young and old,
With club and assagai.
Remember how the spoiler's host
Did through our land like locusts range!
Your herds, your wives, your comrades lost --
Remember -- and revenge!

Fling your broad shields away --
Bootless against such foes;
But hand to hand we'll fight to-day,
And with their bayonets close.
Grasp each man short his stabbing spear --
And, when to battle's edge we come,
Rush on their ranks in full career,
And to their hearts strike home!

Wake! Amakósa, wake!
And muster for the war:
The wizard-wolves from Keisi's brake,
The vultures from afar,
Are gathering at UHLANGA'S call,
And follow fast our westward way --
For well they know, ere evening-fall,
They shall have glorious prey!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Tanny Quin (7/1/2008 1:09:00 PM)

    You really have a gift for writing with rythm but I'd really have to study more
    to fully understand the meaning of this poem. Thank you Phebe (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

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