Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

(1834-1894 / England)

Gordon - Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

Gordon, England's Red-cross Knight,
With many a dragon born to fight!
Great Gordon, waving a mere wand,
Rouses warriors who despond!
With genial beam of his grey eye
Summons men to victory;
Creates an army out of nought,
Unconquerables from hearts distraught:
His character, and equal laws
Enthrone secure the better cause.
And now alone o'er desert sands
He rides to Ethiopian lands,
Where his mere presence is a spell
For yon dark race that loves him well,
Where righteous, simple, true, and brave,
Long he toiled to free the slave,
Tender as a woman, strong
As a man to punish wrong;
Human lover, trampling self,
Scorning fame, and power, and pelf.
Who, bursting on the boy of blood,
Walled in with his man-murdering brood,
A dark armed threatening multitude,
Slight, travel-marred, almost alone,
But leaning on the mighty One,
Dominated the fell clan
With a power of Promethean,
Power of greatest over least,
Of human tamer over beast.
Arrived, he welds to one strong blade,
Men disunited and dismayed;
Burns the rods of tyranny,
Breaks fetters from captivity;
At his well-loved name they gather,
Hail him Lord, and Saviour, Father,
Proclaiming equal law for all,
He bends to lift the weak who fall;
That large heart holds the dark young slave,
And our white waifs beyond the wave,
Whom he, delivering, with love
Follows wheresoe'er they rove.
At sunrise how alert and eager,
Where the dusky swarms beleaguer,
Behold him from the palace roof -
Morn-flushed wave, and waste aloof -
Serene, yet anxious, watching Nile,
Where he winds for many a mile,
Surveying grim besieging host,
His rabble armed, and guarded post,
Waiting till the redcoats come,
To save his people in Khartoum!
Confronting cataracts, sands, rocks,
Thronged foes' indomitable shocks,
How they stem the adverse tide,
All British discipline, pluck, pride,
Panting to be at his side!
While England longs to rend the curtain,
That shrouds her hero's fate uncertain.
Too late! the man deserted, fell,
Whom only treachery might quell!
Gordon, England's Red-cross Knight,
With many a dragon born to fight!


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010



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