Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Mafeking (May 16th, 1900) - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Flag that has flown o'er a thousand fields victorious,
Flag that art first on the land and the seas,
When hast thou known of a victory more glorious?
Old the country is that bore them; but the men that went before them,
All the gallant, great and good, on sea or land,
Fighting-men, whose names are written on the glory-roll of Britain,
They shall joy to grip their kinsmen by the hand.

There's a little lovely town that the rolling plains environ,
And it bears no name of glory, and England's far away,
And a stranger sky looks down on its straggling roofs of iron:
It will tell a tale of fame to an English heart for aye.
For the fights that have been fought there, and the work that has been wrought there,
Shall we in world-wide England e'er forget?
Seven month they held it fearless, tho' the days were dark and cheerless,
And the flag of England's flying o'er them yet.

Men who have fought with a courage uncomplaining,
Men who have laughed at the bitterness of death,
Men who have smiled when the star of hope seemed waning,
Know ye the joy that your triumph wakeneth?
When shall England know again braver leader, braver men,
Staunch to save her, staunch to serve thro' good and ill?
Long your struggle was and splendid, -
God be thanked that it is ended,
And the flag of England flying o'er you still.

Men who are dead 'neath the ground you died in keeping,
Men who are gone from the glory and the pain,
Will the thunder of our cheers reach your ears where you are sleeping?
Will you not rejoice that you perished not in vain?
When the guns no more are speaking, or the shells above you shrieking,
And o'er your graves the shouting throng goes by,
For a moment will you waken and rejoice that unforsaken
Is the cause for which you deemed it good to die?

By the flag they have battled for so long,
By the fame they have suffered so to save,
Honour be and praise to the gallant and the strong,
Honour to the bravest of the brave!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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