Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Die-Hards: Albuera - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Close-locked in fight, - beat by battle's raging passion,
A stern wall of steel on a hillside drenched with rain,
They held the height in the grim old English fashion,
And where was the man that should lose their hold again?
There was shot running short, and half were down and dying,
And the line raked and rent by shell and shard,
But clear rang a voice thro' the clash of combat crying:
'Stand firm, Fifty-seventh, die hard!'

Did e'er a sign or a thought of fear come o'er them?
Was there a word or murmur of retreat,
Tho' the foe pressed them hard, and the day was dark before them,
And the grape tore their ranks, and the bullets showered like sleet?
Stern set for death, thro' the clamour heard they dimly,
Staunch as steel on the ground they stood to guard,
Brave was the call, - and they answered to it grimly, -
'Stand firm, Fifty-seventh, die hard!'

A fierce chain of steel, and a rank that wavered never,
Holding the hill in the tumult and the rain,
True to the call that shall be a word for ever,
Firm to the last, 'mid the hundreds of slain, -
Dead in their ranks, where they fought and won their glory, -
Lying face to the foe, - nobly scarred;
Telling the world with their silent stirring story,
How the brave Fifty-seventh died hard.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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