Cicely Fox Smith
The Gordons At Dargai - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
Gallant Gordons! Evermore on your rugged native shore
Shall your valour honoured be,
For a fight well fought and won 'neath the burning Indian sun
Far away across the sea.
All the days of long ago no more glorious deed can show
Than the deed your arms have done.
When your children's sons are old, still the story shall be told
How the Dargai heights were won!
On a fair October day they made ready for the fray,
And their leader spake them brave:
'Ours to take the heights or die - onward now to victory
Or to find a soldier's grave!'
At the word the gallant band, foot to foot and sword in hand,
Cheering, broke into a run.
Every heart aflame with hope, dashed they onward up the slope
To the heights that must be won!
Hiss'd the bullets then like hail; but not theirs to shrink and quail,
Struggling onward up the hill ;
While the pibroch shrilling high drown'd the foeman's battle-cry,
And the shouts of 'Strike and kill!'
What tho' half their number fell? What cared they for shot and shell,
So their duty once was done -
So they earned a brighter fame for the Gordons' honoured name
And the distant heights were won?
As a wave upon the shore breaks the waveworn boulders o'er
Rushed our redcoats on the foe,
And they battled hand to hand, Khyber knife and Highland brand,
Battled, raining blow on blow,
Till the dark ranks, feebler grown, slowly, slowly, backwards thrown,
Saw the deadly fight was done,
Hung a moment on the verge, as the foam crest on the surge,
Faltered, and the heights were won!
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