Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Stand Of Wilson's Patrol - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Beside the Shanghai river,
Alone with the Veldt and sky,
The heroes of Wilson's patrol
By the shrines of the heathen lie,
The sons of a strong young nation
By the halls of a creed gone by.

Slowly the foes drew round them,
And those who might have fled
Preferred to stand by their fellows
And die at their posts instead,
To be numbered for ever and ever
With England's glorious dead.

The day dragged slowly onward,
As dwindled their little store,
Till spent was the last of the powder
And the sound of the fight gave o'er,
Till the rifles ceased their clamour,
And the guns spoke out no more.

But ere the band lay silent
By the silent Maxims there,
The hymn of a loyal nation
Rose up on the startled air,
Telling the wondering foemen
How the 'palefaced' English dare.

The anthem of loyal England
Ne'er rang more true and high
Than there 'mid the dead and dying,
Under an alien sky,
When the sun and the flowing river
Saw Wilson's patrol die.

Beside the Shanghai river
The Briton thinks with pride
How the men of Wilson's patrol
Fell fighting side by side,
With the name of the queen they fought for
In the lips of the last that died.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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