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 Poems Of The Zulu War

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1879graves

1879graves


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PostSubject: Poems Of The Zulu War   Poems Of The Zulu War EmptySun Mar 14, 2010 12:39 pm

After reading John's post on "Poem written to the fallen a t Isandlwana", I have came across Poems but not the one John wants.

THE FIGHT AT RORKE'S DRIFT

(January 23, 1879.)

BY EMILY PFEIFFER.


It was over at Isandula, the bloody work was done,
And the yet unburied dead looked up unblinking at the sun;
Eight hundred men of Britain's best had signed with blood the story
Which England leaves to time, and lay there scanted e'en of glory.

Stewart Smith lay smiling by the gun he spiked before he died;
But gallant Gardner lived to write a warning and to ride
A race for England's honour and to cross the Buffalo,
To bid them at Rorke's Drift expect the coming of the foe.

That band of lusty British lads camped in the hostile land
Rose up upon the word with Chard and Bromhead to command;
An hour upon the foe that hardy race had barely won,
But in it all that men could do those British lads had done.

And when the Zulus on the hill appeared, a dusky host,
They found our gallant English boys' 'pale faces' at their post;
But paler faces were behind, within the barricade--
The faces of the sick who rose to give their watchers aid.

Five men to one the first dark wave of battle brought, it bore
Down swiftly, while our youngsters waited steadfast as the shore;
Behind the slender barricade, half-hidden, on their knees,
They marked the stealthy current glide beneath the orchard trees.

Then forth the volley blazed, then rose the deadly reek of war;
The dusky ranks were thinned; the chieftain slain by young Dunbar,
Rolled headlong and their phalanx broke, but formed as soon as broke,
And with a yell the furies that avenge man's blood awoke.

The swarthy wave sped on and on, pressed forward by the tide,
Which rose above the bleak hill-top, and swept the bleak hill-side;
It rose upon the hill, and, surging out about its base,
Closed house and barricade within its murderous embrace.

With savage faces girt, the lads' frail fortress seemed to be
An island all abloom within a black and howling sea;
And only that the savages shot wide, and held the noise
As deadly as the bullets, they had overwhelmed the boys.

Then in the dusk of day the dusky Kaffirs crept about
The bushes and the prairie-grass, to rise up with a shout,
To step as in a war-dance, all together, and to fling
Their weight against the sick-house till they made its timbers spring.

When beaten back, they struck their shields, and thought to strike
with fear
Those British hearts,--their answer came, a ringing British cheer!
And the volley we sent after showed the Kaffirs to their cost
The coolness of our temper,--scarce an ounce of shot was lost.

And the sick men from their vantage at the windows singled out
From among the valiant savages the bravest of the rout;
A pile of fourteen warriors lay dead upon the ground
By the hand of Joseph Williams, and there led up to the mound

A path of Zulu bodies on the Welshman's line of fire
Ere he perished, dragged out, assegaied, and trampled in their ire;
But the body takes its honour or dishonour from the soul,
And his name is writ in fire upon our nation's long bead-roll.

Yet, let no name of any man be set above the rest,
Where all were braver than the brave, each better than the best,
Where the sick rose up as heroes, and the sound had hearts for those
Who, in madness of their fever, were contending as with foes.

For the hospital was blazing, roof and wall, and in its light
The Kaffirs showed like devils, till so deadly grew the fight
That they cowered into cover, and one moment all was still,
When a Kaffir chieftain bellowed forth new orders from the hill.

Then the Zulu warriors rallied, formed again, and hand to hand
We fought above the barricade; determined was the stand;
Our fellows backed each other up,--no wavering and no haste,
But loading in the Kaffirs' teeth, and not a shot to waste.

We had held on through the dusk, and we had held on in the light
Of the burning house; and later, in the dimness of the night,
They could see our fairer faces; we could find them by their cries,
By the flash of savage weapons and the glare of savage eyes.

With the midnight came a change--that angry sea at length was cowed,
Its waves still broke upon us, but fell fainter and less loud;
When the 'pale face' of the dawn rose glimmering from his bed
The last black sullen wave swept off and bore away the dead.

That island all abloom with English youth, and fortified
With English valour, stood above the wild, retreating tide;
Those lads contemned Canute, and shamed the lesson that he read,--
For them the hungry waves withdrew, the howling ocean fled.

Britannia, rule, Britannia! while thy sons resemble thee,
And are islanders, true islanders, wherever they may be;
Island fortified like this, manned with islanders like these,
Will keep thee Lady of thy Land, and Sovereign of all Seas!
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Poems Of The Zulu War   Poems Of The Zulu War EmptySun Mar 14, 2010 12:40 pm

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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Poems Of The Zulu War   Poems Of The Zulu War EmptySun Mar 14, 2010 12:46 pm

THE LOST COLOURS.

Who said we had lost the Colours?
Who carried the tale away.
And whispered it low in England,
With the deeds of that awful day?
The story was washed, they tell us,
Freed from a touch of shame--
Washed in the blood of those who died.
Told in their sacred name.

But they said we had lost the Colours,
And the Colours were safe, you see;
While the story was told in England,
Over the restless sea.
They had not the heart to blame us.
When they knew what the day had cost;
But we felt the shame of the silence laid
On the Colours they thought were lost.

And now to its farthest limit
They will listen and hear our cry;
How could the Colours be lost, I say,
While one was left to die?
Safe on the heart of a soldier,
Where else could the Colours be!
I do not say they were found again,
For they never were lost, you see.

Safe on the heart of a soldier,
Knotted close to his side,
Proudly lie on the quiet breast,
Washed in the crimson tide!
For the heart is silent forever,
Stirred by no flitting breath,
And the Colours he saved are a fitting shroud,
And meet for a soldier's death.

What more would they know in England?
The Colours were lost, they said;
And all the time they were safe, of course,
Though the soldier himself was dead.
The band was stiff, and the heart was cold
And feeble the stalwart limb;
But he was one of the Twenty-fourth,
So the Colours were safe with him.
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joe

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PostSubject: Re: Poems Of The Zulu War   Poems Of The Zulu War EmptySun Mar 14, 2010 4:25 pm

Heres another from Paul Curtis

In eighteen hundred and seventy nine
The British marched in ordered line
A January morning on the eleventh day
Over the Buffalo River they made their way
The British force Lord Chelmsford led
As on Zulu land his troops did tread
The Zulu king sees this as an act of war
With broken word and broken law
Lord Chelmsford then his force divided
General Pulliene to make his camp decided
At Isanhlwana the British camp was made
Pickets and defenses set against a Zulu raid
But after eleven days in the Zulu's land
The British had to make their stand
The warriors then the camp surround
After exploiting any weakness found
The Zulu impi many thousands strong
Defeat the British in the ensuing throng
Over seventeen hundred souls are lost
As after the battle they count the cost
Also countless numbers of Zulu's dead
How many wives and children left unfed?
An organized army of foot and horse
Suffers the worst defeat by a native force

thanks joe
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Poems Of The Zulu War   Poems Of The Zulu War EmptySun Mar 14, 2010 7:59 pm

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Poems Of The Zulu War   Poems Of The Zulu War EmptyWed Jun 27, 2012 7:21 pm

"Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Isandlwana, Zulu War, Britrish defeat
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 09:37 PM

This is not the poem that you are looking for, most likely, but it is related and you or someone else might be interested in it:

Isandula

"Ever the story liveth of the fight on the far hillside,
Fraught with the ancient sorrow that is brother born of pride:
Holds thy heart unforgetting the name of a far-off grave,
Wet with thy tears, O England — ay, red with the blood of the brave,
Who found, by a far stream's tide, 'neath the sky of a stranger land,
Death and glory in one at the Hill of the Little Hand.

Dark like a cloud they came, the hosts of the Zula king, —
Yea, and still as a cloud: silent they drew in a ring
Round the doomed camp white in the sun, and the soldiers scattered and few,
Darkling the impis came on. — and the Englishmen, what could they do?
God! Will it ever be told? It were all too bitter to tell,
Dark wave pouring on wave, and savage yell upon yell,
Fights unseen and unknown none liveth to hand to fame:
Brave men dead by the guns they spiked ere the spear-stroke came:
Eddies drowned in the tide, — swirls in a pitiless flood,
And the remnant swept to the river — the river red with their blood.

Yet, O God of the heroes, thanks and praise unto Thee,
Who givest a gift that is greater than an easy victory,
Since from the stream of slaughter by the lonely mountain roll'd,
Young hands grasped there the laurels that death shall not withhold:
Yea, a crown that is fairer than the victor's crown of fame,
A star in the years that shall be, and an everlasting flame.

Swift they raced for the river — for there was that they bore
They must hold for, strike for, strive for till life shall be no more, —
Only to save the colours — tho' all beside be lost
Still this is left to die for — (O is it worth the cost?
Is it worth a young life's glory — its promise and its pride?
Hear in their deed the answer — hear how for this they died!)

Shoulder by shoulder they spurred — reached the river — and one at the last
Came unhurt to the shore, and haply his peril were past;
Yet — what of safety, of life? There are greater, things to lose,
There are nobler, goodlier guerdons for a hero-heart to choose.
Back to midstream he turned, to the foe and the purple tide,
To stand by the friend he loved so — to die at a comrade's side,
And the dead men round in a ring bore witness how they died.
So by the lonely river, under the lonely sky,
Dwells by the graves of heroes the dream that shall not die:
By the flow of a far stream's wave, 'neath the sky of a stranger land,
Death and glory in one at the Hill of the Little Hand."


Notes:

From Wings of the Morning, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by Elkin Mathews, London, UK, © 1904, pp. 57-59.


"On January 22, 1879, Isandlwana was the site of the Battle of Isandlwana, where over 20,000 Zulu warriors defeated a contingent of British soldiers in the first engagement of the Anglo-Zulu War. Almost the entire column of about 1,200 British soldiers was killed, and the regimental colours were lost."

Charley Noble
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Poems Of The Zulu War   Poems Of The Zulu War EmptyWed Jun 27, 2012 7:24 pm

And another with a message.

"Their Martini's were new, they had ball cartridge too,
But there's scarcely a single survivor.
The British Army defeated that day
For the want of a simple screwdriver."
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