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- LAST night, among his fellow roughs,
- He jested, quaff'd, and swore;
- A drunken private of the Buffs,
- Who never look'd before.
- To-day, beneath the foeman's frown,
- He stands in Elgin's place,
- Ambassador from Britain's crown
- And type of all her race.
- Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught,
- Bewilder'd, and alone,
- A heart with English instinct fraught
- He yet can call his own.
- Aye, tear his body limb from limb,
- Bring cord, or axe, or flame:
- He only knows, that not through him
- Shall England come to shame.
- Far Kentish hop-fields round him seem'd,
- Like dreams, to come and go;
- Bright leagues of cherry-blossom gleam'd,
- One sheet of living snow;
- The smoke above his father's door
- In grey soft eddyings hung:
- Must he then watch it rise no more,
- Doom'd by himself, so young?
- Yes, honour calls! -- with strength like steel
- He puts the vision by.
- Let dusky Indians whine and kneel;
- An English lad must die.
- And thus, with eyes that would not shrink,
- With knee to man unbent,
- Unfaltering on its dreadful brink,
- To his red grave he went.
- Vain, mightiest fleets of iron framed;
- Vain, those all-shattering guns;
- Unless proud England keep, untamed,
- The strong heart of her sons.
- So, let his name through Europe ring--
- A man of mean estate,
- Who died, as firm as Sparta's king,
- Because his soul was great.
- Sir Francis Doyle
Poets' Corner .
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