Black and White Budget, No. 22, Vol. II, March 10th 1900

30 BLACK AND WHITE BUDGET March io, iy o o IN PRAISE OF A VETERAN The following lines were written in honour of Private Peter M ’Kay, late of the 93rd High­landers. This old Irish soldier is one of the last survivors of the famous “Thin Red Line ”that became immortal at the battle of Balaclava He now lives at Belfast, where he is much respected. George Augustus Doran, Esq., J.l\, was the fir^t to befriend him and bring his claims before the notice of the public, and therefore it is to him that the poem is dedicated. The Battle now is waged and won And, o’er the field, the setting sun, Like dropping blood, is glowing !Of wound or scar, he makes no plaint :And the “Last Post,” a fa rand faint, H hearse the bugle blowing !Across the march of Time again He peers, and bloody blows, like rain, He deals, with soul and sinew .As tho’, on every flag unfurled, Was scrolled •“Up lad !and show the world The Irish soul that’s in you !’'Now, like the first faint streak of dawn That breathes that Doubt’s dark night is gone And G lory’s morn is gleaming, H e sees the “Thin Red Line ”advance And Russia ’s war-steeds reel, and prance And lly, with death-wounds streaming !Now a,like brand upon his brow, He feels the fierce sun beat, and now. Against the leaden lava O f shot and shell, he “wheels,” and “form *,"And, dressed Slain ugh te r’s scarlet, storms The heights o f Balaclava !Now ,in a living grave, he stands, Filling ,with Sco tia’s hero-bands, Sebastopol’s dread trenches :Now, thro’ the red R edan, he bursts, And, with his nine brave comrades, thirsts For gore, till Glory quenches !Now, to the Capture and Relief O f sieged Lucknow ,his dauntless Chief With dauntless soul he follows !Now ,down he sweeps from sacked Caw 11 pore, Till gu nless Serrigh at in gore O f flying foemen wallow s!And now, while leaden Death above And round him rains, with hands o f love He helps, and heals, the dying !Tho ’ragged ,starving ,overwrought, O f his own self he takes no thought, For all, on Heaven, relying !Then lo !the glory o f the Fast Fades and, in gloom ,he stares aghast At the inglorious Present !Forsaken now —belauded then— By that loved land he fought for, when His strength was in its crescent! Forsaken now —a pauper’s bed Whereon to lay his laurelled head !Without a friend to sigh for His breaking heart—his lonely lot !Left by that land to pine—forgot— He fought, and sought, to die for !Without a friend ?Nay. One there was* Who, hero-like, the hero’s cause Did make his own, and gathered The gems o f the old Warrior’s Past In one love-vase, till lo !at last, His orphan cause is fathered !“U nwept, unhonoured, and u n sun g,” Shall Ireland’s hero die among His gallant Irish brothers? Nay :nay. Staunch friends, and true, they’ll prove And light his darkening days with love, As tender as a Mother’s !No pauper’s bread or bed shall be Their Thin -Red -Liner’s fare !but he, O fall the Fame and booty He wrenched from war, his share shall reap !And honoured, wept, and sung ,he’ll sleep, Who nobly did his duty !Till the Great Captain’s quickening breath Shall bid him strike his tent o f Death When L ife’s new Morn is glowing !And, once again to Victory’, Sounding the grand “Assembly,” he Shall hear the Last Trump blowing !Sam u elK .Co wan ,M.A. i i London, December 24th, 1898. *Geo. Aug Uoran. ksq., I 1 ’
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