Ah, that bullet! How it shattered
Vein and tissue to the bone;
Dropt me faint and blood-bespattered,
Helpless on a bed of stone!
While the mare which oft had eaten
From my hand, caressed, unbeaten,
Left her master doomed, alone.
Limply then I lay in dread,
Racked with torture, sick and under—
Hearing, as through vapours red
And with reeling heart and head,
Hoofs of thunder!
Was I dreaming? By the boulder
Where I huddled as I fell,
Stood the steed beside my shoulder
Faithful, fain to serve me well.
Whinnying softly, then, to screen me
From the foe, she knelt between me
And that circling human hell.
Tenderly she touched my face
With the nose that knew my petting,
Ripe for the last glorious race
And her comrade’s own embrace—
O her haunches heaved and quivered
With the passion freely brought
For the life to be delivered,
Though she first with demons fought;
While her large eyes gleamed and glistened
And her ears down-pointing listened,
Waiting for the answer sought.
Till a sudden wave of might
Set me once again astraddle
On the seat of saving flight,
Plucked from very jaws of night—
Boot and saddle!
THE MIDNIGHT CHARGE.
BY CLEMENT SCOTT.
Pass the word to the boys to-night!—lying
about midst dying and
Whisper it low; make ready to fight! stand like men at your horses’
Look to your stirrups and swords, my lads, and into your saddles
your pistols thrust;
Then setting your teeth as your fathers did, you’ll make the enemy
bite the dust!
What did they call us, boys, at home?—“Feather-bed soldiers!”—
faith, it’s true!
“Kept to be seen in her Majesty’s parks, and mightily smart at a
Feather-bed soldiers? Hang their chaff! Where in the world, I should
like to know,
When a war broke out and the country called, was an English soldier
sorry to go?
Brothers in arms and brothers in heart! cavalry! infantry! there and
No matter what careless lives they lived, they were ready to die like
So pass the word! in the sultry night,
Stand to your saddles! make ready to fight!
We are sick to death of the scorching sun, and the
for miles away;
We are all of us longing to get at the foe, and sweep the sand with
our swords to-day!
Our horses look with piteous eyes—they have little to eat, and
nothing to do;
And the land around is horribly white, and the sky above is terribly
But it’s over now, so the Colonel says: he is ready to start, we are
ready to go: