Successful Recitations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about Successful Recitations.

          But let the ice drift on! 
          Let the cold-blue desert spread!
     Their course with mast and flag is done,
          Even there sleep England’s dead.

          The warlike of the isles,
          The men of field and wave! 
     Are not the rocks their funeral piles? 
          The seas and shores their grave?

          Go, stranger! track the deep,
          Free, free the white sail spread! 
     Wave may not foam, nor wild wind sweep,
          Where rest not England’s dead.

MEHRAB KHAN.

BY SIR F.H.  DOYLE.

["Mehrab Khan died, as he said he would, sword in hand, at the door of his own Zenana.”—­Capture of Kelat.]

(1839.)

      With all his fearless chiefs around
        The Moslem leader stood forlorn,
      And heard at intervals the sound
        Of drums athwart the desert borne. 
      To him a sign of fate, they told
        That Britain in her wrath was nigh,
      And his great heart its powers unrolled
        In steadiness of will to die.

      “Ye come, in your mechanic force,
        A soulless mass of strength and skill—­
      Ye come, resistless in your course,
        What matters it?—­’Tis but to kill. 
      A serpent in the bath, a gust
        Of venomed breezes through the door,
      Have power to give us back to dust—­
        Has all your grasping empire more?

      “Your thousand ships upon the sea,
        Your guns and bristling squares by land,
      Are means of death—­and so may be
        A dagger in a damsel’s hand. 
      Put forth the might you boast, and try
        If it can shake my seated will;
      By knowing when and how to die,
        I can escape, and scorn you still.

      “The noble heart, as from a tower,
        Looks down on life that wears a stain;
      He lives too long who lives an hour
        Beneath the clanking of a chain. 
      I breathe my spirit on my sword,
        I leave a name to honour known,
      And perish, to the last the lord
        Of all that man can call his own.”

      Such was the mountain leader’s speech;
        Say ye, who tell the bloody tale,
      When havoc smote the howling breach,
        Then did the noble savage quail? 
      No—­when through dust, and steel, and flame,
        Hot streams of blood, and smothering smoke,
      True as an arrow to its aim,
        The meteor-flag of England broke;

      And volley after volley threw
        A storm of ruin, crushing all,
      Still cheering on a faithful few,
        He would not yield his father’s hall. 
      At his yet unpolluted door
        He stood, a lion-hearted man,
      And died, A FREEMAN STILL, before
        The merchant thieves of Frangistan.

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Successful Recitations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.