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As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine, Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent.
THE PRIVATE OF THE BUFFS
SIR FRANCIS HASTINGS DOYLE
In 1858 England was engaged in a war with China. A detachment of Indian troops, led by a private of the famous Kentish regiment, the Baffs, so called from the facings of their uniforms, was captured by some of the piratical Chinese soldiers. The prisoners were told that their lives would be spared if they would prostrate themselves before the Chinese and press their foreheads in the dust. The Indians very promptly prostrated themselves as ordered, and their lives were spared; but the English lad swore that he would not thus abase himself, and his captors immediately put him to death.
In each of the punitive expeditions that Great Britain sent into China, Thomas Bruce, Eighth Lord Elgin, was both commander in chief of the English military forces and plenipotentiary or ambassador to the Chinese government.
Last night, among his fellow-roughs,
A drunken private of the Buffs,
To-day, beneath the foeman's frown,
Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught,
A heart with English instinct fraught
Aye, tear his body limb from limb,
He only knows, that not through him
Far Kentish hop-fields round him seemed Like dreams to come and go;
Bright leagues of cherry-blossoms gleamed,
The smoke above his father's door,
Yes, honor 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,
To his red grave he went.
Vain, mightiest fleets, of iron framed;
So let his name through Europe ring
A man of mean estate,
Who died, as firm as Sparta's king,
THE RELIEF OF LUCKNOW
ROBERT T. S. LOWELL
In 1857 a wide-spread mutiny broke out in India. By the first of July, Lucknow, a fortified city on the Ganges, was besieged by the mutineers. In addition to the handful of English soldiers in the fort there were a good many business men, missionaries, and more than one hundred thirty women and children. The sappers or miners of the Sepoy regiments in revolt began to tunnel or mine under the walls of the fort for the purpose of blowing it up. Food became scarce; fever, smallpox, and cholera carried off many; and when General Havelock finally reached Lucknow, the 25th of September, the situation had become almost hopeless.
Oh, that last day in Lucknow fort!
We knew that it was the last;
That the enemy's mines crept surely in,
To yield to that foe meant worse than death;
There was one of us, a corporal's wife,
Wasted with fever in the siege,
And her mind was wandering.
She lay on the ground, in her Scottish plaid,
And I took her head on my knee;
"When my father comes hame frae the pleugh," she said, "Oh! then please wauken me.”
She slept like a child on her father's floor,
In the flecking of woodbine shade,
When the house-dog sprawls by the open door,
It was smoke and roar and powder-stench,
I sank to sleep; and I had my dream
And wall and garden; but one wild scream
There Jessie Brown stood listening
All over her face; and she caught my hand
"The Hielanders! Oh! dinna
The slogan far awa?
The McGregor's? Oh! I ken it weel;
"God bless thae bonny Hielanders!
Along the battery line her cry
Had fallen among the men,
And they started back;-they were there to die;
They listened for life; the rattling fire
Were all; and the colonel shook his head,
Then Jessie said, "The slogan's done;
But win'na ye hear them noo,
'The Campbells are comin' '? It's no a dream; Our succors hae broken through."
We heard the roar and the rattle afar,
But the pipes we could not hear;
So the men plied their work of hopeless war,
It was not long ere it made its way,