The Great War

from The Man Who Saw, an electronic edition

The Charge of the 9th Lancers

MELINITE, lyddite, darkened heaven,

But straight at the guns the Lancers rode

By the light of the rage that in them glowed--

Straight at the guns, the deadly Eleven

That had raked and shelled them seven times seven.

With never a halt or a needless word--

With never a screen from the shattering breath

Of a myriad iron throats of death--

At the cannon in ambush our horsemen spurred,

Fiercely, grimly--their fathers' sons--

And slew the gunners beside their guns,

And captured the cannon, the roaring Eleven,

That deafened the earth and darkened the heaven.

Then their dauntless remnant came

Out of the hurricane, out of the flame,

Covered with smoke and dust and fame.

Shout, you shires, with a chorus sent

Ringing from Caithness right to Kent,

From far Northumberland down past Devon!

Shout for your heroes, Britain's sons,

Who stifled the breath of the thundering guns.

The courage that lifted their hearts shall leaven

All who go forth in England's name,

Born to o'ercome as these o'ercame,

And winnow the earth with the flail of Heaven.