General Gordon

Let the colours be lowered and the minute guns boom,

For sad are the tidings that come from Khartoum ;

Let the tears of the nation be poured forth like rain,

For Gordon, the valiant, alas ! – he is slain.


So true and so faithful, in peace or in fight,

The friend of the helpless, the champion of right ;

In mercy and justice and honour arrayed,

Where’er duty called him he promptly obeyed.


When plots thickened round him and danger assailed,

His calm steadfast purpose ne’er faltered nor failed ;

But firm and unyielding his pathway he trod,

And thought not of danger, but trusted in God.


Oft misrepresented and misunderstood, –

By some deemed a tyrant that thirsted for blood ;

When he went forth in peace or wielded the sword,

He did what he saw right in the sight of the Lord.


Ah ! well may the nation be shrouded in gloom,

To hear the dread message that comes from Khartoum ;

How – when succour was near him and hope was elate,

A traitor – a Judas – threw open the gate !


Oh ! Gordon the hero, by treachery slain,

We may search the wide world for his equal in vain ;

Wealth and worldly distinction he counted as nought :

’Twas that justice might triumph he suffered and fought.


But now safe in harbour his battles are o’er,

Privation and hardship will reach him no more ;

From the roar and the tumult his spirit took flight,

To its mansion prepared in the regions of light.


Burnsall, Feb. 24th, 1885