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