THE LAST SHOT.
THIS POPULAR RECITATION CAN ALWAYS BE HAD AT POET'S Box, Overgte Dundee.
Three to ride and to save, one to ride and to be saevd-
That's the key of my tale, boys, deep on my heart engra-
With death before and behind, through dangers many
Four to ride together, and three of the four to die.
There was the Captain's daughter, a young and delicate
With her baby face and shining eyes, and hair of sunniest
She looked like a beautiful flower, too slight to be even
Yet never had hero braver heart than beat in that girlish
And then there was Sargent Gray, a martinest old and
The worst of tyrants that ever lived was a lamb compared
to him ;
Ne'er-dae-weel Duglas next, a Borderer born and bred,
With a sin on his soul for every hair that grew on his
And then there was Fighting Denis-Denis the stout of
Foremost in every row and brawl, skilled in the "manly
Take the three altogether, the truth is, old and young,
They were three o' the greatest scmps, boys, that ever
deserved to be hung.
What was she doing, you ask, me alone with fellows
Down on the Gauges' bank, hid 'mong the mango trees ?
Well, she couldn't help herself, could only wait and pray,
And they, they were doing their duty as well as they
knew they way.
Slowly the read moon rose, and then the sargent spok-
"Pat, look to the horses' girth; Grahm, give the lady this
Now, miss, be your father's daughter, our lads are close
The horses are fresh, and the road is clear, and we've only
fivemiles to go."
Then spoke the Captain's daughter, and her voice was
weak but clear-
"I want you to promise, brave friends, while we're altoga-
That you'll keep the last shot for me-when each heart of
hope despairs ;
Better to die by hands like yours than be left alive in theirs.
The sergent cleared his throat, and turned his face away ;
Denis, the stout of hearts, had never a word to say ;
And Douglas grasped his hilt with a look and gesture grin,
While he watched the the face o' the girl with eyes grown
suddenly blurred and dim.
'Oh, you'll promise me, will you not?" the weak voice pl
"You will not leave me to them-you-soldiers-my
For the sake of my mother in Heaven-and God and death
Oh, father, you would, I know, if only you were here."
''I promise." "And I." "And I." The voices were hoarse
And each man prayed, I ween, that the task he might not
As out on the plain they rode swiftly and silently-
Four to ride together, and three o' the four to die.
The sergent's charger led with a long and raking stride,
And the Arab's lighter bound kept the lady by his side,
While hanging on eather Hank, the watchers, steady and
Swept on through the clouds of dust that rose as the lead
ers thundered along.
Fire to the right and left, in front and rear,
As the dusky demons broke from their lurking ambush
"Noo, Denis, boot tae boot-keep close betweew, you
We've cut her a road through waurthan this, an-Charge!
Hurrah ! Hurrah !"
As the lightning cleaver the clouds, as the tempest rends
The comrades headlong rush, the gathering miscreants
Unharmed through the yelling horde the Captan's daug-
While thick and fast in firce pursuit the Sirdar's horsemen
Up on the crest o' the rise where Canpore's curse of blood
Hushes with horror yet the wide and rolling flood,
Douglas reeled in his saddle, and whispered prokenly-
'Gray, dinna let her ken, but it'snear a ower wi'me."
"Hit?"'-"Ay, here in the side."-"Bad?"-"Aye bad,
I'll face you hounds on the brae, it my gain ye a minute
Tak' my horse-ye may need it for her. Steady, there !-
woa, there, Gem!-
Dinna forget your promise- yon lassie's on for them."
An iron grip o' the hands-a mist o'er the sergent's sight;
As he swiftly wheeled the horses and vanished in the night
Then round to the nearing foe, under the starry sky.
Alone with his God and his own brave heart Grahame
Douglas turned to die.
On came Hamed, the boastful- who so sure as he,
With his Siva-charmed sword, keen-edged, againest the
Wo for Hamed, the boastful ! woe the mistake he made,
When he matched his sword 'gainst a Border arm, and
the sweep of a Border blade !
Then fighting it, thrust for thrust fighting it blow for blow
Till at last, where the bank fell sheer to the dusky stream
He fell-a groan-a plunge-wave cirles eddying wide-
And the ne'er-dae-weel was still at last 'neath the rever's
"Scretcth to it, gallant Selim !-leap to it, Ned and Dan !
Well done, brave brutes ! Hurrah! Let them catch us now
who can !"
On and on for life-for a higher, dearer stake-
For true men's chivalry-for a helples woman's sake !
A sputtre of fire on the right, a flame of fire in the rear,
And Gem leaped up and fell-another, and all too near
The hiasing bullets came, and them the sergent knew
His blood and life were ebbing away with every breath
Sore and deep the wound, but never a moan he made,
And rising straight in his saddle, erect as when on parade,
"Pat, if you get in, repot that Duglas and I are dead ;
Tell them we did our duty, and mind-your promise," he
The maden checked her horse with a quick, wild scream of
"Oh. Heaven, have pity !" she sobben, as Denis seized her
Then, giving his last command-" Ride on !''-with impa-
True British soldier to the last, the brave old man went
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Probable period of publication:
1880-1900 shelfmark: RB.m.143(048)
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