Charles G.D. Roberts

Set in the fierce red desert for a sword,
Drawn and deep-driven implacably! The tide
Of scorching sand that chafes thy landward side
Storming thy palms; and past thy front outpoured
The Nile's vast dread and wonder! Late there roared
(While far off paused the long war, long defied)
Mad tumult thro' thy streets; and Gordon died,
Slaughtered amid the yelling rebel horde!

Yet, spite of shame and wrathful tears, Khartoum,
We owe thee certain thanks, for thou hast shown
How still the one a thousand crowds outweighs,—
Still one man's mood sways millions,—one man's doom
Smites nations;—and our burning spirits own
Not sordid these nor unheroic days!

From In Divers Tones.

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Added 23 November 2008.
Updated 23 November 2008.