The Dublin Fusilier

A poem by William Henry Drummond

Here's to you, Uncle Kruger! slainté! an' slainté galore.
You 're a dacint ould man, begorra; never mind if you are a Boer.
So with heart an' a half ma boucahl, we 'll drink to your health to-night
For yourself an' your farmer sojers gave us a damn good fight.

I was dramin' of Kitty Farrell, away in the Gap o' Dunloe,
When the song of the bugle woke me, ringin' across Glencoe;
An' once in a while a bullet came pattherin' from above,
That tould us the big brown fellows were send- in' us down their love.

'Twas a kind of an invitation, an' written in such a han'
That a Chinaman could n't refuse it- not to spake of an Irishman.
So the pickets sent back an answer. "We're comin' with right good will,"
Along what they call the kopje, tho' to me it looked more like a hill.

"Fall in on the left," sez the captain, "my men of the Fusiliers;
You 'll see a great fight this morning -like you have n't beheld for years."
"Faith, captain dear," sez the sergeant, "you can bet your Majuba sword
If the Dutch is as willin' as we are, you never spoke truer word."

So we scrambled among the bushes, the bowlders an' rocks an' all,
Like the gauger's men still-huntin' on the mountains of Donegal;
We doubled an' turned an' twisted the same as a hunted hare,
While the big guns peppered each other over us in the air.

Like steam from the divil's kettle the kopje was bilin' hot,
For the breeze of the Dutchman's bullets was the only breeze we got;
An' many a fine boy stumbled, many a brave lad died,
When the Dutchman's message caught him there on the mountainside.

Little Nelly O'Brien, God help her! over there at ould Ballybay,
Will wait for a transvaal letter till her face an' her hair is grey,
For I seen young Crohoore on a stretcher, an' I knew the poor boy was gone
When I spoke to the ambulance doctor,an' he nodded an' then passed on.

"Steady there!" cried the captain, "we must halt for a moment here,"
An' he spoke like a man in trainin' , full winded an' strong an' clear.
So we threw ourselves down on the kopje, weary an' tired as death,
Waitin' the captain 's orders, waitin' to get a breath.

It 's strange all the humours an' fancies that comes to a man like me;
But the smoke of the battle risin' took me across the sea,
It 's the mist of Benbo I 'm seein'; an' the rock that we 'll capture soon
Is the rock where I shot the eagle, when I was a small gosson.

I close my eyes for a minute, an' hear my poor mother say,
"Patrick, avick, my darlin', you 're surely not goin' away
To join the red-coated sojers?"- but the blood in me was strong,
If your sire was a Connaught Ranger, sure where would his son belong?

Hark! whisht! do you hear the music comin' up from the camp below?
An odd note or two when the Maxims take breath for a second or so,
Liftin' itself on somehow, stealin' its way up here,
Knowin' there 's waitin' to hear it, many an Irish ear.

Augh! Garryowen! you 're the jewel! an' we charged on the Dutchman's guns,
An' covered the bloody kopje, like a Galway greyhound runs,
At the top of the hill they met us, with faces all set and grim;
But they could n't take the bayonet - that 's the trouble with most of thim.

So of course, they 'll be praisin' the Royals an' men of the Fusiliers,
An' the newspapers help to dry up the widows an' orphans' tears,
An' they 'll write a new name on the colors- that is, if there 's room for more
An' we 'll follow them thro' the battle, the same as we 've done before.

But here 's to you, Uncle Kruger! slainté! an' slainté galore.
After all, you 're a dacint Christian, never mind if you are a Boer.
So with heart an' a half, ma boucahl, we 'll drink to your health to-night,
For yourself an' your brown-faced Dutchmen gave us a damn good fight.

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