Loud bugles blew red pennants flew,
And lancers rode abreast.
Though breathing loud, no head was bowed,
As they approached the crest.
Then each man saw what lay before,
Arranged in serried rank.
A fearsome foe, with spear and bow,
Yet no man’s courage sank.
One thousand more there lay before,
And they two hundred strong.
But not one word of woe was heard,
From that blue-coated throng.
First arrows came, with tongues of flame,
But most of those fell short.
Then curses flew, out of the blue,
As though it were a sport.
Alas, a sport with danger fraught,
For comrade, horse and foe,
As lancers then, all seasoned men,
Moved forward toe to toe.
In tunics blue, by ranks of two,
They answered to the “Trot”.
The foe amazed; just stood and gazed,
And wondered at the plot.
As each black steed increased its speed,
Across the battleground,
They heard the roar, and then they saw,
The lance points coming down.
They heard the “Charge”, and looming large
Saw horses pounding hooves.
As pennants streamed and lance-points gleamed,
They feared what combat proves.
Crazed horses’ eyes, and fierce war cries,
Alarmed their bravest man,
And not one stood. With ice-chilled blood,
They broke, then turned, and ran.
Back to their homes, with broken bones,
All spirit drained away.
No victors bell, no tales to tell,
But not one died that day.
For Colonel Dann, a goodly man,
Who saw the day was won,
And thought it ill, to chase and kill,
Called “Halt. We’ll let them run”.
Were those men meek? In courage weak?
Or right to run from war?
To run away and bravely say,
Is this worth dying for?
Although this seems, a theme of dreams,
If you lead men in war,
Make sure you ask, of every task,
Is this worth killing for?