Old Melbourne Memories/Priez pour Elle

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Old Melbourne Memories by Rolf Boldrewood
"Priez pour Elle"

"PRIEZ POUR ELLE"


AN INCIDENT OF THE INDIAN MUTINY


In the old tower they stand at bay,
 Where the Moslem fought of old;
True to their race, in that sad day
 Their lives are dearly sold.

They are but three; a woman fair,
 A boy of fearless brow,
He, whom she vowed to love is there—
 God help her! then and now.

With fiercer leaguer never did
 Those rugged stones resound,
As the swarthy yelling masses swayed
 The time-worn keep around.

Our death-doomed brothers fired fast,
 Our sister loaded well;
With each rifle-crack a spirit passed;
 By scores the rebels fell.

Though corses choke the narrow way,
 Still swarms the demon hive;
Like a tolling bell each heart will say
 "We ne'er go forth alive!"

Undaunted still—the leaden rain
 Slacks not one moment's space—
With a crashing bullet through his brain,
 The boy drops on his face!

With outstretched arms, with death-clutched hands,
 His mother's darling lies,
No more, till rent the grave's dark bands,
 To glad her loving eyes.

Gone the last hope! faint gleam of light—
 Death stalks before their eyes—
While yells and screams of wild delight
 From the frenzied crowd arise.

O God of mercy! can it be?
 It is a hideous dream—
No!—nearer rolls the human sea,
 Arms flash, and eyeballs gleam.

He thinks of her, pale, tender, fair—
 To nameless tortures given,
Gore-stained and soiled the bright brown hair—
 His very soul is riven.

He lifts the weapon. Did he think
 Of a happy summer time—
Of the village meadow—river brink,
 Of the merry wedding chime?

Little he dreamed of this dreary Now,
 Or that ever he should stand
With the pistol-muzzle at her brow,
 The trigger in his hand!

They kissed—they clung in a last embrace,
 They prayed a last deep prayer—
Then proudly she raised her tearful face,
 And——a corse lay shuddering there!

He stooped, his love's soft eyes to close,
 He smoothed the bright brown hair,
Smiled on the crowd of baffled foes,
 Then, scattered his brains in air.