Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

The Canadian Poetry Audio Archives

Item Display

Wilkins, Harriett Annie
Death Of Captain Vicars

There were sound of armies gathering
    Unto the cannon's roll;
There were sounds of martial melody
    Before Sebastopol.

Courage was mantling int he breast,
    And fire in many an eye,
As Britain's gallant hosts moved on
    To conquer or to die.

There were noble veterans in that train
    Who boasted many a scar;
There was one who led his gallant band,
    Young in those scenes of war;
Young, but how loved!--ah, manyh an eye
    That saw him arming there
Was raised to bless him, as his voice
    Broke through the misty air, 
             "This way, 97th!

"By the flags that o'er us wave,
 All that makes the brace heart brave;
 By the ties of home's sweet band,
 Sheltered on our native land;
 By the ashes of our sires--
 By the light of Britain's fires--
             "This way, 97th!

"By the burning vows that rest
 Deept within the partiot's breast;
 By the bayonets that gleam
 In the young moon's flickering beam;
 Though we stand on danger's marge,
 God will help us--up and charge! 
             "This way, 97th!

"He will arm us for the fight,
 On this strange, this fearful night.
 Ere we route the treach'rous foe
 Some of us may slumber low;
 See that each is read--then,
 Fight and die like Christian men.
             "This way, 97th!

"Forward! victory is ours,
 Though we fall beneath yon towers:
 England's glory is our crest--
 England's colors wrap our breast--
 Let the trenches witness bear
 That the dauntless brave fell there;
              This way, 97th!"

Fierce was the battle--wild the strife--
     The ground beneath them rang;
Redan and Malakoff that night
     Echoed the musket's clang;
Two thousand of the treach'rous host
     Advanced 'neath that dark sky;
Two hundred of Victoria's men
     Had met them at the cry,
              "This way, 97th!"

They fought and conquered, but the voice
    That led them bravely on,
The tone that cheered their lion-hearts
    For evermore was gone.
Yet as the life-blood flowed apace,
    He saw his victory won,
And once more shouted as he fell,
    "Brethren, the foemen run!
              This way, 97th!"

Public Domain