The captured teas, the taken guns,
Were muchly to our mind,
But O, next day, we marched away
And left them all behind.
Let go, let go the milk-white ass,
And drop the copper pan,
Things of desire that do but tire
The burdened fighting man.
Bare to the elbows, brown and lean,
Behold them as they go,
“The Londons” desperately keen,
Dogged and firm and slow.
“Children of Israel” wanderers yet.
Quick-tongued for grouse or gibe,
Well do their leaders know the worth
Of the ancient London tribe.
Up and away before the day
Brings sweat to loin and girth,
Into the bare and trackless plain
On brown Philistian earth.
No laughter breaks, no talk, no songs,
No taunts, or quick replies
Fly down the ranks, men silent go
Who strain towards a prize.
But look! the sun is on the left,
The hot earth turns, apace,
Dust and distress is all behind,
This is the halting place.
One little stage we’ve onward crept,
Wagon, and man, and gun.
Quick, quick, erect the bivouac
Before night takes the sun.