Original Text: 
A. M. Buckton, The Burden of Engela: A Ballad-epic (London: Methuen, 1904): 58-59. 011651.l.95 British Library
2    Across the saddle-bow --
3Geert of the ripe and chestnut hair,
4    Geert of the sunny brow!
5She took a covered pillow,
6    And sheets without a fold;
7She laid him on his boyish bed --
8    That bed for ever cold!
9The younger children slumbered,
10    The little lamp was lit,
11And seven they were about the corpse,
12    And silent looked on it.
13Six men they stood around it,
14    The widow at the head;
15And proud her pale and awful face
16    That gazed upon the Dead!
17Upon his brow the death-damp,
18    But on his lips a smile,
19As if he bore not in his breast
20    The cruel shot the while!
21Killed in a gallant venture,
22    Killed at the cornet's side,
23The youngest of the company
24    That in the South did ride!
25A man sobbed in the darkness,
26    But the grizzled sergeant said,
27"The Lord hath given and taken away!
28    Write -- Blessed are the Dead!"
29Two men went out in silence,
30    With shovel, pick, and spade,
32    A soldier's bed they made.
33In sight of home they laid him:
34    And when the morning sun
35Looked down upon the desert-plain,
36    Six horsemen rode alone.


1] Events in this narrative verse sequence about the Boer war take place from October 1899 to November 1902. The central characters are Engela and Piet de Waal, her husband. Geert, pronounced `Gairt,' is Engela's son. Back to Line
31] koppie-bush: a small hill's bush. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2000.