James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

October 30

Nikolson’s Nek

By Charles Edward Russell (1860–1941)

Natal, Oct. 30, 1899

HO, ancient bully, beaten to your knees,

Do you know her eyes that flame, her hands that smite?

Whose wrathful face and wide smooth brows and white

And dented shield from countless fields like these

Gleamed fierce and fair among the rocks and trees

On Concord road? Who through the weary night

Burned, though beclouded, till from Yorktown’s height

She crowned a people with their liberties?

Yea, fear her! This is she in whose sure scrolls

Is writ, blood-red, the record of your crime—

By what wrecked nations and what wretched souls,

What tears, what hate, what groveling and grime

Your rising—and the very tide that rolls

To hurl you headlong on the sands of Time!