On the bastion of Fort Lucknow
Are two soldier’s wives sitting
Wearied, hopeless, worn and withered.
One day more, an only night more,
Thus pronounced the chiefs of warfare,
Holds the fortress, if not succoured.
There they sit, the corporal’s wife
Jessie Brown the Highland’s daughter
And the colonel’s consort, having
In her lap the head of Jessie.
Sleep, o Jessie! I shall rouse thee,
When relieved from bloody labour,
Is returned to thee thy husband.”
Thus the colonel’s wife says soothing,
But herself she sinks in slumber.
Suddenly a yelling outcry
Rouses her; the Highland woman
Starts and screams, her arms extended,
Look! I see! My mother’s standing
On my native loch and joyful
Bei’kons me into my country.”
O poor Jessie!” says her mistress,
What thou seest is but a phantom
And thy second sight a falsehood.
Smoke of campfires dost thou see there,
Flickering and waving to us.”
In her lap the head of Jessie
Drops again, again they slumber.
Then anew she screams in rapture
To the battery she hastens:
Do you hear? It is the Slogan
Is the warery of my brethren.
The Mac Gregors are approaching!”
And she sinks again exhausted.
Round her gather all the warriors,
Anxiously the women listen;
But the colonel hears the thunder
Of the cannons, not the Slogan,
Shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders.
O the wailing of the women!
O the whining of the children!
Then a third time Jessie screams out:
Hear you? will you still deny it?
Is that not the Cämpbell’s Pibroch?”
Yes it is the Highland warsong!
Through the thunder of the cannons,
Through the wailing of the Seapoys,
Through the Cracking of the muskets
Through the hollow tune of drumming
Sounds the Pibroch of the bagpipe,
Cutting first and full of vengeance,
Softer then as rescue’s message.
From the walls: The Queen for ever!”
Thousands shout unto the savers
And then comes the blissful answer,
Yells the Highland Marseillaise,
Roars the scottish national hymn:
,Old acquaintance, ne’er forgotten!”
On the battery of Lucknow
On their knees are thousands lying,
Mutter prayers for their rescue,
But the Highland pipers strike up:
-Old acquaintance, ne’er forgotten!”