"Barclay's Charge" by Rudyard Kipling

[Editor's note: This poem is from latter in Kipling's life, written in 1922 to commemorate the valor shown by Barclay Goodrow, Sargent Major in His Majesty's 5th Highland Dirk Regiment during the first World War, known best for their crimson kilts and armed with traditional Scottish knives. Goodrow was a moth scholar at Cambridge before the war, and Kipling and he became friends while braining rare birds in South Africa. In 1916 in Flanders Goodrow's regiment was ordered to overrun the German positions in a ditch 20 yards to the north.]

Neath leaden sky in Flanders flats 'midst grime and soil
Stood Barclay, steadfast Barclay, in full martial roil.

With kilt and drake he faced his men and nodded with salute
Raised dagger high and clambored o'er the mound to face the Hun rebuke.

Rank gas vapors he ignored, and all the hellfire round
To lead his men to the Hun's vile trench and give them fatal wound.

Three brief steps he took, his kilt billowing high
And there, cut down by armaments of machine, did Barclay Goodrow die.

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