Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, POWELL'S REVENGE, by F. C. URQUHART

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

POWELL'S REVENGE, by            
First Line: Swiftly the messenger had sped
Last Line: That here was ... Powell's revenge.
Subject(s): Aborigines, Australian; Betrayal; Murder; Revenge

SWIFTLY the messenger had sped
O'er the rough mountain tracks
To tell the news, our friend was dead,
Killed by the ruthless blacks.

It was the tale so often told
Of confidence misplaced,
Of savage treachery grown bold
And a good chance embraced.

He met them near the close of day
And gave them meat and bread,
And then in peace he went his way
Thinking he'd naught to dread.

With stealthy step on murder bent
They stalked his camp that night
And carried out their foul intent
By the setting moon's pale light.

Horses are mustered, carbines bright
Are gleaming in the sun,
Riders are thinking of that night
And vengeance to be done.

With steady patience, seven days,
The avenging troop rides fast,
Passing by rugged mountain ways
To reach the scene at last.

And there beneath a low-bent tree
They see a ghastly sight,
And scarce could fancy it was he
They knew was slain that night.

Grimly the troopers stood around
That new-made forest grave,
And to their eyes that fresh-heaped mound
For vengeance seemed to crave.

And one spake out in deep stern tones,
And raised his hand on high,
"For every one of these poor bones
A Kalkadoon shall die!"

Then mournfully they turn their backs
Upon that lonely place
And ride away upon the tracks
To give the murderers chase.

"Surrender!" the troopers loudly cry
In the black native tone;
The desperate wretches made reply
With showers of spear and stone.

"Fire!" The word rang clearly out
In the fresh morning air,
From rock and crag that awesome shout
Is echoed everywhere.

See how the sable murderers fly,
Smitten with deadly fear;
They dare not pause to fight and die
And soon the field is clear,

Save for just scattered here and there
A dead thing on the ground:
A dead thing black with matted hair,
Lies without life or sound.

Now, traveller, if upon this spot,
Your step should e'er infringe,
Know what shall never be forgot,
That here was ... Powell's Revenge.

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