Flint and Feather

by Emily Pauline Johnson


 

“AND HE SAID, FIGHT ON”*
(Tennyson)


 

Time and its ally, Dark Disarmament,
            Have compassed me about,
Have massed their armies, and on battle bent
            My forces put to rout;
But though I fight alone, and fall, and die,
5
            Talk terms of Peace? Not I.

They war upon my fortress, and their guns
            Are shattering its walls;
My army plays the cowards’ part, and runs,
            Pierced by a thousand balls;
10
They call for my surrender. I reply,
            “Give quarter now? Not I.”

They’ve shot my flag to ribbons, but in rents
            It floats above the height;
Their ensign shall not crown my battlements
15
            While I can stand and fight.
I fling defiance at them as I cry,
            “Capitulate? Not I.” [Page 166]

 


* E. Pauline Johnson died March 7th, 1913. Shortly after the doctors told her that her illness would be her final one, she wrote the above poem, taking a line from Tennyson as her theme. [back]