Thursday, August 26, 2021

In the Land of the Afghans beyond the Khyber Pass

In the land of the Afghans
beyond the Khyber Pass;
The bones of many men cry out
beneath the desert sands;
From the March to Kabul
in eighteen thirty eight;
The soldiers of the British Raj
received a gruesome fate;
Macnaghten as their leader
was slaughtered like a lamb;
His fate was sealed by treachery
from the ruler Akbar Khan;
They took his head and marched it through
the streets of old Kabul;
His trunk was hung in the bazaar—
a fate both grim and cruel;
They stormed the house of Burnes
and killed him with his staff;
Felled by jezails as lethal as
the snowy mountain pass;
It fell to William Elphinstone
to take up the British cause,
And so began the great retreat
for which their lives were lost!
The Afghan army massacred
sixteen thousand men;
And despite the Khan’s assurances
The women were murdered in the end;
The blood of Cavagnari
was spilled by Yaqub Khan;
His Treaty of Gandamak could not
save him in the end;
Defended to the last
by the Queen’s Own Corps of Guides;
When warned he said: “Keep up your heart—
dogs that bark don't bite!”
The soldiers of the Russians
besieged Afghanistan;
They fought the Mujahideen and set
the stage for the Taliban;
And now brave America
joins her brothers in the grave;
The proud Marines fought to free a land
that no army on earth could save!
And when the dust was settled
around the Abbey gate;
Their souls cried out,
"Get out brave men before it's too late!"

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