El Mahdi to the Australian Troops

And wherefore have they come, this warlike band,
That o'er the ocean many a weary day
Have tossed; and now beside Suakim's Bay,
With faces stern and resolute, do stand,
Waking the desert's echoes with the drum --
Men of Australia, wherefore have ye come?

To keep the Puppet Khedive on the throne,
To strike a blow for tyranny and wrong,
To crush the weak and aid the oppressing strong!
Regardless of the hapless Fellah's moan,
To force the payment of the Hebrew loan,
Squeezing the tax like blood from out the stone?

And fair Australia, freest of the free,
Is up in arms against the freeman's fight;
And with her mother joined to crush the right --
Has left her threatened treasures o'er the sea,
Has left her land of liberty and law
To flesh her maiden sword in this unholy war.

Enough! God never blessed such enterprise --
England's degenerate Generals yet shall rue
Brave Gordon sacrificed, when soon they view
The children of a thousand deserts rise
To drive them forth like sand before the gale --
God and the Prophet! Freedom will prevail.

This work is in the public domain in Australia because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (August 2014).

This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was in the public domain in Australia in 1996, and no copyright was registered in the U.S. (This is the combined effect of Australia having joining the Berne Convention in 1928, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996.)