At the heart of the song cycle Whispers of Gallipoli is this setting of the poem Anzac by Trooper Argyle Campbell.
Who are these with dauntless tread
To swell the armies of the valiant dead
More room I make, the upper halls of fame
must shelter these. Come. Death's my name.
I watched them go into battle
I waited to see them fall
These men who seemed so ready
And eager to answer the call.
I stalked in dread amongst them.
But they laughed me to scorn
and firmly, steadily bid in place.
I saw the fire-streaked horror
Gather them in its grip
and I looked for signs of weakening
and the quivering of the lip.
But they burst the bonds that bound them
when the order was passed to go.
And reckless and all unseeing
they fell full-fronted towards the foe.
And again I went amongst them
and covered them with my breath .
But little they heeded my presence
although my name was Death.
Their vision was ever forward,
with every eye aflame.
They plunged into the smoke of battle,
Shouting aloud my name.
Oh rich was the harvest I gathered,
For not alone they died.
As they swept the foe before them
in that mad, on rushing tide.
I gazed on the wreck of their bodies,
I saw where they fought and fell.
And I wondered whence these men came,
And who their passing would tell.
How they talked in their last moments
of a home beyond the sea.
Of mountain, and plain and forest,
but never once spoke of me.
They spoke of glory and honour,
of a mother who gave them birth.
Of a flag that floated over them
as their young blood soaked the earth.
Of a cause that will surely triumph,
of a heritage undefined.
Then met the end unflinching
with the simple faith of a child.
Who was it saw their going?
Who sent them forth? Come then.
I wait to hear the answer
Who are these valiant men?
You ask, O Death
Whence these men came.
Whose souls thy terrors
could not tame.
The answer ring o'er
land and sea
Clear, serene, triumphant
These men O Death belong to me.
Their bodies gladly
you may claim
They bled to save
an Empires name
In New Zealand they
will live for aye
locked in hearts
by night and day
We sent them forth, the price to pay.
We sent them forth, they bore our name.
They paid the price.
We share their fame.
Trooper Argyle Campbell, New Zealand Mounted Rifles
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