Rough Rider "Bucky" O'Neill

by Joseph Ignatius Constantine Clarke

Joseph Ignatius Constantine Clarke

When the cresset of war blazed over the land,
And a call rang fierce thro the West,
Saying, "Rough Riders, come to the roll of the
They came with their bravest and best.
With a clatter of hoofs and a stormy hail;
Sinewy, lean and tall and brown;
Hunters and fighters and men of the trail,
From hills and plains, from college and town;
With the cowboy yell and the redman s whoop,
Sons of thunder and swingers of steel;
And, leading his own Arizona troop,
Rode glad and fearless "Bucky" O Neill!
In the ranks there was Irish blood galore,
As it ever is sure to be
When the Union flag is flung to the fore,
And the fight is to make men free.
There were Kellys, and Murphys, and Burkes, and
The colonel owned an O Brien strain
And the lift of the race made a glow on each face
When they met on the Texan plain.
But the man of them all with the iron will,
Man and soldier from crown to heel,
A leader and master in games that kill,
Was soft voiced Captain "Bucky" O Neill!
On watch in the valley or charging the height,
In a plunge cross the steep ravine,
San Juan or Las Guasimas, battle or fight,
Or a rush thro the jungle screen,
Where the wave of the war took the battling host
The Rough Riders fronted the storm,
And their dead on the rocks of red glory tossed
Amid spray with their life blood warm!
What wonder, then, holding his chivalrous vow
To stoop not, or crouch not or kneel,
That Death in hot anger struck full on the brow
Of the dauntless "Bucky" O Neill?
O battle that tries out the hearts of the strong,
To your test he had answered true,
Who bent not his head and balked but at wrong,
Nor murmured what billet he drew!
In the cast of the terrible dice of doom
It came fair to his hand as well
To mount the high crest where the great laurels
Or to die at the foot where he fell.
And of such are the victors, and these alone
Shall be stamped with the hero seal,
And stirrup to stirrup they ll ride to the Throne,
From the colonel to "Bucky" O Neill!

Last updated January 14, 2019