Patrick Regan has kindly shared the material from his Robert Buchanan site with readers of the Victorian Web, who may wish to consult the original.

                                                            I.

The Devil's* will is the Devil's still, where-ever the Devil may be —
He used to delight in the thick of the fight, whether on land or sea;
'Twas difficult for mortal men to know what side he took,
When the wrath of the Lord from heaven was poured and the whole Creation shook;
Yet for many a day the Devil's way was ever mighty and grand,
'Mid the swift sword's flash and the cannon's crash he boldly took his stand:
Such perilous work he has learn'd to shirk, and quiet at home sits he,
Having turn'd himself for the love of pelf to a Charter'd Companie!

                                                            II.

'Ho! better far than the work of War, and the storm and stress of strife,
Is to rest at home, while others roam,' he murmurs to Sin, his wife!
'Tho' the fiends my Sons make Gatling guns, they're Christians to the core,
And they love the range of the Stock Exchange far better than battle-roar.
They are spared, in truth, much strife uncouth and trouble by field and flood,
Since the work of Hell is done so well by creatures of flesh and blood;
And I think on the whole,' says the grim old Soul, ''tis better for you and me
That I've turned myself, ere laid on the shelf, to a Charter'd Companie!

                                                            III.

'The thin red line was doubtless fine as it crept across the plain,
While the thick fire ran from the black Redan and broke it again and again,
But the hearts of men throbb'd bravely then, and their souls could do and dare,
'Mid the thick of the fight, in my despite, God found out Heroes there!
The Flag of England waved on high, and the thin red line crept on,
And I felt, as it flashed along to die, my occupation gone!
O'er a brave man's soul I had no control in those old days,' said he,
'So I've turned myself, ere laid on the shelf, to a Charter'd Companie!

                                                            IV.

'The Flag of England still doth blow and flings the sunlight back,
But the line that creepeth now below is changed to a line of black!
Wherever the Flag of England blows, down go all other flags,
Wherever the line of black print goes, the British Bulldog brags!
The newspaper, my dear, is best to further such work as mine, —
My blessing rest, north, south, east, west, on the thin black penny-a-line!
For my work is done 'neath moon or sun, by men and not by me,
Now I've changed myself, in the reign of the Guelph, to a Charter'd Companie!

                                                            V.

'Of Church and of State let others prate, let martyr'd thousands moan, —
I'm responsible, I beg to state, to my shareholders alone!
The Flag of England may rot and fall, both Church and State may end,
Whate'er befall, I laugh at it all, if I pay a dividend!
But O my dear, it is very clear that the thing is working well —
When they hunt the black man down like deer, we devils rejoice in Hell!
'Tis loot, loot, loot, as they slaughter and shoot out yonder across the sea,
Now I've turned myself, like a gamesome elf, to a Charter'd Companie!

                                                            VI.

'Just study, my dear, the record here, of the mighty deeds they've done —
Hundreds, en masse, mowed down like grass, to an English loss of one!
Then loot, loot, loot, as they slaughter and shoot, to the shrieks of the naked foe,
While murder and greed on the fallen feed, right up my stock must go!
And the best of the lark, you'll be pleased to mark, is the counter-jumper's cry,
As he clutches his shares and mumbles his prayers to the Jingo-God on high!
With Bible and Gun the work is done both here and across the sea,
Now I've turned myself, in the reign of the Guelph, to a Charter'd Companie!'

                                                            VII.

The Devil's will is the Devil's still, though wrought in a Christian land,
He chuckles low and laughs his fill, with the latest news in hand;
Nor God nor man can mar his plan so long as the markets thrive,
Tho' the Flag be stained and the Creed profaned, he keepeth the game alive!
'The Flag of England may rot and fall, both Church and State may end,
Whatever befall, I laugh at it all, if I pay a dividend!
Right glad I dwell where I make my Hell, in the white man's heart,' cries he,
'Now I've turned myself, for the love of pelf, to a Charter'd Companie!'

— — — — — — — — —

*Not the great Æn, whom I have vindicated,
    Call'd falsely Devil by the blind and base,
But Belial, a creature execrated
    Except in Church and in the marketplace. — R. B.

(From Song's of Empire)


Victorian Web Robert Buchanan Contents

Last modified 27 September 2002