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Major-General Charles George Gordon
Plays, Verse Plays & Musicals
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Chinese Gordon                * Available 2009-2010 *
This is the remarkable story of how the young British officer, Major Charles Gordon, as general of the reigning Ching dynasty’s Ever-Victorious Army, saved its imperial throne from the ‘Christian’ Taiping rebels, led by the Cantonese Christian  Hung Hsui, in one of history’s most critical civil wars in 1862. He later became known as General Gordon of Khartoum.

This play, written for 9 actors, was performed in the Australian Theatre, Lennox St. Newtown in 1973.

Prologue
Taiping ‘Emperor’ Hung Hsui in his capital, Nanjing

I was sick unto death, and fallen in despair,
My future nothing. I twice failed my exams
a disgrace to my family’s great sacrifice.
No one wanted me. Yet the British missionary
said I was precious in the sight of the Lord.

In the dream of my sickness I went to Heaven
where Jesus Christ claimed me as his brother
and gave me a magical sword to destroy demons.
I returned to earth to denounce and destroy false gods
to spread the word of the One True God
and make a heavenly kingdom on earth

Like Christ I preached, saying ‘come unto me.
You shall be equal all land and goods in common.
They came, the landless and the legions of the lost.
We fought for our Kingdom, fought for peace.
The Manchus slew us in our multitudes
but still more legions joined our Army of the Lord
Now half of China is ours, the rest will fall.
 I, the Heavenly King, will rule it all.

After General Gordon defeated the Taiping ‘Emperor’ Hung Hsui and brought the civil war that had wracked China for years to an end,  Governor Li Hung Chang presented General Gordon with the highest honour possible to be bestowed in the Chinese Empire, the Order of the Yellow Jacket, on behalf of the dynastic Manchu Emperor. So he became only one of 59 others in the entire empire to be second in rank to the Emperor himself.

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