Sheffield Independent, 16 December, 1896, p. 2

Canon Rawnsley, whose facility in rhyming melodiously, aptly, and at times powerfully, on any theme that appeals to his faith or sentiment, must surely be known to nearly all newspaper readers, has here brought together a large number of poems which he has been moved to write when he has read records of brave deeds in the current issues of the newspapers. The book, in short, is a record in verse of all these modern instances of heroism of which we feel proud from time to time, but which we quickly forget. The scenes of the stirring incidents which Canon Rawnsley so felicitously recalls are dispersed over the whole world – wide as the spread of the race. We are taken from the Crimea to Zululand, from Chitral to the Samoan Islands. It is not only in war and on the sea that brave deeds worthy of the poet’s commendation are found, but on the railway, in mines, at fires, and wherever death threatens and stout-hearted men do not fear it, but risk their lives for honour that is better than life. Very stirring are Canon Rawnsley’s verses, for his heart is a-glow whenever he hears of heroism. We hope the book will remind other writers who can “build the lofty volume,” that there are neglected themes awaiting them far more suitable than the airy nothings on which they so often squander their ingenuity with unmoved hearts.

Carlisle Patriot, 22 January, 1897, p. 6

In some respects we live in a prosaic age, and we live (most of us) prosaic lives. But occasionally our attention is arrested, it may be by a thrilling narrative, more often by a newspaper paragraph, which tells of some act of more than usual daring, told often in very simple language and as little more than an ordinary occurrence, yet possessing in itself so much of the heroic, and so imbued with the spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion to duty, that for a moment at least we are fired with a generous flush, and we are proud to think that we also are of the same kindred or same race. If the act is accomplished “at the battle’s front” mid “the pride, pomp, and circumstances of glorious war,” its is duly recorded and rewarded with the Victoria Cross, but too often when the deed is done under less brilliant conditions and surroundings, its record is scanty, its recognition brief and sadly inadequate; too often it passes unknown except to a very limited circle, and in a short time it fades into the limbo of the past.

In this little volume, Canon Rawnsley has been prompted to use his facile and graceful poetic pen to give some of the brave deeds done in humble life, as well as some of those which have already attracted a large share of public attention, a wider sphere of influence and a more enduring honour. The author has selected no less than thirty-five incidents as subjects for his muse. They cover a wide field, showing active sympathy and recognition of heroism in all classes, from the battlefields of the Crimea, Chitral, and Ulundi to the brave rescuer of the entombed miners, the gallant railway platelayers who saved the train at the cost of their own lives, gallant heroes of our glorious Navy, others whose record may be found in annals of the devoted fire brigade or the industrial ranks of the crowded and often unlovely streets and lanes of our large towns. The chronicles are infectious in their glow of enthusiasm, and, if widely read, ought to do something as a training in heroism. The author might have taken for his motto Longfellow’s lines—

Where’er a noble deed is wrought,
Where’er is spoken a noble thought,
Our hearts in glad surprise
To higher levels rise.

The greatest of our artistic idealists, Mr. Watts, furnishes a beautiful frontispiece.