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Best Famous Sir Henry Newbolt Poems

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by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

Drakes Drum

 Drake he's in his hammock an' a thousand miles away, 
(Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?) 
Slung atween the round shot in Nombre Dios Bay, 
An' dreamin' arl the time O' Plymouth Hoe.
Yarnder lumes the Island, yarnder lie the ships, Wi' sailor lads a-dancing' heel-an'-toe, An' the shore-lights flashin', an' the night-tide dashin', He sees et arl so plainly as he saw et long ago.
Drake he was a Devon man, an' ruled the Devon seas, (Capten, art tha' sleepin' there below?) Roving' tho' his death fell, he went wi' heart at ease, A' dreamin' arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
"Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore, Strike et when your powder's runnin' low; If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port o' Heaven, An' drum them up the Channel as we drumm'd them long ago.
" Drake he's in his hammock till the great Armadas come, (Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?) Slung atween the round shot, listenin' for the drum, An' dreamin arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
Call him on the deep sea, call him up the Sound, Call him when ye sail to meet the foe; Where the old trade's plyin' an' the old flag flyin' They shall find him ware an' wakin', as they found him long ago!


by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

Ireland Ireland

 Down thy valleys, Ireland, Ireland,
Down thy valleys green and sad,
Still thy spirit wanders wailing,
Wanders wailing, wanders mad.
Long ago that anguish took thee, Ireland, Ireland, green and fair, Spoilers strong in darkness took thee, Broke thy heart and left thee there.
Down thy valleys, Ireland, Ireland, Still thy spirit wanders mad; All too late they love that wronged thee, Ireland, Ireland, green and sad.


by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

Vita? Lampada

 There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night -- 
Ten to make and the match to win -- 
A bumping pitch and a blinding light, 
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat, Or the selfish hope of a season's fame, But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote "Play up! play up! and play the game!" The sand of the desert is sodden red, -- Red with the wreck of a square that broke; -- The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead, And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks, And England's far, and Honour a name, But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks, "Play up! play up! and play the game!" This is the word that year by year While in her place the School is set Every one of her sons must hear, And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind Bear through life like a torch in flame, And falling fling to the host behind -- "Play up! play up! and play the game!"


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by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

The Fighting T?m?raire

 It was eight bells ringing, 
For the morning watch was done, 
And the gunner's lads were singing 
As they polished every gun.
It was eight bells ringing, And the gunner's lads were singing, For the ship she rode a-swinging, As they polished every gun.
Oh! to see the linstock lighting, T?m?raire! T?m?raire! Oh! to hear the round shot biting, T?m?raire! T?m?raire! Oh! to see the linstock lighting, And to hear the round shot biting, For we're all in love with fighting On the fighting T?m?raire.
It was noontide ringing, And the battle just begun, When the ship her way was winging, As they loaded every gun.
It was noontide ringing, When the ship her way was winging, And the gunner's lads were singing As they loaded every gun.
There'll be many grim and gory, T?m?raire! T?m?raire! There'll be few to tell the story, T?m?raire! T?m?raire! There'll be many grim and gory, There'll be few to tell the story, But we'll all be one in glory With the Fighting T?m?raire.
There's a far bell ringing At the setting of the sun, And a phantom voice is singing Of the great days done.
There's a far bell ringing, And a phantom voice is singing Of renown for ever clinging To the great days done.
Now the sunset breezes shiver, T?m?raire! T?m?raire! And she's fading down the river, T?m?raire! T?m?raire! Now the sunset's breezes shiver, And she's fading down the river, But in England's song for ever She's the Fighting T?m?raire.


by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

Clifton Chapel

 This is the Chapel: here, my son,
Your father thought the thoughts of youth,
And heard the words that one by one
The touch of Life has turn’d to truth.
Here in a day that is not far, You too may speak with noble ghosts Of manhood and the vows of war You made before the Lord of Hosts.
To set the cause above renown, To love the game beyond the prize, To honour, while you strike him down, The foe that comes with fearless eyes; To count the life of battle good, And dear the land that gave you birth, And dearer yet the brotherhood That binds the brave of all the earth.
— My son, the oath is yours: the end Is His, Who built the world of strife, Who gave His children Pain for friend, And Death for surest hope of life.
To-day and here the fight’s begun, Of the great fellowship you’re free; Henceforth the School and you are one, And what You are, the race shall be.
God send you fortune: yet be sure, Among the lights that gleam and pass, You’ll live to follow none more pure Than that which glows on yonder brass: ‘Qui procul hinc,’ the legend’s writ,— The frontier-grave is far away— ‘Qui ante diem periit: Sed miles, sed pro patria.


by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

A Letter From the Front

 I was out early to-day, spying about 
From the top of a haystack -- such a lovely morning -- 
And when I mounted again to canter back 
I saw across a field in the broad sunlight 
A young Gunner Subaltern, stalking along 
With a rook-rifle held at the read, and -- would you believe it? -- 
A domestic cat, soberly marching beside him.
So I laughed, and felt quite well disposed to the youngster, And shouted out "the top of the morning" to him, And wished him "Good sport!" -- and then I remembered My rank, and his, and what I ought to be doing: And I rode nearer, and added, "I can only suppose You have not seen the Commander-in-Chief's order Forbidding English officers to annoy their Allies By hunting and shooting.
" But he stood and saluted And said earnestly, "I beg your pardon, Sir, I was only going out to shoot a sparrow To feed my cat with.
" So there was the whole picture, The lovely early morning, the occasional shell Screeching and scattering past us, the empty landscape, -- Empty, except for the young Gunner saluting, And the cat, anxiously watching his every movement.
I may be wrong, or I may have told it badly, But it struck me as being extremely ludicrous.


by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

Ionicus

 With failing feet and shoulders bowed 
Beneath the weight of happier days, 
He lagged among the heedless crowd, 
Or crept along suburban ways.
But still through all his heart was young, A courage, a pride, a rapture, sprung Of the strength and splendour of England's war.
From ill-requited toil he turned To ride with Picton and with Pack, Among his grammars inly burned To storm the Afghan mountain-track.
When midnight chimed, before Quebec He watched with Wolfe till he morning star; At noon he saw from Victory's deck The sweep and splendour of England's war.
Beyond the book his teaching sped, He left on whom he taught the trace Of kinship with the deathless dead, And faith in all the Island race.
He passed : his life a tangle seemed, His age from fame and power was far; But his heart was night to the end, and dreamed Of the sound and splendour of England's war.


by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

The Schoolfellow

 Our game was his but yesteryear; 
We wished him back; we could not know 
The self-same hour we missed him here 
He led the line that broke the foe.
Blood-red behind our guarded posts Sank as of old and dying day; The battle ceased; the mingled hosts Weary and cheery went their way: "To-morrow well may bring," we said, "As fair a fight, as clear a sun.
" Dear Lad, before the world was sped, For evermore thy goal was won.


by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

The Toy Band

 A Song of the Great Retreat

Dreary lay the long road, dreary lay the town, 
Lights out and never a glint o' moon: 
Weary lay the stragglers, half a thousand down, 
Sad sighed the weary big Dragoon.
"Oh! if I'd a drum here to make them take the road again, Oh! if I'd a fife to wheedle, Come, boys, come! You that mean to fight it out, wake and take your load again, Fall in! Fall in! Follow the fife and drum! "Hey, but here's a toy shop, here's a drum for me, Penny whistles too to play the tune! Half a thousand dead men soon shall hear and see We're a band!" said the weary big Dragoon.
Rubadub! Rubadub! Wake and take the road again, Wheedle-deedle-deedle-dee, Come, boys, come! You that mean to fight it out, wake and take your load again, Fall in! Fall in! Follow the fife and drum!" Cheerly goes the dark road, cheerly goes the night, Cheerly goes the blood to keep the beat; Half a thousand dead men marching on to fight With a little penny drum to lift their feet.
Rubadub! Rubadub! Wake, and take the raod again, Wheedle-deedle-deedle-dee, Come, boys, come! You that mean to fight it out, wake and take your load again, Fall in! Fall in! Follow the fife and drum! As long as there's an Englishman to ask a tale of me, As long as I can tell the tale aright, We'll not forget the penny whistle's wheedle-deedle-dee And the big Dragoon a-beating down the night, Rubadub! Rubadub! Wake and take the road again, Wheedle-deedle-deedle-dee, Come, boys, come! You that mean to fight it out, wake and take your load again, Fall in! Fall in! Follow the fife, and drum!


by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

The War Films

 O living pictures of the dead, 
O songs without a sound, 
O fellowship whose phantom tread 
Hallows a phantom ground -- 
How in a gleam have these revealed 
The faith we had not found.
We have sought God in a cloudy Heaven, We have passed by God on earth: His seven sins and his sorrows seven, His wayworn mood and mirth, Like a ragged cloak have hid from us The secret of his birth.
Brother of men, when now I see The lads go forth in line, Thou knowest my heart is hungry in me As for thy bread and wine; Thou knowest my heart is bowed in me To take their death for mine.


by Sir Henry Newbolt | |

The Nightjar

 We loved our nightjar, but she would not stay with us.
We had found her lying as dead, but soft and warm, Under the apple tree beside the old thatched wall.
Two days we kept her in a basket by the fire, Fed her, and thought she well might live – till suddenly I the very moment of most confiding hope She arised herself all tense, qivered and drooped and died.
Tears sprang into my eyes- why not? The heart of man Soon sets itself to love a living companion, The more so if by chance it asks some care of him.
And this one had the kind of loveliness that goes Far deeper than the optic nerve- full fathom five To the soul’socean cave, where Wonder and Reason Tell their alternate dreams of how the world was made.
So wonderful she was-her wings the wings of night But powdered here and therewith tiny golden clouds And wave-line markings like sea-ripples on the sand.
O how I wish I might never forget that bird- Never! But even now, like all beauty of earth, She is fading from me into the dusk of Time.