Cicely Fox Smith

(1882-1954 / England)

Merchantmen (1917)


All honour be to merchantmen,
And ships of all degree,
In warlike dangers manifold
Who sail and keep the sea, -
In peril of unlitten coast
And death-besprinkled foam,
Who daily dare a hundred deaths
To bring their cargoes home.

A liner out of Liverpool - a tanker from the Clyde -
A hard-run tramp from anywhere - a tug from Merseyside -
A cattle - boat from Birkenhead - a coaler from the Tyne -
All honour be to merchantmen while any star shall shine!

All honour be to merchantmen,
And ships both great and small,
The swift and strong to run their race
(And smite their foes withal),
The little ships that sink or swim,
And pay the pirates' toll,
Unarmoured save by valiant hearts
And strong in nought but soul.

All honour be to merchantmen
So long as tides shall run,
Who gave the seas their glorious dead
From rise to set of sun;
All honour be to merchantmen
While England's name shall stand,
Who sailed and fought, and dared and died,
And served and saved their land!

A sailing ship from Liverpool - a tanker from the Clyde -
A schooner from the West Countrie - a tug from Merseyside -
A fishing smack from Grimsby town - a coaler from the Tyne -
All honour be to merchantmen while sun and moon do shine!

Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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