Cicely Fox Smith

(1882-1954 / England)

Royal Naval Reserve

White Star, Cunard,
Great ships and small -
Gallant British merchantmen,
Here's to one and all!
Union Castle, Orient,
From Shanghai to Dover,
Fighting British merchantmen
All the world over!

What is the house-flag? . . .
The same that's yours and mine -
In fair weather and foul weather
The flag of the British Line!

What trade is this ye sail in? . . .
An ancient trade, and bold;
Drake's trade, Blake's trade
It was in days of old -

To mar the might of tyrants,
To keep the highway free,
And hold against all comers
The lordship of the sea!

Whence comes your right of service? . . .
By right of breed and birth!
And where had ye your schooling? . . .
In all the seas of earth;

'Tween the Lizard and Cape Leeuwin,
From Fastnet to the Horn,
We learnt the stern old lessons
None learn but seamen born.

What cargo do ye carry? . . .
Full freight of death and fame,
And the men of the White Ensign
Of the Red shall think no shame!

When the day is darkened with battle,
And the seas are sown with the dead,
The pride of the White Ensign
Shall be the pride of the Red!

Honour and pride both far and wide,
Where'er the salt tides run,
And a long sleep, the last sleep,
For them whose watch is done!

Cunard, White Star,
Great ships and small -
Gallant British merchantmen,
Here's to each and all!
Royal Mail, P. and O.,
From Shanghai to Dover,
Fighting British merchantmen
All the world over!

Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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