Martin Farquhar Tupper

(July 17, 1810 - November 1889 / London)

A Dozen Ballads About White Slavery. Ix. Our National Defenders - Poem by Martin Farquhar Tupper

All honour to Discipline! - happy the land
Whose soldiers and sailors
Whose captains and colonels are strict in command,
And guide their strong steeds with a resolute hand
By Order, the rule of the day.

All praise to the captain,- whose spirited crew
Is ready by noon or by night
With cheerful alacrity,- steadily too,-
His daring and masculine bidding to do
In spite of the storm or the fight!

All praise to the colonel,- whose troops well in hand
At double-quick rush at the guns,
Or like a built wall on the battlefield stand,
Or hold without malice an enemy's land
As dear British mothers' own sons!

But, scorn for yon Admiral, bitter old Salt,
Who swears 'he'll make hell of his ship!'
Who flogs honest Jack for the hint of a fault,
And brands the ship's company 'Slaves'- to exalt
The pride of his heart and his lip.

Poor Jack is right ready to watch and to work,
And any one's servant to be,
All dangers to dare, and no duty to shirk,-
But cannot put up with that terrible Turk
A quarter-deck tyrant at sea!

Give, give him his comforts; for hardships enough
Must ever be mates of poor Jack;
But his heart is as soft as his bosom is rough
And he feels like a woman the curse or the cuff
And the mark of the cat on his back!

And - General Martinet, one little verse
To you and your majors is due:
Be kind to your men; for no blunder is worse
Than still to be flinging the cuff or the curse
At Englishmen honest as you!

Don't tease them with pipeclay; nor drill them too hard;
Nor shave their moustachios away,-
Why shouldn't their beards be 'outparding the pard?'-
Nor stiffen their stocks on parade, nor on guard;
Nor scold them by night and by day.

Let Jack and his brother, who fight for us, find
They serve under true-hearted men,
As officers strict, but as gentlemen kind,
And so to each Service good treatment shall bind
Our champions most heartily then!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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