Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

The Clyde-Built Clipper - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

A ship there was, and she went to sea
(Away O, my Clyde-built clipper!)
In eighteen hundred and seventy-three,
Fine in the lines and keen in the bow,
The way they've forgotten to build 'em now,
Lofty-masted and heavily sparred,
With stunsail booms to every yard,
And flying kites both high and low
To catch the winds when they did blow
(And away, my Clyde-built clipper!)

Fastest ship on the Colonies run -
(Away O, my racing clipper!)
That was her when her time begun;
Sixteen knots she could easily do,
And thirteen knots on a bowline too;
She could show her heels to anything made
With skysails set in a favouring trade,
Or when she was running her easting down
From London River to Hobart Town
(And away, my racing clipper!)

Old shellbacks knew her near and far
(Away O, my old-time clipper!)
From Circular Quay to Mersey Bar,
And many a thundering lie they told
About her runs in the days of old;
But the time did come and the time did go,
And she grew old as we all must grow,
And the most of her gear was carried away
When caught aback in a gale one day
(And away, my old-time clipper!)

Her masts were sprung from fore to mizen
(Away O, my poor old clipper!)
And freights was poor and dues had risen,
And there warn't no sense in rigging her new,
So they laid her up for a year or two;
And there they left her, and there she lay,
And there she might have been laying to-day,
But when cargoes are many and ships are few
A ship 's a ship be she old or new
(And away, my poor old clipper!)

So in nineteen hundred and seventeen
(Away O, my brave old clipper!)
They've rigged her new and they've scraped her clean,
And sent her to sea in time of war
To sail the seas as she sailed before;
And in nineteen hundred and seventeen
She 's the same good ship as she's always been;
Her ribs are as staunch and her hull's as sound
As any you'd find the wide world round
(And away, my brave old clipper!)

The same as they were when she went to sea
(Away O, my Clyde-built clipper!)
In eighteen hundred and seventy-three,
Fine in the lines and keen in the bow,
The way they've forgotten to build 'em now,
Lofty-masted and heavily sparred,
With stunsail booms to every yard,
And flying kites both high and low
To catch the winds when they did blow -
(And away, my Clyde-built clipper!)


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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