Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Loss Of The Birkenhead - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Silent they stood upon that stranded wreck
Fast on a hidden shoal,
Drawn up in line upon the leaning deck
For their last muster-roll.
There was no wailing heard of wild affright,
No cry of those who drown:
All silent, in the darkness of the night,
went down.

Many there were that hour who sank below,
Drown'd in the dark cold brine,
Who ne'er had tried their worth against the foe,
Nor stood in battle-line.
But bravely, truly, as in front of fight,
Each won a hero's crown,
When the staunch
at dead of night
Off Danger Point went down.

Where lives the man dare say that all in vain
Those hero lives were spent?
Ever their proud example shall remain
A deathless monument.
Ever the tale of sacrifice shall shine
In England's long renown,
How, strong and still, drawn up in steadfast line,
Five hundred souls went down.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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