Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Queen's Ships - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

Queens' ships, Queens' ships

Gloriana's mariners,
Putting forth to sea
Afire to beard the Spaniard
Wherever he may be …

Hanging on the Plate fleets' flanks
Like hounds upon the deer,
Roving, raiding, voyaging
Year on weary year.

Leaking, reeking, nail-sick,
Rolling home again
With their scurvy-rotten seamen
And the plunder of the Main.

Queens' ships, Queens' ships

Stately first rates
Of Good Queen Anne's day,
Plunging deep their gilded bows
In the trampled spray -

With their fighting ship's companies
That well the Frenchmen knew
And their brave bewigged admirals
Of the white, red and blues -

Rooke that gained Gibraltar,
And gallant Leake also,
Myngs and stout old Shovell
And honest Benbow…

Queens' ships, Queens' ships

Little ships and great ships,
The seven seas over,
Keeping up the long patrol
From Davis Straits to Dover.

(Franklin in the Arctic,
Gunboats at Rangoon,

at Apia
Fighting the Typhoon) -

Cruising, sounding searching,
Keeping clear the seas,
Through the little wars of Britain
And the piping times of peace.

Queens' ships, Queens' ships

Great ships, small ships,
From the wide seas beckoned,
Gather to salute
Elizabeth the Second…

Ships pass, men pass,
The old ways grow strange,
All but the old faith
That knows not any change -

The old love that alters not
Through all the years between
Valiant Tudor cockleshell
And sleek grey submarine…
Love and faith to England
And to England's Queen!

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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