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Poem by Henry Newbolt


The Dictionary of National Biography


SITTING at times over a hearth that burns
    With dull domestic glow, 
My thought, leaving the book, gratefully turns
    To you who planned it so.

Not of the great only you deigned to tell, --
    The stars by which we steer, -- 
But lights out of the night that flashed, and fell
    To night again, are here.

Such as were those, dogs of an elder day,
    Who sacked the golden ports, 
And those later who dare grapple their prey
    Beneath the harbour forts:

Some with flag at the fore, sweeping the world
    To find an equal fight, 
And some who joined war to their trade, and hurled
    Ships of the line in flight.

Whether their fame centuries long should ring
    They cared not over-much, 
But cared greatly to serve God and the king,
    And keep the Nelson touch;

And fought to build Britain above the tide
    Of wars and windy fate; 
And passed content, leaving to us the pride
    Of lives obscurely great.



                      Henry Newbolt


Henry Newbolt's other poems:
  1. Clifton Chapel
  2. Hawke
  3. He Fell among Thieves
  4. Admirals All
  5. Drake's Drum


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