The chivalry of the sea
Over the warring waters, beneath the wandering skies
The heart of Britain roameth, the Chivalry of the sea,
Where Spring never bringeth a flower, nor bird singeth in a tree;
Far, afar, O beloved, beyond the sight of our eyes,
Over the warring waters, beneath the stormy skies.
Staunch and valiant-hearted, to whom our toil were play,
Ye man with armour'd patience the bulwarks night and day,
Or on your iron coursers plough shuddering through the Bay,
Or neath the deluge drive the skirmishing sharks of war:
Venturous boys who leapt on the pinnace and row'd from shore,
A mother's tear in the eye, a swift farewell to say.
And a great glory at heart that none can take away.
Seldom is your home-coming; for aye your pennon flies
In unrecorded exploits on the tumultuous wave;
Till, in the storm of battle, fast-thundering upon the foe,
Ye add your kindred names to the heroes of long-ago,
And mid the blasting wrack, in the glad sudden death of the brave,
Ye are gone to return no more.-Idly our tears arise;
Too proud for praise as ye lie in your unvisited grave,
The wide-warring water, under the starry skies.
First published in The Times, August 1916
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text),
listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
Text added to the website: 2008-01-09.
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