The Hundredth Year

A poem by Henry Newbolt

"Drake, and Blake, and Nelson's mighty name."


The stars were faint in heaven
That saw the Old Year die,
The dream-white mist of Devon
Shut in the seaward sky:
Before the dawn's unveiling
I heard three voices hailing,
I saw three ships come sailing
With lanterns gleaming high.

The first he cried defiance--
A full-mouthed voice and bold--
"On God be our reliance,
Our hope the Spaniard's gold!
With a still, stern ambuscado,
With a roaring escalado,
We'll sack their Eldorado
And storm their dungeon hold!"

Then slowly spake the second--
A great sad voice and deep--
"When all your gold is reckoned,
There is but this to keep:

To stay the foe from fooling,
To learn the heathen schooling,
To live and die sea-ruling,
And home at last to sleep."

But the third matched in beauty
The dawn that flushed afar;
"O sons of England, Duty
Is England's morning star:
Then Fame's eternal splendour
Be theirs who well defend her,
And theirs who fain would bend her
The night of Trafalgar!"

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