Songs of the Fleet - The Little Admiral

A poem by Henry Newbolt

Stand by to reckon up your battleships
Ten, twenty, thirty, there they go.
Brag about your cruisers like Leviathans--
A thousand men a-piece down below.
But here's just one little Admiral
We're all of us his brothers and his sons,
And he's worth, O he's worth at the very least
Double all your tons and all your guns.

Stand by, etc.


See them on the forebridge signalling--
A score of men a-hauling hand to hand,
And the whole fleet flying like the wild geese
Moved by some mysterious command.
Where's the mighty will that shows the way to them,
The mind that sees ahead so quick and clear?
He's there, Sir, walking all alone there--
The little man whose voice you never hear.

Stand by, etc.


There are queer things that only come to sailormen;
They're true, but they're never understood;
And I know one thing about the Admiral,
That I can't tell rightly as I should.
I've been with him when hope sank under us--
He hardly seemed a mortal like the rest,
I could swear that he had stars upon his uniform,
And one sleeve pinned across his breast.

Stand by, etc.


Some day we're bound to sight the enemy,
He's coming, tho' he hasn't yet a name.
Keel to keel and gun to gun he'll challenge us
To meet him at the Great Armada game.
None knows what may be the end of it,
But we'll all give our bodies and our souls
To see the little Admiral a-playing him
A rubber of the old Long Bowls!

Stand by, etc.

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