Songs of the Fleet - The Song of the Sou' Wester

A poem by Henry Newbolt

The sun was lost in a leaden sky,
And the shore lay under our lee;
When a great Sou' Wester hurricane high
Came rollicking up the sea.
He played with the fleet as a boy with boats
Till out for the Downs we ran,
And he laugh'd with the roar of a thousand throats
At the militant ways of man:

Oh! I am the enemy most of might,
The other be who you please!
Gunner and guns may all be right,
Flags a-flying and armour tight,
But I am the fellow you've first to fight--
The giant that swings the seas.

A dozen of middies were down below
Chasing the X they love,
While the table curtseyed long and slow
And the lamps were giddy above.

The lesson was all of a ship and a shot,
And some of it may have been true,
But the word they heard and never forgot
Was the word of the wind that blew:

Oh! I am the enemy most of might,
The other be who you please!
Gunner and guns may all be right,
Flags a-flying and armour tight,
But I am the fellow you've first to fight--
The giant that swings the seas.

The Middy with luck is a Captain soon,
With luck he may hear one day
His own big guns a-humming the tune
"'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay."
But wherever he goes, with friends or foes,
And whatever may there befall,
He'll hear for ever a voice he knows
For ever defying them all:

Oh! I am the enemy most of might,
The other be who you please!
Gunner and guns may all be right,
Flags a-flying and armour tight,
But I am the fellow you've first to fight--
The giant that swings the seas.

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