8/29/14

A Patriotic Song

The Golden Hind went bowling
Nor'westward of the Main,
And Drake drank deep of Spanish wine
And spat the lees at Spain.
Till northward on the colder coasts
The savages came out
To hail the ship with tossing spear
And tomahawk and shout:
For the red gods and the witch-doctors
Had cursed the golden grape
Bidding him yield up Malvoisie
And wine in every shape.

  And need I say that Drake complied
  And poured the wine over the side,
  Invited all the Reds inside
  And let them ransack far and wide
  The ship that was his sinful pride
  For anything his men might hide,
  That so he might escape.

The top-sails of the Victory
Turned westward on a day
Great Nelson saw his sunrise land
Like a sunset fade away.
And pledged immortal beauty
And the isle beyond the foam
In the dark wine of Oporto
That his father drank at home.
His hand and glass were lifted
When they reached the rebel shore
And Hiram Hugginburg came forth
And bade him drink no more.

  And naturally Nelson ran
  To do his bidding and began
  To empty every cup and can
  And snatch the rum from every man
  Who (ignorant of Hiram's ban)
  Had broken with him the battle-van
  From the Nile to Elsinore.

Lo, of that leaping pennant learn,
Of those world-wandering graves,
In what more modest modern style
Britannia rules the waves.

  If, loyal to some foreign cause,
  We still are careful, clause by clause,
  Obeying other countries' laws.
  We never shall be slaves.

~G.K. Chesterton