The Gunboat

Out in the good, clean water where it’s blue and wide and deep,
The pride of Britain’s navy lies with thunders all asleep,
And the men they fling their British songs along the open sky,
But the little modest gunboat, she’s a-creepin’ in to die!

The First Line’s swingin’ lazy on the purple outer ring,
The proudest ships that ever kept the honor of a King!
But nosin’ down the roadway past the bones of other wrecks
Goes the doughty little gunboat with her manhood on her decks!

Oh, the First Line’s in the offing, with its shotted lightnings pent,
The proudest fleet that ever kept the King his sacrament!
But down the death-sown harbor where a ship may find her grave,
The plucky little gunboat is a-sinkin’ ’neath the wave!

Then sing your British chanteys to the ends of all the seas,
And fling your British banners to the Seven Oceans’ breeze—
But when you tell the gallant tale beneath the open sky
Give honor to the gunboat that was not too small to die!

This poem is in the public domain.