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Dana Burnet

1888–1962

Dana Burnet was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 3, 1888. He graduated from Cornell University in 1911. He worked as a news reporter at The New York Evening Sun, where he also published many poems. He was the author of Poems (Harper & Brothers, 1915), which includes several poems about World War I, as well as several works of prose. Burnet died in 1962.

By This Poet

1

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!

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