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The Ballad of the 'Britain's Pride'

William Watson 1858 (Burley in Wharfedale) – 1935 (Rottingdean)



It was a skipper of Lowestoft
That trawled the northern sea,
In a smack of thrice ten tons and seven,
And the
Britain's Pride
was she.
And the waves were high to windward,
And the waves were high to lee,
And he said as he lost his trawl-net,
'What is to be, will be.'

His craft she reeled and staggered,
But he headed her for the hithe,
In a storm that threatened to mow her down
As grass is mown by the scythe;
When suddenly through the cloud-rift
The moon came sailing soft,
And he saw one mast of a sunken ship
Like a dead arm held aloft.

And a voice came faint from the rigging-
'Help! help!' it whispered and sighed-
And a single form to the sole mast clung,
In the roaring darkness wide.
Oh the crew were but four hands all told,
On board of the
Britain's Pride
,
And ever 'Hold on till daybreak!'
Across the night they cried.

Slowly melted the darkness,
Slowly rose the sun,
And only the lad in the rigging
Was left, out of thirty-one,
To tell the tale of his captain,
The English sailor true,
That did his duty and met his death
As English sailors do.

Peace to the gallant spirit,
The greatly proved and tried,
And to all who have fed the hungry sea
That is still unsatisfied;
And honour and glory for ever,
While rolls the unresting tide,
To the skipper of little Lowestoft,
And the crew of the
Britain's Pride
.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:17 min read
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William Watson

William Watson, was a surgeon in the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers during the American Civil War. more…

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