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A Year of Poetry – Day 268

It was eight bells ringing,
For the morning watch was done,
And the gunner’s lads were singing
As they polished every gun.
It was eight bells ringing,
And the gunner’s lads were singing,
For the ship she rode a-swinging,
As they polished every gun.

Oh! to see the linstock lighting,
Téméraire! Téméraire!
Oh! to hear the round shot biting,
Téméraire! Téméraire!
Oh! to see the linstock lighting,
And to hear the round shot biting,
For we’re all in love with fighting
On the fighting Téméraire.

It was noontide ringing,
And the battle just begun,
When the ship her way was winging,
As they loaded every gun.
It was noontide ringing,
When the ship her way was winging,
And the gunner’s lads were singing
As they loaded every gun.

There’ll be many grim and gory,
Téméraire! Téméraire!
There’ll be few to tell the story,
Téméraire! Téméraire!
There’ll be many grim and gory,
There’ll be few to tell the story,
But we’ll all be one in glory
With the Fighting Téméraire.

There’s a far bell ringing
At the setting of the sun,
And a phantom voice is singing
Of the great days done.
There’s a far bell ringing,
And a phantom voice is singing
Of renown for ever clinging
To the great days done.

Now the sunset breezes shiver,
Téméraire! Téméraire!
And she’s fading down the river,
Téméraire! Téméraire!
Now the sunset’s breezes shiver,
And she’s fading down the river,
But in England’s song for ever
She’s the Fighting Téméraire.

— Sir Henry Newbolt, The Fighting Temeraire

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