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Poem by Arthur Conan Doyle


Songs of Action (1898). 20. The Home-Coming of the 'Eurydice'


[Lost, with her crew of three hundred boys, on the last day of her
voyage, March 23, 1876.  She foundered off Portsmouth, from which
town many of the boys came.]


Up with the royals that top the white spread of her!
   	Press her and dress her, and drive through the foam;
The Islands to port, and the mainland ahead of her,
   	Hey for the Warner and Hayling and Home!

Bosun, O Bosun, just look at the green of it!
   Look at the red cattle down by the hedge!
Look at the farmsteading  all that is seen of it,
   One little gable end over the edge!

Lord! the tongues of them clattering, clattering,
   All growing wild at a peep of the Wight;
Aye, sir, aye, it has set them all chattering,
   Thinking of home and their mothers tonight.

Spread the topgallants  oh, lay them out lustily!
   What though it darken oer Netherby Combe?
Tis but the valley wind, puffing so gustily 
   On for the Warner and Hayling and Home!

Bosun, O Bosun, just see the long slope of it!
   Culver is there, with the cliff and the light.
Tell us, oh tell us, now is there a hope of it?
   Shall we have leave for our homes for to-night?

Tut, the clack of them!  Steadily!  Steadily!
   Aye, as you say, sir, theyre little ones still;
One long reach should open it readily,
   Round by St. Helens and under the hill.

The Spit and the Nab are the gates of the promise,
   Their mothers to them  and to us its our wives.
Ive sailed forty years, and  By God its upon us!
   Down royals, Down topsles, down, down, for your lives!

A grey swirl of snow with the squall at the back of it,
   Heeling her, reeling her, beating her down!
A gleam of her bends in the thick of the wrack of it,
   A flutter of white in the eddies of brown.

It broke in one moment of blizzard and blindness;
   The next, like a foul bat, it flapped on its way.
But our ship and our boys!  Gracious Lord, in your kindness,
   Give help to the mothers who need it to-day!

Give help to the women who wait by the water,
   Who stand on the Hard with their eyes past the Wight.
Ah! whisper it gently, you sister or daughter,
   Our boys are all gathered at home for to-night.



Arthur Conan Doyle


Arthur Conan Doyle's other poems:
  1. Songs of the Road (1911). 8. The Outcasts
  2. Songs of the Road (1911). 17. Man's Limitation
  3. Songs of the Road (1911). 4. A Post-Impressionist
  4. Songs of the Road (1911). 27. Sexagenarius Loquitur
  5. The Guards Came Through (1919). 2. Victrix


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