by Henry Newbolt, Sir (1862 - 1938)

The "Old Superb"
Language: English 
The wind was rising easterly, the morning sky was blue,
The Straits before us open'd wide and free;
We look'd towards the Admiral, where high the Peter flew,
And all our hearts were dancing like the sea.

The French are gone to Martinique with four-and-twenty sail,
The "Old Superb" is old and foul and slow;
But the French are gone to Martinique, and Nelson's on the trail,
And where he goes the "Old Superb" must go.

So Westward Ho! for Trinidad, and Eastward Ho! for Spain,
And "Ship Ahoy!" a hundred times a day;
Round the world if need be, and round the world again
With a lame duck lagging, lagging all the way.

The "Old Superb" was barnacled and green as grass below,
Her sticks were only fit for stirring grog;
The pride of all her midshipmen was silent long ago,
And long ago they ceased to heave the log,

Four year out from home she was, and ne'er a week in port,
And nothing save the guns aboard her bright;
But Captain Keats he knew the game, and swore to share the sport,
For he never yet came in too late to fight.

So Westward Ho! for Trinidad, and Eastward Ho! for Spain,
And "Ship Ahoy!" a hundred times a day;
Round the world if need be, and round the world again
With a lame duck lagging, lagging all the way.

"Now up, my lads," the Captain cried, "for sure the case were hard
If longest out were first to fall behind;
Aloft, aloft with studding sails, and lash them to the yard,
For night and day the trades are driving blind."

So all day long and all day long behind the fleet we crept,
And how we fretted none but Nelson guessed;
But ev'ry nigh the "Old Superb" she sailed when others slept,
Till we ran the French to earth with all the rest.

O 'twas Westward Ho! for Trinidad, and Eastward Ho! for Spain,
And "Ship Ahoy!" a hundred times a day;
Round the world if need be, and round the world again
With a lame duck lagging, lagging all the way.

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)


Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 36
Word count: 356