by Henry Newbolt, Sir (1862 - 1938)

The song of the sou'wester
Language: English 
The sun was lost in a leaden sky,
And the shore lay under our lee;
When a great Sou' Wester hurricane high
Came rollicking up the sea.

He played with the fleet as a boy with boats
Till out for the Downs we ran,
And he laugh'd with the roar of a thousand throats
At the militant ways of man:

  Oh! I am the enemy most of might,
  The other be who you please!
  Gunner and guns may all be right,
  Flags a-flying and armour tight,
  But I am the fellow you've first to fight -- 
  The giant that swings the seas.

A dozen of middies were down below
Chasing the X they love,
While the table curtseyed long and slow
And the lamps were giddy above.

The lesson was all of a ship and a shot,
And some of it may have been true,
But the word they heard and never forgot
Was the word of the wind that blew:

  Oh! I am the enemy most of might, etc.

The Middy with luck is a Captain soon,
With luck he may hear one day
His own big guns a-humming the tune
"'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay."

But wherever he goes, with friends or foes,
And whatever may there befall,
He'll hear for ever a voice he knows
For ever defying them all:

  Oh! I am the enemy most of might, etc.


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: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-12-06
Line count: 32
Word count: 230