Stand by to reckon up your battleships -- Ten, twenty, thirty, there they go. Brag about your cruisers like Leviathans -- A thousand men a-piece down below. But here's just one little Admiral -- We're all of us his brothers and his sons, And he's worth, O he's worth at the very least Double all your tons and all your guns. Stand by, etc. See them on the forebridge signalling -- A score of men a-hauling hand to hand, And the whole fleet flying like the wild geese Moved by some mysterious command. Where's the mighty will that shows the way to them, The mind that sees ahead so quick and clear? He's there, Sir, walking all alone there -- The little man whose voice you never hear Stand by, etc. There are queer things that only come to sailormen; They're true, but they're never understood; And I know one thing about the Admiral, That I can't tell rightly as I should. I've been with him when hope sank under us -- He hardly seemed a mortal like the rest, I could swear that he had stars upon his uniform, And one sleeve pinned across his breast. Stand by, etc. Some day we're bound to sight the enemy, He's coming, tho' he hasn't yet a name. Keel to keel and gun to gun he'll challenge us To meet him at the Great Armada game. None knows what may be the end of it, But we'll all give our bodies and our souls To see the little Admiral a-playing him A rubber of the old Long Bowls! Stand by, etc.
- by Henry Newbolt, Sir (1862 - 1938), "The little admiral", appears in Poems: New and Old, in Songs of the Fleet, no. 4, first published 1912 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Charles Villiers Stanford, Sir (1852 - 1924), "The little admiral", published 1910 [baritone, mixed chorus, and orchestra], from Songs of the Fleet, no. 4. [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-12-06
Line count: 36
Word count: 263