Songs of the Fleet – The Middle Watch

by Henry John Newbolt, Sir
1862-1938

In a blue dusk the ship astern
Uplifts her slender spars,
With golden lights that seem to burn

John Henry Newbolt

John Henry Newbolt


Among the silver stars.
Like fleets along a cloudy shore
The constellations creep,
Like planets on the ocean floor
Our silent course we keep.

And over the endless plain,
Out of the night forlorn
Rises a faint refrain,
A song of the day to be born–
Watch, oh watch till ye find again
Life and the land of morn.

From a dim West to a dark East
Our lines unwavering head,
As if their motion long had ceased
And Time itself were dead.

Vainly we watch the deep below,
Vainly the void above,
They died a thousand years ago–
Life and the land we love.

But over the endless plain,
Out of the night forlorn
Rises a faint refrain,
A song of the day to be born–
Watch, oh watch till ye find again
Life and the land of morn.

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