News: ďOver the graves of the Druids and under the wreck of Rome,
Rudely but surely they bedded the plinth of the days to come.
Behind the feet of the Legions and before the Norsemanís ire
Rudely but greatly begat they the framing of State and Shire
Rudely but deeply they laboured, and their labour stand till now.
If we trace on ancient headlands the twist of their eight-ox plough.Ē

-Rudyard Kipling
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Author Topic: A farewell verse for Chatham  (Read 2701 times)

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  • Guest
Re: A farewell verse for Chatham
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2012, 21:17:11 »
How lovely.  As the descendant of Dockyard workers I think that's a really moving poem.

It reminds me of the old song "Farewell Spanish Ladies," which dates from the end of the Napoleonic wars and laments the parting of British soldiers  from their Spanish wives:

Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish Ladies,
Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain
We've received orders to sail home to England
But I know in my heart I'll return once again.


  • Guest
Re: A farewell verse for Chatham
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2012, 16:04:21 »
Great poem! If it's the same Philip Howard I've seen his journalism but I didn't know he wrote verse.

23 January 1982 was my 21st birthday - and my grandfather worked at Chatham...

Offline cliveh

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A farewell verse for Chatham
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2012, 12:36:00 »
The Seamanís Adieu to Chatham Royal Dockyard

Goodbye and Farewell to you, Ladies of Chatham;
Farewell and Goodbye to you, Fair Maids of Kent;
For four centuries now bold tars have been at Ďem,
And now theyíve decided itís time that we went.

Great Harry established our navyís first dockyard;
Oriana expanded the fold of her ships;
Chatham built, and supplied, and victualled, and mustered us
When Spainís mortal moon endured her eclipse.

Chathamís the dock of our sea-faring sea-knights;
Hawkins and Drake, our bravest and best.
They built almshouses for decayed seamen and shipwrights;
They founded our charity called Chatham Chest.

Dutchie de Ruyter came up the Medway;
Dutchie de Ruyter burnt Chatham down.
But we saw him off, as we saw off Napoleon;
Chathamís the sea-gate that guards London town.

If ever the Dutchman comes back against Chatham,
You have only to blow on an old Chatham fife.
Four Hundred years wait to have at him,
As all those dead seamen and ships come to life.

A verse by Phillip Howard published in The Times of 23rd January, 1982.



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