Here all the day she swings from tide to tide,
Here all night long she tugs a rusted chain,
A masterless hulk that was a ship of pride,
Yet unashamed: her memories remain.
It was Nelson in the `Captain', Cape St. Vincent
With the `Vanguard' leading s'uth'ard in the haze --
Little Jervis and the Spaniards and the fight that was to
Twenty-seven Spanish battleships, great bullies of the sea,
And the `Captain' there to find her day of days.
Right into them the `Vanguard' leads, but with
a sudden tack
The Spaniards double swiftly on their trail;
Now Jervis overshoots his mark, like some too eager pack,
He will not overtake them, haste he e'er so greatly back,
But Nelson and the `Captain' will not fail.
Like a tigress on her quarry leaps the `Captain'
from her place,
To lie across the fleeing squadron's way:
Heavy odds and heavy onslaught, gun to gun and face to face,
Win the ship a name of glory, win the men a death of grace,
For a little hold the Spanish fleet in play.
Ended now the "Captain"'s battle,
stricken sore she falls aside
Holding still her foemen, beaten to the knee:
As the `Vanguard' drifted past her, "Well done, `Captain',"
Rang the cheers of men that conquered, ran the blood of men
And the ship had won her immortality.
Lo! here her progeny of steel and steam,
A funnelled monster at her mooring swings:
Still, in our hearts, we see her pennant stream,
And "Well done, `Captain'," like a trumpet rings.