Vitai Lampada- a spot of patriotic poetry.

Songs and poetry relating to the RFC and RAF or aviation in general

Vitai Lampada- a spot of patriotic poetry.

Postby The Professor » 02 Sep 2013, 23:54

I remember once my master in school reading this out from across the pulpit in Chapel- everyone else was, as is the norm, asleep, sniggering under their hymnals or staring vacantly out of the window, but I was hooked, and hanging off every word. It has a certain Bigglesian quality to it.

Vitai Lampada
(Also occasionally known as "They Pass On The Torch of Life")

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night --
Ten to make and the match to win --
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote --
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

The sand of the desert is sodden red, --
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; --
The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the School is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind --
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

by Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938)
You poor prune!
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Re: Vitai Lampada- a spot of patriotic poetry.

Postby SaintedAunt » 03 Sep 2013, 08:59

The Professor wrote:There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night --
Ten to make and the match to win --
...
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote --
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'


SUCH a famous piece - and you are right about the Bigglesian quality.
The corners of Biggles' mouth twitched. "It's a sad thing to grow old without learning a thing or two." [Biggles Hunts Big Game]
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