Page:Rudyard Kipling's verse - Inclusive Edition 1885-1918.djvu/178

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It was our war-ship Clampherdown
  That carried an armour-belt;
But fifty feet at stern and bow
Lay bare as the paunch of the purser's sow,
  To the hail of the Nordenfeldt.

"Captain, they hack us through and through;
  "The chilled steel bolts are swift!
"We have emptied our bunkers in open sea,
"Their shrapnel bursts where our coal should be."
  And he answered, "Let her drift."

It was our war-ship Clampherdown,
  Swung round upon the tide,
Her two dumb guns glared south and north,
And the blood and the bubbling steam ran forth,
  And she ground the cruiser's side.

"Captain, they cry, the fight is done,
  "They bid you send your sword."
And he answered, "Grapple her stern and bow.
"They have asked for the steel. They shall have it now;
  "Out cutlasses and board!"

It was our war-ship Clampherdown
  Spewed up four hundred men;
And the scalded stokers yelped delight,
As they rolled in the waist and heard the fight,
  Stamp o'er their steel-walled pen.

They cleared the cruiser end to end,
  From conning-tower to hold.
They fought as they fought in Nelson's fleet;
They were stripped to the waist, they were bare to the feet,
  As it was in the days of old.