Pirates’ chorus

From a short school play

We sing of sunken treasure-ships in coral-girt lagoons,
And ancient casquets burst with weight of ducats and dubloons,
Great galleons and argosies of ingots from Peru,
And the secret of El Dorado that a vanished people knew.

To sack the tinkling mule-trains from the Gulf of Panama,
With their saddle-bags of silver delved in mountain mines afar,
To rake the stately galleons, the masts aflame with flags,
And ballasted below with golden dollar-bits in bags.

O the Dons in Cartagena and the French in Martinique!
And death to those who waver, and gold for those who seek;
To hazard stakes with fortune and to cheat her once again,
And after that a haven close beside the Spanish Main.

We wander, free as sea-birds, to lands no sea-bird knows,
Where palm-trees stand all leafy green amid the winter snows,
And strange ungodly sights and wonders fright the straining eyes;
But always we are sailormen and children of the skies

School poems

  • Now virgin forest

    Where now the virgin forest reigns
    In solitary state

  • Quiet

    Where wooded hills run downward to the sea,
    Beside a land-locked harbour, still and deep

  • Voyages

    A merchant ship came sailing here today,
    Her timbers stained, her cordage worn and old

  • Sunday morning

    I wake to the sound of the chapel Bell,
    And I roll from my bed at dawning

  • Re-Awakening

    The dappled sunlight heard those airy footsteps on the grass,
       Rustling in the coppice and
       Dancing on the sward.

  • The Saturday Party

    The dusky storm and the grey half-light,
    The whispered word and a muffled tread

  • Grimy ships

    When the grimy ships go down,
    Down the river to the sea
    Dirty decks and funnels brown

  • Cambyses

    Cambyses is the name men call me. King
    Of Persia once and Egypt.

  • Pirates’ chorus

    We sing of sunken treasure-ships in coral-girt lagoons,
    And ancient casquets burst with weight of ducats and dubloons,

  • Life and Death

    Look where he lies, a clod of earth at best,
    Yet colder than a clod, for where there shone

  • Lines written in meditation upon the recent moth plague

    Moths! Moths! Moths!
    In trouser-leg, singlet and shirt..

  • Easter

    I stood in the street in the morning,
    On a blue and shiny day.

  • Ballade of Suburbia

    I’ve never killed a Marquis in a fight,
    Nor led a lovely lady’s feet astray

  • On first venturing upon a switchback railway

    O mortal man, how fleeting is true bliss,
    So eager sought, so often seeming found

  • To A. E. Houseman

    Full many wise old men have said
       That this world has more ill than good

  • Australia to her Children

    I am so old, oh very old, my children,
       Ye that are so young,

  • Timber

    “Up here the schooners used to come
      For timber, years ago,

  • Music

    He spoke with eager grace, and learnedly,
    Of matters strange, dark, wonderful to me