Edward Dyson

Here you will find the Poem The Immortal Strain of poet Edward Dyson

The Immortal Strain

?Late Midshipman John Travers (Chester), 
aged 16 years. He was mortally wounded 
early in the action, yet he remained alone in 
a most exposed post awaiting orders, with 
his gun's crew dead all round him.? 

We told old stories one by one, 
Brave tales of men who toyed with death, 
Of wondrous deeds of valor done 
In days of bold Elizabeth. 
?Alas! our British stock,? said we, 
?Is not now what it used to be.? 

We read of Drake's great sailors, or 
Of fighting men that Nelson led, 
Who steered the walls of oak to war. 
?These were our finest souls,? we said. 
?Their fame is on the ocean writ, 
Nor time, nor storm may cancel it. 

?The mariners of England then 
Were lords of battle and of breeze. 
The were, indeed the wondrous men 
Who won for us the shoreless seas, 
Who took old Neptune's ruling brand 
And set it in Britannia's hand. 

?But now,? we sighed, ?the blood is pale, 
We're little people of the street, 
And dare not front the shrilling gale. 
The sons of England are effete, 
Of shorter limb and smaller mould, 
Mere pigmies by the men of old.? 

Then came the vibrant bugle note. 
None cowered at the high alarm, 
The steady fleets were still afloat, 
And England saw her soldiers arm, 
And readily, with sober grace. 
The close-set ranks swung into place. 

On sea and shore they fought again, 
And storied heroes came to life, 
Once more were added to the slain. 
Once more found glory in the strife; 
Again her yeoman sons arose; 
A wall 'tween Britain and her foes. 

The eager lads, with laughing lips 
And souls elate, where oceans roar, 
Or planes the eagle's flight eclipse, 
Give all for her, and come no more; 
Or where death thunders down the sky 
Beside their silent guns they lie; 

This boy who, while the iron rains 
With seething riot whip the flood, 
Fights on, till in his heart remains 
No single drop of English blood, 
Avers the British strain sublime, 
Outliving Death, outlasting Time!