Vitai Lampada

Original Text: 
Henry Newbolt, Poems: New and Old (London: John Murray, 1912): 78-79. PR 5103.N4A17 Robarts Library
1There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night--
2   Ten to make and the match to win--
3A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
4   An hour to play and the last man in.
5And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
6   Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
7But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote--
8   "Play up! play up! and play the game!"
9The sand of the desert is sodden red,--
10   Red with the wreck of a square that broke;--
11The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
12   And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
13The river of death has brimmed his banks,
14   And England's far, and Honour a name,
15But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
16   "Play up! play up! and play the game!"
17This is the word that year by year,
18   While in her place the School is set,
19Every one of her sons must hear,
20   And none that hears it dare forget.
21This they all with a joyful mind
22   Bear through life like a torch in flame,
23And falling fling to the host behind--
24   "Play up! play up! and play the game!"
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Admirals All and other verses (1897)
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: