Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VITAI LAMPADA, by HENRY JOHN NEWBOLT

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

VITAI LAMPADA, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: There's a breathless hush in the close tonight
Last Line: "play up! Play up! And play the game!"
Variant Title(s): The Torch Of Life;play The Game
Subject(s): Cricket (game); England; Great Britain - Commonwealth & Colonies; Patriotism; Sports; War; English; British Empire; England - Empire

There's a breathless hush in the Close tonight --
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 his 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 like like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind --
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

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