Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WATCHERS (OLD AND NEW), by HENRY CHAPPELL

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THE WATCHERS (OLD AND NEW), by            
First Line: Time-worn they stand o'er the shelving strand
Last Line: Of fire and steel and gold.
Subject(s): Death; Dead, The

TIME-WORN they stand o'er the shelving strand
As they stood in the days of old
When the rovers free, who sailed the sea,
Came questing for land and gold;
And a kingly spoil was the English soil
And red was the English gold.

When watching eyes saw the top-masts rise
On the skyline far and low,
There was ready a hail for a friendly sail
And a leaden blast for a foe.
And great and small (if they went at all)
Went a shattered and sorry foe.

Men watch no more from the turrets hoar,
No beacon crowns the steep,
Fast sleep the towers thro' the long dark hours
Whilst the watchers walk the deep.
Aye, night and day o'er the royal way,
Steel shod, they walk the deep.

Tense, grim and black on the foemen's track
They thunder with fiery breath,
For teeth and claws are the sea-dogs' laws
And their grip is a grip to death.
Thro' the flurry of foam the steel drives home
And the kiss of the steel is death.

So the old towers sleep and the new powers keep
Their ward by the gateway old,
For a kingly spoil is the English soil
And red is the English gold.
But those who take, our guard must break
Of Fire and Steel and Gold.

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