Admirals All/Vitaï Lampada

Vitaï Lampada
by Henry Newbolt

from Admirals All and Other Verses (1898)

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

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).