Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/297

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THE ENGLISH FLAG

The South Wind sighed:—"From The Virgins my mid-sea course was ta'en
"Over a thousand islands lost in an idle main,
"Where the sea-egg flames on the coral and the long-backed breakers croon
"Their endless ocean legends to the lazy, locked lagoon.


"Strayed amid lonely islets, mazed amid outer keys,
"I waked the palms to laughter—I tossed the scud in the breeze—
"Never was isle so little, never was sea so lone,
"But over the scud and the palm-trees an English Flag was flown.


"I have wrenched it free from the halliard to hang for a wisp on the Horn;
"I have chased it north to the Lizard—ribboned and rolled and torn;
"I have spread its fold o'er the dying, adrift in a hopeless sea;
"I have hurled it swift on the slaver, and seen the slave set free.