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War Risks

From The Birmingham Age Herald, May 5, 1915. By C. Fox Smith.

“Let’s go aft”… and out she slides,
Pitching when she meets the tides…
She for whom our cruisers keep
Lordly vigil in the deep…
Sink or swim, lads, war or no,
Let the poor old hooker go.

Soon, hull down, will England’s shore,
Smudged and faint, be seen no more;
Soon the following gulls return
Where the friendly dock-lights burn…
Soon the cold stars, climbing high,
March across the empty sky…
Empty seas beyond her bow,
(Lord, she’s on her lonesome now.)

When the white fog, stooping low,
Folds in darkness friend and foe…
When the fast great liners creep
Veiled and silent through the deep…
When the hostile searchlight’s eye
Sweeps across the midnight sky,
Lord of light and darkness, then,
Stretch Thy wing o’er merchantmen!

When the waters known of old
Death in dreadful shape may hold…
When the mine’s black treachery
Secret walks the insulted sea…
(Lest the people wait in vain
For their cattle and their grain),
Since thy name is mercy, then,
Lord, be kind to merchantmen!

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