The White Cliffs

Alfred Noyes

Woden made the red cliffs, the red walls of England.
Round the South of Devonshire, they burn against the blue.
Green is the water there; and, clear as liquid sunlight,
Blue-green as mackerel, the bays that Raleigh knew.

Thor made the black cliffs, the battlements of England,
Climbing to Tintagel where the white gulls wheel.
Cold are the caverns there, and sullen as a cannon-mouth,
Booming back the grey swell that gleams like steel.

Balder made the white cliffs, the white shield of England
(Crowned with thyme and violet where Sussex wheatears fly),
White as the White Ensign are the bouldered heights of Dover,
Beautiful the scutcheon that they bare against the sky.

So the world shall sing of them—the white cliffs of England,
White, the glory of her sails, the banner of her pride.
One and all,—their seamen met and broke the dread Armada.
Only white may show the world the shield for which they died.