Drake's Drum

Henry Newbolt

Drake he's in his hammock an' a thousand miles away,
(Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?)
Slung atween the round shot in Nombre Dios Bay,
An' dreamin' arl the time O' Plymouth Hoe.
Yarnder lumes the Island, yarnder lie the ships,
Wi' sailor lads a-dancing' heel-an'-toe,
An' the shore-lights flashin', an' the night-tide dashin',
He sees et arl so plainly as he saw et long ago.

Drake he was a Devon man, an' ruled the Devon seas,
(Capten, art tha' sleepin' there below?)
Roving' tho' his death fell, he went wi' heart at ease,
A' dreamin' arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
"Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,
Strike et when your powder's runnin' low;
If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port o' Heaven,
An' drum them up the Channel as we drumm'd them long ago."

Drake he's in his hammock till the great Armadas come,
(Capten, art tha sleepin' there below?)
Slung atween the round shot, listenin' for the drum,
An' dreamin arl the time o' Plymouth Hoe.
Call him on the deep sea, call him up the Sound,
Call him when ye sail to meet the foe;
Where the old trade's plyin' an' the old flag flyin'
They shall find him ware an' wakin', as they found him long ago!

Sir Francis Drake, daring naval captain, early circumnavigator of the globe and (to some) pirate, was buried at sea in a lead coffin, off Portobelo, Panama.

A state drum, painted with the arms of Sir Francis Drake, is preserved among other relics at Buckland Abbey, the stately home of the Drake family in Devon. Legend has it that in a time of national crisis for Britain, this drum will beat and Drake (or his spirit) will return to save his country, as he saved them with his victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Drake's legendary bravura and cool is captured in the story about the way he greeted the arrival of Spain's formidable Armada, far more powerful than Drake's forces. When warned of the Spanish fleet's appearance, Drake was playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe. Instead of rushing off, he carried on playing, unruffled and remarked: "There is plenty of time to finish the game, and then beat the Spaniards."