Waggon Hill

Henry Newbolt

  Drake in the North Sea grimly prowling,
      Treading his dear Revenge's deck,
  Watched, with the sea-dogs round him growling,
      Galleons drifting wreck by wreck.
      "Fetter and Faith for England's neck,
    Faggot and Father, Saint and chain, -
  Yonder the Devil and all go howling,
    Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain!"

  Drake at the last off Nombre lying,
      Knowing the night that toward him crept,
  Gave to the sea-dogs round him crying
      This for a sign before he slept: -
      "Pride of the West!  What Devon hath kept
    Devon shall keep on tide or main;
  Call to the storm and drive them flying,
    Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain!"

  Valour of England gaunt and whitening,
      Far in a South land brought to bay,
  Locked in a death-grip all day tightening,
      Waited the end in twilight gray.
      Battle and storm and the sea-dog's way
    Drake from his long rest turned again,
  Victory lit thy steel with lightning,
    Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain!

Waggon Hill (or Wagon Hill) is a hill near Ladysmith in South Africa. British soldiers entrenched on the hill named it after a similar hill near Aldershot in Hampshire (other nearby hills were called names such as Maiden Castle and Caesar's Camp). During the Anglo-Boer war, Ladysmith was besieged for 118 days by Boer forces. In January 1900, Wagon Hill was bravely defended by the Devonshire Regiment against Boer attacks.

For Newbolt, the courage and daring of the great Devonian Captain Sir Francis Drake is the same as that shown by the Devonshires in their defence of Wagon Hill - all reflecting the spirit of Devon. This is a poem about place that is not descriptive of a place, but of what that place, "Waggon Hill", or "Devon", symbolizes. As such, it's enough to get it into the Poetry Atlas.