am 18.12.2002 19:01 Uhr schrieb Carrol Cox unter [log in to unmask]:

> I forget both author and title of my favorite _awful_ poem. It's the
> pre-ww1 poem with the refrain, "Play up, play up, and play the game,"
> and the line "Red with the blood of a broken square." It was one of the
> most popular poems in England until it drowned on the Somme.


it is Sir Henry Newbolt's VITAE LAMPADA (The Torch of Life).
I happen to know it since it's on a BBC tape of the 100 most popular poems
in England.

In spite of its militaristic character, mixing sports, war and school, I
quite like it.  It has a strong beginning and a  nice rhythm: "...and his
captain's hand on his shoulder smote".

Play up! Play up! And play the game!
By Sir Henry Newbolt

There's a breathless hush in the close to-night
Ten to make and the match to win
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play, and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat.
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red-
Red with the wreck of the square that broke
The gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed its banks,
And England's far and Honor a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks-
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the school is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with joyful mind
And bear through life Eke a torch in flame,
falling fling to the host behind-
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"