The Dutch In The Medway


If wars were won by feasting,
 0r victory by song,
Or safety found in sleeping sound,
 How England would be strong!
But honour and dominion
 Are not maintained so.
They're only got by sword and shot,
 And this the Dutchmen know!

The moneys that should feed us
 You spend on your delight,
How can you then have sailor-men
 To aid you in your fight?
Our fish and cheese are rotten,
 Which makes the scurvy grow,
We cannot serve you if we starve,
 And this the Dutchmen now!

Our ships in every harbour
 Be neither whole nor sound,
And, when we seek to mend a leak,
 No oakum can be found;
Or, if it is, the caulkers,
 And carpenters also,
For lack of pay have gone away,
 And this the Dutchmen know!

Mere powder, guns, and bullets,
 We scarce can get at all;
Their price was spent in merriment
 And revel at Whitehall,
While we in tattered doublets
 From ship to ship must row,
Beseeching friends for odds and ends,
    And this the Dutchmen know! 

No King will heed our warnings,
 No Court will pay our claims,
Our King and Court for their disport
 Do sell the very Thames!
For, now De Ruyter's topsails
 Off naked Chatham show,
We dare not meet him with our fleet,
 And this the Dutchmen know!


facebook share button twitter share button google plus share button tumblr share button reddit share button email share button share on pinterest pinterest

Create a library and add your favorite stories. Get started by clicking the "Add" button.
Add The Dutch In The Medway to your own personal library.

Return to the Rudyard Kipling Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; The Dying Chauffeur

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.