Vitaï Lampada

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 a 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 his banks,
And England's far, and Honour 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 a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind—
'Play up! play up! and play the game!

by Sir Henry Newbolt

Other poems of NEWBOLT (80)

Comments (9)

This is some serious nostalgia.
You need to get a better voice to read this poem...someone with a bit of empathy in their voice
I think the first verse of this poem speaks volumes about how life should be lived. Whilst we all want to win, winning should be done fairly and with integrity, not like most of today's so called sports stars do it. They would do well to read this beatiful poem and digest the meaning.
To describe the sentiments in this poem as 'unfashionable' and 'politically incorrect' is a bit weak: it would be better to describe them as what they are: a lie. It's a delusional fantasy, an argument that violent death is joyful, and that invading other people's countries is glorious.
.............life is truly a game.....enjoyed this wonderful poem..
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