Rudyard Kipling - The Years Between
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The banked oars fell an hundred strong, And backed and threshed and ground, But bitter was the rowers' song As they brought the war-boat round.
They had no heart for the rally and roar That makes the whale-bath smoke-- When the great blades cleave and hold and leave As one on the racing stroke.
They sang:--'What reckoning do you keep, And steer her by what star, If we come unscathed from the Southern deep To be wrecked on a Baltic bar?