The Zetland

(Written by Lord Stratford de Redcliffe whilst staying at the home of Lord Zetland in the 1860's)

The Lifeboat, oh, the lifeboat all we have known so long,
A refuge for the feeble, the glory of the strong
Twice thirty years have vanished since first upon the wave,
She housed the drowning mariner and snatched him from his grave.

Let others deem her crazy, nor longer fit to breast
The surge that, madly driven bears down with foaming crest,
But we, who oft have manned her, when death was on the prow,
We cannot bear to leave her, nor will we leave her now.

Our fathers long before us her worth in danger tired,
Their fathers too have steered her amidst the boiling tide.
We love her - tis no wonder - we can but follow them,
Let Heaven - but never word of man - the dear old boat condemn.

The voices of the rescues, their numbers may be read,
The tears of speechless feeling our wives and children shed,
The memories of mercy in mans extremest need,
all for the dear old Lifeboat, uniting seem to plead.

The power unseen that lashes to storm the briny pool,
And when the blast is keenest forbids our hearts to cool,
The hand of earthly kindness that gave our boat its life
That made it, bird like, flutter o'er waves in deadly strife.

And now that kindred spirit, who makes the poor his care
Shall heed our fond remembrance, nor spurn the seamans prayer.
Another craft, and brighter, may stem the raging gale,
Thy plea of sixty winters, old friend, can never fail.

Thine age shall be respected, thy youth perchance restored
And sires and sons together shall press thy heaving board.
No fear that storms be wanting and call it old or new
We'll cheer the boat that's foremost to save a sinking crew.