Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
I. Patriotism
The Snug Little Island
Thomas Dibdin (1771–1841)
 
DADDY NEPTUNE, one day, to Freedom did say,
  If ever I lived upon dry land,
The spot I should hit on would be little Britain!
  Says Freedom, “Why, that ’s my own island!”
      O, it ’s a snug little island!        5
      A right little, tight little island!
    Search the globe round, none can be found
      So happy as this little island.
 
Julius Cæsar, the Roman, who yielded to no man,
  Came by water,—he couldn’t come by land;        10
And Dane, Pict, and Saxon, their homes turned their backs on,
  And all for the sake of our island.
      O, what a snug little island!
      They ’d all have a touch at the island!
    Some were shot dead, some of them fled,        15
      And some stayed to live on the island.
 
Then a very great war-man, called Billy the Norman,
  Cried, “Drat it, I never liked my land.
It would be much more handy to leave this Normandy,
  And live on your beautiful island.”        20
      Says he, “’T is a snug little island;
      Sha’n’t us go visit the island?”
    Hop, skip, and jump, there he was plump,
      And he kicked up a dust in the island.
 
But party deceit helped the Normans to beat;        25
  Of traitors they managed to buy land;
By Dane, Saxon, or Pict, Britons ne’er had been licked,
  Had they stuck to the king of their island.
      Poor Harold, the king of our island!
      He lost both his life and his island!        30
    That ’s all very true: what more could he do?
      Like a Briton he died for his island!
 
The Spanish armada set out to invade—a,
  ’T will sure, if they ever come nigh land.
They couldn’t do less than tuck up Queen Bess,        35
  And take their full swing on the island.
      O the poor queen of the island!
      The Dons came to plunder the island;
    But snug in her hive the queen was alive,
      And “buzz” was the word of the island.        40
 
These proud puffed-up cakes thought to make ducks and drakes
  Of our wealth; but they hardly could spy land,
When our Drake had the luck to make their pride duck
  And stoop to the lads of the island!
      O, for the ships of the island!        45
      The good wooden walls of the island;
    Devil or Don, let them come on;
      And see how they ’d come off the island!
 
Since Freedom and Neptune have hitherto kept time,
  In each saying, “This shall be my land”;        50
Should the “Army of England,” or all it could bring, land,
  We ’d show ’em some play for the island.
      We ’d fight for our right to the island;
      We ’d give them enough of the island;
    Invaders should just—bite once at the dust,        55
      But not a bit more of the island.
 
 
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