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ADMIRAL'S ORDERS
by
George Ellis and Herbert Townsend (1926)

The Admiral gave the order,
"Fleet will sail at three",
The Flag-lieutenant scrawled a chit,
The Signal-yeoman jumped to it,
And answering pennants did their bit:
"Fleet will sail at three",
On battleship and cruiser
Far flung across the sea,
Bugles rang and whistles blew,
Orders filtered down and through,
Seamen cursed— as seamen do—
"Off agin at three!"
The Cap'en read the order:
"Just my luck," said he,
"Does my round of golf right in,
Feel like driving on the pin,
Every putt would hit the tin,
Now we're off at three."
The Engineer-Commander,
A wily bird was he,
"Hang it, my repairs, you know,
But take your knitting down below,
And make the demned old scrapheap go,
Full steam up for three."
The Senior Sub. was furious,
"Filthy luck," said he,
"Have to wire my fancy gear,
Sorry cannot lunch, old dear,
Can't desert, should get thick ear,
Think of me at three."
Leading-stoker 'Awkins,
A mirthful man was 'e,
He mustered all his watch below,
And said "I suppose you matlows know
This blinkin' clankin' rattlin' wall-eyed
Bilge-tank sails at three?"
Able-seaman Murphy,
Slapped his thigh with glee:
"Faith 'tis Bridget that will bawl,
For when tonight I go to call,
Tis me that won't be there at all!
Indade we're off at three!"
The Admiral gave the order,
"Fleet will sail at three".
Dead to time in smooth progression.
Moved the long grey grim procession,
Silent duty's swift confession:
"Fleet had sailed at three".
 
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