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The First Fleet
by [?]


We slid into the harbor here,
A line of battle-cruisers gray,
With hungry guns as silent as
The bands aboard that did not play.
The fog was soft, the fog was damp,
The hush was thick and wide as space,
But ev’ry man was standing at
Attention in his given place.

We’d made the port, with time to spare–
And Uncle Sam’s first Fleet was there!

Then came those other navy men–
Our allies in this troubled cause–
Weary of holding back the Hun,
Clipping, too slow, his cruel claws.
Our Admiral, a few-words man,
Greeted the visitors…. “We’re here,”
He said, and that was all. They smiled–
And said they hoped the weather’d clear.

But still those men with tired eyes
Felt mighty grateful, I surmise!

Around our Fleet–not very large–
We took them, thoughtful faces set;
And then back to the fog-soaked town
They went–uncomfortably wet;
But in those eyes a happier light,
That told him what they’d like to say–
That they were glad he had come back,
As he had hoped to do some day.

Another fleet, with fresher men,
Gave them a chance to breathe again!

Before they left to go ashore
(A crowd had gathered on the quay),
“When can you start to work?” they asked.
“How many hours will it be
Before you’re ready?” With a smile
Our fighting Admiral replied
(And there was joy in what he said,
Mingled with pardonable pride):

“Soon as the enemy we meet!…
We’re ready now–men, guns, and Fleet.”

So that is how we started in
To do our share–the Navy’s “bit”;
They were surprised, but Admiral Sims
Had surely made a three-base hit
With what he said…. And now it’s up
To us to do our hearty best
To make the seas the old-time seas;
Till that is done there’ll be no rest.

It is a job to stop the Hun,
But–it’s a job that must be done!