Barwon Ballads

A Racing Eight

James L. Cuthbertson

WHO knows it not, who loves it not,
    The long and steady swing,
The instant dip, the iron grip,
    The rowlocks’ linked ring,
The arrowy sway of hands away,
    The slider oiling aft,
The forward sweep, the backward leap
    That speed the flying craft?

A racing eight of perfect mould,
    True to the builder’s law,
That takes the water’s gleaming gold
    Without a single flaw.
A ship deep, resonant within,
    Harmonious to the core,
That vibrates to her polished skin
    The tune of wave and oar.

A racing eight and no man late,
    And all hearts in the boat;
The men who work and never shirk,
    Who long to be afloat.
The crew who burn from stem to stern
    To win the foremost place,
The crew to row, the boat to go
    The eight to win the race.

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