MERCHANDISE! Merchandise! Tortoiseshell, spices,
Carpets and Indigo sent o’er the highseas;
Mothero’Pearl from the Solomon Isles
Brought by a brigantine ten thousand miles.
Rubber from Zanzibar, tea from NangPo,
Copra from Haiti, and wine from Bordeaux;
Ships, with topgallants and royals unfurled,
Are bringing in freights from the ends of the world
Crazy old windjammers, manned by Malays,
With ratridden bulkheads and creaking old stays,
Reeking of bilge and of paint and of pitch
That’s how these oceangirt islands grew rich:
And tramps, heavy laden, and liners untold
Will lease a new life to a nation grown old.
Merchandise! Merchandise! England was made
By her Men and her Ships and her OVERSEAS TRADE.
Widen your harbours, your docks and your quays,
Hazard your wares on the seven wide seas,
Run out your railways and hew out your coal,
For only by trade can a country keep whole.
Feed up your furnaces, fashion your steel,
Stick to your bargains and pay on the deal;
Rich is your birthright, and well you’ll be paid.
If you keep in good faith with your Overseas Trade.
Learn up geography, work out your sums,
Build up your commerce, and pull down your slums;
Sail on a Plimsoll that marks a full hold:
Your Overseas Trade means a harvest of gold.
Bring in the palmoil and pepper you’ve bought,
But send out ten times the amount you import:
Trade your inventions, your labour and sweat:
Your Overseas Traffic will keep ye from debt.
Hark to the song of the shuttle and loom,
Keep up your commerce or crawl to your tomb
Study new methods and open new lines,
Quicken your factories, foundries and mines,
Think of what Drake did, and Raleigh and Howe
And waste not their labours by slacking it now:
Work is life’s currency earn what you’re worth,
And send out your ships to the ends of the earth.
Deepbosomed mothers with widefashioned hips
Will bear ye good sons for the building of ships
Good sons for your ships and good ships for your trade
That’s how the Peace of the World will be made!
So send out your strong to the forests untrod,
Work for yourselves and your neighbours and
Keep this good England the home of the free,
With Merchandise, Men and good Ships on the
Merchandise! Merchandise! Good honest Merchandise!
Merchandise, Men and Good Ships on the Sea.
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More verses by John Milton Hayes
- You Know What I Mean
- Orange Peel
- The Dream Ring Of The Desert
- The Whitest Man I Know
- My Old Football