Conflict Poem: Vitaï Lampada by Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938)

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night — 
Ten to make and the match to win — 
A bumping pitch and a blinding light, 
An hour to play and the last man in. 
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat, 
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame, 
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote 
“Play up! play up! and play the game!” 

The sand of the desert is sodden red, — 
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; — 
The Gatling’s jammed and the colonel dead, 
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke. 
The river of death has brimmed his banks, 
And England’s far, and Honour a name, 
But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks, 
“Play up! play up! and play the game!” 

This is the word that year by year 
While in her place the School is set 
Every one of her sons must hear, 
And none that hears it dare forget. 
This they all with a joyful mind 
Bear through life like a torch in flame, 
And falling fling to the host behind — 
“Play up! play up! and play the game!” 

Sir Henry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Henry_Newbolt

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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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