"Operation well carried out. There is no question that when the old lady lifts her skirts she can run."
Signal from C. in C. Mediterranean to
H. M. S. Warspite, 17 July 1943.
NOBLESSE oblige, no other choice remained,
Pay homage, therefore, ye who pass her by,
Last of a line of Royal ancestry
Whose roots were struck when Gloriana reigned.
For wellnigh three decades, from sea to sea,
Remained she faithful in the hour of need
To all the best traditions of her breed;
The breaker's yard's no tomb for such as she.
Young in her heart, men saw her born anew,
What time the name affection bred was won,
An ancient dame who showed she still could run,
And teach the young ideas a thing or two.
She craves no pity, makes no plaint or boast,
Then leave her, rock and seaweed for her bed,
In peace, until the sea gives up its dead,
Soothed by the waves that wash her Island's coast.
And when your children gather round your knee
And ask her story, tell them, "It was hers
To win the love of countless mariners
By what she was, and taught them, too, to be."