Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The British fleet

After my last post I remembered that Rudyard Kipling had addressed the same subject in verse - as often happens. After the Spanish capitulation to the jihadists after the Madrid train bombing, I remembered that Kipling had covered this kind of situation in his poem Dane-geld.

Gee, was the guy psychic or something? Well maybe that too, but there is a simpler explanation: human nature does not change over time. If you give in to force, or the threat of force, you have taught your enemy that bullying works. This was true yesterday, today and will be true tomorrow.

Besotted with dreams of "soft power" the Europeans are copping a smug, superior attitude. It's time to call them on that. If you fail to defend yourself, you have not dealt with the threat but passed the costs of dealing with it on to someone else. (Gee, I wonder who that might be?)

The English have forgotten the greatest poet they have produced since English achieved its present form (around 400 years - since Shakespear). They will remember - eventually.

The UK is at present busy scrapping what's left of their deep water fleet and converting their Navy into a Coast Guard. Here's what Kipling said about that kind of Grand Strategy.

The Dutch in the Medway 1664-72

If wars were won by feasting,
0r victory by song,
Or safety found in sleeping sound,
How England would be strong!
But honour and dominion
Are not maintained so.
They're only got by sword and shot,
And this the Dutchmen know!

The moneys that should feed us
You spend on your delight,
How can you then have sailor-men
To aid you in your fight?
Our fish and cheese are rotten,
Which makes the scurvy grow -
We cannot serve you if we starve,
And this the Dutchmen know!

Our ships in every harbour
Be neither whole nor sound,
And, when we seek to mend a leak,
No oakum can be found;
Or, if it is, the caulkers,
And carpenters also,
For lack of pay have gone away,
And this the Dutchmen know!

Mere powder, guns, and bullets,
We scarce can get at all;
Their price was spent in merriment
And revel at Whitehall,
While we in tattered doublets
From ship to ship must row,
Beseeching friends for odds and ends -
And this the Dutchmen know!

No King will heed our warnings,
No Court will pay our claims -
Our King and Court for their disport
Do sell the very Thames!
For, now De Ruyter's topsails
Off naked Chatham show,
We dare not meet him with our fleet -
And this the Dutchmen know!


  • At 10:37 AM, Blogger gun-totin-wacko said…

    One of the best quotes I've ever heard is the French one: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • At 11:59 AM, Blogger Tenonder said…

    Ironic, then, that on the very day the British sailors were captured the Dutch opened their celebratory 'de Ruyter-year' (on his 400th birthday).

  • At 12:28 AM, Blogger Rudolph A. Carrera said…

    This was a wonderful read! Nice work here!


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