By C. Peerless
A ringed cluster of red tinged roofs
Rise gently towards the sky
Until they reach the Ancient Tower
Of the Church of St. Mary’s, Rye.
The Streets are cobbled and worn by feet
That have loved have worshipped and died
For the living faith that by Englishmen
Has never been sold or denied.
Upon this town in the days of old
Came Roman, Viking and Dane
Frenchmen too have left their mark
Of Warfare time and again.
But scars are there from a foe today
Deeper and harder to hide
Death and Destruction have rained from the skies
With foulest infamy dyed
Altar and easel, hearth and home
Ancient archway and inn
These are the things that from history’s page
Have been torn by hands deep in sin.
In ancient days came the galley ships
Then muskets, then cannons roar
Until today the bombs scream down
And the loveliness seems no more.
Fiendish engines of science launched
By men of brutish breed
Who do not know there are men who will die
For Freedom and Freedom’s Creed.
For the men of the Cinque Ports would not shrink
When the Frenchmen burned their Town
They stood upright as they stand today
Who loved this English Town.
And so today as we honour her
This town of a timeless age
Let us praise the men who would not bow down
To the fury blind with rage.
Still she stands with deeper scars
Than she’s ever borne in the past
But she stands secure in her well-won pride
And a name that will ever last.
It will live in the hearts of English births
Wherever they speak her tongue
The red roofed town with the Church on the hill
Shall in English song be sung.
And when the dawn of a brave new World
Shall shine with its praise and blame
The trumpets of Heaven shall sound and resound
With Rye’s “Immortal Name.”
From the April 1970 issue of “Rye’s Own”
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