HMS NEW ZEALAND|
Crossing the Line Ceremony 1919
Having performed this office, they presented to Lady Jellicoe, the most distinguished novice, a Greeting from Her Majesty Queen Amphitrite
Fair Lady from that Land of Showers
Whose Empire's half as big as Ours,
How sweet the thought of meeting!
How doubly sweet to hear you'll stay
A year where Neptune holds His sway.
With Him We send you greeting!
Though every ship I know by name,
And never two are quite the same
In spite of all their sameness,
Yet when I board each one I find
So much of just the same old kind,
Such visits tend to tameness.
But now to find We are to meet
A British Admiral of the Fleet
We're all anticipation!
Excitement then grows doubly rife__
We hear We'll meet his charming wife,
And live in expectation!
Such luck seems rarest - yet more rare
Is made by meeting Mistress Share
Once more on Our Equator.
For now some dozen times she's been
Across the Line We hold as Queen
Of Neptune Imperator.
The best of friends, the best of news!
Our wishes for a perfect cruise,
If happier they'll make you.
May Joy and Charm and Beauty roam
Beside you till you reach your home
And never then forsake you.
Another letter, announcing Their Majesties wishes, in regard to the procedure at the morrow's Court, was then handed to the Captain:
May 7th, 1919.
To Our Right Trusty and Loyal Subject,
Captain O. E. Leggett,
Of His Britannic Majesty's Royal Navy.
We, NEPTUNE, of the Seven Seas
By grace of Myth, Imperial Lord,
Here greet you and announce 'twould please
Our Queen and Us to come on board
Your noble ship now on Our Line
To-morrow some time after nine.
We're pleased to see that in command `
Is one who erstwhile steered the Fleet.
Our watery ways you understand,
'Twill please Us once again to meet
The Captain of this famous ship,
First in the fight or social trip.
Our Royal wishes for success.
Where'er you show the British Flag!
Your ship and mission here We bless
New Zealand well has cause to brag
Of ship supreme at work or play
And blessed by Us upon her way.
There are among your hearty crew
Some who've not seen Us face to face:
To-morrow then for time will do,
Your midship-deck will do for place,
And then and there presented they
Shall be in right historic way.
A Levée then We'll hold on board
To welcome every man - no less,
So summon all with one accord
To meet Us in the prescribed dress;
But boys, and novices and such
We'd counsel not to wear too much.
We hope these simple wishes may
Not interfere with your routine,
And you'll reserve the eighth of May
Of nineteen hundred and nineteen.
To this We wish a prompt reply.
NEPTUNE, R. and I.
To this the Captain wrote the following reply, placed it in a sealed envelope, and handed it to the envoys:
Neptune, R. and I.
I thank You, Sire, for Your kind greeting,
O. E. LEGGETT
And wish to say our happy meeting
Is one that all who serve on board
Look forward to - we shan't be bored.
I'm honoured, Sire, with Your commands.
I'll take great care that Your demands
Are fully met, and that no novice,
By any chance, shall be amiss.
The guard and band shall be paraded,
No form or rite shall be evaded,
But sharp at nine we'll man the side,
And hope to see You with Your bride.
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