It was almost an hundred years ago,
When Ethelred was King. This town of London
Was held by Danes. Olaf the King of Norway
Came with his host to fight for Ethelred
And with his galleys rowed beneath the bridge,
Lashed cables round the piers, and caught the tide
That lent the strength of Ocean to their strength
Rowing down-stream. Ah, how the strong oars beat
The waters into foam—and how the Danes
Above upon the bridge fought furiously
With stones and arrows—but the bridge went down—
The bridge went down. So Ethelred was King.
And now the bridge has been built up again.
'Tis not a thing of timbers, or hewn stone;
It is a weaving of men's hopes and dreams
From shore to shore. It is a thing alive.
The men of Surrey and the men of Kent,
The men of Sussex and Northumberland,
The shepherds of the downs, the Wealden forges,
Fishermen, packmen, bargemen, masons, all
The traffickers of England, made our bridge.
It is a thing enchanted by the thoughts
Of all our people.