It's not clear to me what the name of this poem is, it may be called "Play up! Play up! And play the game!" or Vitae Lampada ("Light of Life" which may be the name of a collection of poetry of which this is a part) - I'm just not sure. It was written by Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938), and is a smashing example of the British Empire at its finest, when, according to Wellington, colossal battles like the one fought at Waterloo was "...fought on the playing fields of Eton." Newbolt was a pupil at Clifton College (he won a scholarship) at the same time as General Haig (of World Ward I fame). There is still a Newbolt room in the College. The Close referred to in the poem are the playing fields at the College in front of the school Chapel and main school buildings. (Thanks to Gary Mendham for this information.) I found this on the Internet in a collection of games and tableaux by Baden-Powell, the Hero of Mafeking and founder of Boy Scouting. It's written with cricket in mind, but this obviously applies to rugby as well, wot? - Wes

Play up! Play up! And play the game!

By Sir Henry Newbolt

There's a breathless hush in the close to-night

Ten to make and the match to win

A bumping pitch and a blinding light,

An hour to play, and the last man in.

And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat.

Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,

But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote

"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

The sand of the desert is sodden red-

Red with the wreck of the square that broke

The gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,

And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.

The river of death has brimmed its banks,

And England's far and Honor a name,

But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks-

"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"

This is the word that year by year,

While in her place the school is set,

Every one of her sons must hear,

And none that hears it dare forget.

This they all with joyful mind

And bear through life Eke a torch in flame,

falling fling to the host behind-

"Play up! Play up! And play the game!"