by John Betjeman (1906-1984)
The gas was on in the institute, The flare was up in the gym, A man was running a mineral line, A lass was singing a hymn, When Captain Webb the Dawley man, Captain Webb from Dawley, Came swimming along the old canal That carried the bricks to Lawley. Swimming along - Swimming along - Swimming along from Severn, And paying a call at Dawley bank while swimming along to Heaven. The sun shone low on the railway line And over the bricks and stacks And in at the upstairs windows Of the Dawley houses' backs When we saw the ghost of Captain Webb, Webb in a water sheeting, Come dripping along in a bathing dress To the Saturday evening meeting. Dripping along - Dripping along - To the Congregational Hall; Dripping and still he rose over the sill and faded away in a wall. There wasn't a man in Oakengates That hadn't got hold of the tale, And over the valley in Ironbridge, And round by Coalbrookdale, How Captain Webb the Dawley man, Captain Webb from Dawley, Rose rigid and dead from the old canal That carries the bricks to Lawley. Rigid and dead - Rigid and dead - To the Saturday congregation, Paying a call at the Dawley Bank on the way to his destination.