Imagens da página




At Flores in the Azores Sir Richard He had only a hundred seamen to work Grenville lay,

the ship and to fight, And a pinnace, like a flutter'd bird, came And he sail'd away from Flores till the flying from far away :

Spaniard came in sight, “Spanish ships of war at sea ! we have With his huge sea-castles heaving upon sighted fifty-three !”

the weather bow. Then sware Lord Thomas Howard : “Shall we fight or shall we fly?

“'Fore God I am no coward ! Good Sir Richard, let us know, But I cannot meet them here, for my For to fight is but to die ! ships are out of gear,

There 'll be little of us left by the time And the half my men are sick. I must the sun be set." fly, but follow quick.

And Sir Richard said again : “We be all We are six ships of the line ; can we fight good Englishmen. with fifty-three?"

Let us bang these dogs of Seville, the

children of the devil,

For I never turn'd my back upon Don II.

or devil yet." Then spake Sir Richard Grenville : “I

know you are no coward; You fly them for a moment to fight with

them again. But I've ninety men and more that are

e that are Sir Richard spoke, and he laugh'd, and lying sick ashore.

we roared a hurrah, and so I should count myself the coward if I

if i The little “Revenge" ran on sheer into left them, my Lord Howard,

the heart of the foe, To these Inquisition dogs and the devil

1. With her hundred fighters on deck, and doms of Spain."

her ninety sick below; For half of their fleet to the right and

half to the left were seen,

And the little “Revenge"ran on thro'tho So Lord Howard past away with five ships

long sea-lane between. of war that day, Till he melted like a cloud in the silent

VI. summer heaven; But Sir Richard bore in hand all his sick Thousands of their soldiers look'd down men from the land

from their decks and laugh'd, Very carefully and slow,

Thousands of their seamen made mock Men of Bideford in Devon,

at the mad little craft And we laid them on the ballast down Running on and on, till delay'd below;

By their mountain-like “San Philip" For we brought them all aboard,

that, of fifteen hundred tons, And they blest him in their pain, that And up-shadowing high above us with And they blest him in their pain, that all they were not left to Spain,

her yawning tiers of guns, To the thumbscrew and the stake, for the Took the breath from our sails, and we glory of the Lord.




[ocr errors]


XI. And while now the great “San Philip" | And the night went down, and the sun hung above us like a cloud

smiled out farover the summer sea, Whence the thunderbolt will fall And the Spanish fleet with broken sides Long and loud,

lay round us all in a ring ; Four galleons drew away

But they dared not touch us again, for they From the Spanish fleet that day,

fear'd that we still could sting, And two upon the larboard and two upon

So they watch'd what the end would be. the starboard lay,

And we had not fought them in vain, And the battle-thunder broke from them | But in perilous plight were we,

Seeing forty of our poor hundred were

slain, VIII.

And half of the rest of us maim'd for life

In the crash of the cannonades and the But anon the great “San Philip,” she desperate strife;

bethought herself and went, And the sick men down in the hold were Having that within her womb that had most of them stark and cold, left her ill-content;

And the pikes were all broken or bent, And the rest they came aboard us, and and the powder was all of it spent;

they fought us hand to hand, | And the masts and the rigging were lying For a dozen times they came with their over the side ; pikes and musqueteers,

But Sir Richard cried in his English pride, And a dozen times we shook 'em off as a “We have fought such a tight for a day dog that shakes his ears

and a night
When he leaps from the water to the land. As may never be fought again !

We have won great glory, my men !
And a day less or more

At sea or ashore,
And the sun went down, and the stars We die - does it matter when ?

came out far over the summer sea, Sink me the ship, Master Gunner — sink But never a moment ceased the fight of her, split her in twain !

the one and the fifty-three. Fall into the hands of God, not into the Ship after ship, the whole night long, hands of Spain !"

their high-built galleons came, Shipaftership, the whole night long, with

XII. her battle-thunder and flame; Shipaftership, the whole night long, drew And the gunner said, “Ay, ay," but the

back with her dead and her shame; seamen made reply: For some were sunk and many were shat " We have children, we have wives,

ter'd, and so could fight us no | And the Lord hath spared our lives. more

We will make the Spaniard promise, if we God of battles, was ever a battle like this yield, to let us go ; in the world before ?

We shall live to fight again, and to strike

another blow." And the lion there lay dying, and they

yielded to the foe. For he said, “ Fight on! fight on!” Tho' his vessel was all but a wreck ; And it chanced that, when half of the summer night was gone,

And the stately Spanish men to their With a grisly wound to be drest he had flagship bore him then, left the deck,

Where they laid him by the mast, old Sir But a bullet struck him that was dressing Richard caught at last, it suddenly dead,

And they praised him to his face with And himself he was wounded again in the their courtly foreign grace ; side and the head,

But he rose upon their decks, and he And he said, “Fight on! fight on!”

cried :



“ I have fought for Queen and Faith like And they mann'd the “ Revenge" with a valiant man and true ;

a swarthier alien crew, I have only done my duty as a man is And away she sail'd with her loss and bound to do:

long'd for her own ; With a joyful spirit I, Sir Richard Gren- / When a wind from the lands they had ville, die ! ”

ruin'd awoke from sleep, And he fell upon their decks, and he died. And the water began to heave and the

weather to moan,

And or ever that evening ended a great XIV.

gale blew, And they stared at the dead that had been And a wave like the wave that is raised so valiant and true,

by an earthquake grew, And had holden the power and glory of Till it smote on their hulls and their Spain so cheap,

sails and their masts and their That he dared her with one little ship and flags, his English few;

And the whole sea plunged and fell on the Was he devil or man? He was devil for shot-shatter'd navy of Spain, aught they knew,

And the little “ Revenge" herself went But they sank his body with honor down down by the island crags into the deep,

To be lost evermore in the main.



DEDICATORY POEM TO THE Shot thro' the staff or the halyard, but PRINCESS ALICE.

ever we raised thee anew,

And ever upon the topmost roof our banDEAD Princess, living Power, if that,

ner of England blew. which lived True life, live on — and if the fatal kiss,

II. Born of true life and love, divorce thee not

Frail were the works that defended the From earthly love and life — if what we hold that we held with our lives call

Women and children among us, God help The spirit flash not all at once from out them, our children and wives ! This shadow into Substance - then per- Hold it we might - and for fifteen days haps

or for twenty at most. The mellow'd murmur of the people's “Never surrender, I charge you, but praise

every man die at his post !" From thine own State, and all our breadth Voice of the dead whom we loved, our of realm,

Lawrence the best of the brave : Where Love and Longing dress thy deeds Cold were his brows when we kiss'd hiin in light,

- we laid him that night in his Ascends to thee; and this March morn that sees

“Every man die at his post !” and there Thy Soldier-brother's bridal orange

hail'd on our houses and halls bloom

| Death from their rifle-bullets, and death Break thro’ the yews and cypress of thy from their cannon-balls, grave,

Death in our innermost chamber, and And thine Imperial mother smile again, death at our slight barricade, May send one ray to thee! and who can Death while we stood with the musket, tell

and death while we stoopt to the Thou - England's England - loving spade, daughter - thou

Death to the dying, and wounds to the Dying so English thou wouldst have her wounded, for often there fell flag

Striking the hospital wall, crashing thro' Borne on thy coffin – where is he can it, their shot and their shell, swear

Death - for their spies were among us, But that some broken gleam from our their marksmen were told of our poor earth

best, May touch thee, while remembering thee, So that the brute bullet broke thro' the I lay

brain that could think for the rest; At thy pale feet this ballad of the deeds Bullets would sing by our foreheads, and Of England, and her banner in the East ? bullets would rain at our feet -

Fire from ten thousand at once of the

rebels that girdled us round

Death at the glimpse of a finger from BANNER of England, not for a season, O over the breadth of a street,

banner of Britain, hast thou | Death from the heights of the mosque and Floated in conquering battle or fapt to the palace, and death in theground! the battle-cry!

Mine ? yes, a mine! Countermine ! Never with mightier glory than when down, down ! and creep thro' the we had rear'd thee on high

hole ! Flying at top of the roofs in the ghastly keep the revolver in banil! You can siege of Lucknow –

hear him — the murderous mole.

Quiet, ah ! quiet — wait till the point | Better to fall by the hands that they love, of the pickaxe be thro'!

I than to fall into theirs !" Click with the pick, coming nearer and Roar upon roar in a moment two mines nearer again than before —

by the enemy sprung Now let it speak, and you fire, and the Clove into perilous chasms our walls and dark pioneer is no more ;

our poor palisades. And ever upon the topmost roof our ban Rifleman, true is your heart, but be sure ner of England blew.

that your hand be as true!

Sharp is the fire of assault, better aim'd III.

are your flank fusillades -

Twice do we hurl them to earth from the Ay, but the foe sprung his mine many ladders to which they had clung,

times, and it chanced on a day Twice from the ditch where they shelter Soon as the blast of that underground

we drive them with hand-grethunderclap echo'd away,

nades; Dark thro' the smoke and the sulphur And ever upon the topmost roof our like so many fiends in their hell

banner of England blew. Cannon-shot, musket-shot, volley on vol

ley, and yell upon yell — Fiercely on all the defences our myriad enemy fell.

Then on another wild morning another What have they done ? where is it?)

wild earthquake out-tore Out yonder. Guard the Redan !

Clean from our lines of defence ten or Storm at the Water-gate! storm at the

twelve good paces or more. Bailey-gate! storm, and it ran

Rifleman, high on the roof, bidden there Surging and swaying all round us, as

from the light of the sun — ocean on every side

One has leapt up on the breach, crying Plunges and heaves at a bank that is

out: “ Follow me, follow me!"daily drown'd by the tide --

Mark him — he falls ! then another, and So many thousands that if they be bold

him too, and down goes he. enough, who shall escape ?

Had they been bold enough then, who Kill or be kill'd, live or die, they shall

can tell but the traitors had won ? know we are soldiers and men !

Boardings and rafters and doors -- an Ready ! take aim at their leaders -- their

embrasure ! make way for the masses are gapp'd with our grape-

gun ! Backward they reel like the wave, like

Now double-charge it with grape! It is the wave flinging forward again,

charged and we fire, and they run. Flying and foil'd at the last by the hand.

Praise to our Indian brothers, and let the "ful they could not subdue ;

dark face bave his due ! And ever upon the topinost roof our

| Thanks to the kindly dark faces who banner of England blew.

fought with us, faithful and few, Fought with the bravest among us, and

drove them, and smote them, and

slew, Handful of men as we were, we were that ever upon the topmost roof our English in heart and in limb,

banner in India blew. Strong with the strength of the race to

vi. command, to obey, to endure, Each of us fought as if hope for the gar- Men will forget whai we suffer and not rison hung but on him ;

what we do. We can fight; Still — could we watch at all points? we But to be soldier all day and be sentinel

were every day fewer and fewer. all thro' the night -There was a whisper among us, but only Ever the mine and assault, our sallies, a whisper that past :

their lying alarms. “ Children and wives — if the tigers leap Bugles and drums in the darkness, and into the fold unawares --

shoutings and soundings to arms, Every man die at his post -- and the foe Ever the labor of fifty that had to be may outlive us at last

done by five,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »