Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Then Porter burst out from his mortars,
In jets of fiery spray,

As if a volcano had open'd

Where his leaf-clad vessels lay.

Howling, and screeching, and whizzing,
The bomb-shells arch'd on high,
And then, like gigantic meteors,
Dropp'd swiftly from the sky-

Dropp'd down on the low, doom'd fortress
A plague of iron death,
Shattering earth and granite to atoms
With their puffs of sulphurous breath.

The whole air quaked and shudder'd

As the great globes rose and fell, And the blazing shores look'd awful As the open gates of hell.

Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip,
And the battery on the right,
By this time were flashing and thundering
Out into the murky night.

Through the hulks and the cables, sunder'd By the bold Itasca's crew,

Went Bailey in silence, though round him The shells and the grape-shot flew.

No answer he made to their welcome,
Till abeam St. Philip bore;
Then, oh! but he sent them a greeting
In his broadsides' steady roar!

Meanwhile, the old man in the Hartford
Had ranged to Fort Jackson's side:
What a sight! he slow'd his engines

Till he barely stemm'd the tide,

I tell you, the air is nigh solid
With the howling iron flight;
And 'twas such a tempest blew o'er us
Where the Hartford lay that night.

Perch'd aloft in the forward rigging,
With his restless eyes aglow,
Sat Farragut, shouting his orders

To the men who fought below.

And the fort's huge faces of granite

Were splinter'd and rent in twain, And the masses seemed slowly melting, Like snow in a torrid rain.

Now quicker and quicker we fired,
Till between us and the foe
A torrent of blazing vapor
Was leaping to and fro;

While the fort, like a mighty cauldron,
Was boiling with flame and smoke,
And the stone flew aloft in fragments,
And the brick into powder broke.

.

So thick fell the clouds o'er the river,
You could hardly see your hand,
When we heard from the foremast rigging,
Old Farragut's sharp command:

"Full head! Steam across to St. Philip! Starboard battery, mind your aim ! Forecastle, there, shift your pivots! Now Give them a taste of the same !"

St. Philip grew faint in replying, Its voice of thunder was drown'd. "But, ha! what is this? Back the engines! Back back! The ship is aground !"

The fire was soon quench'd. One last broadside
We gave to the surly fort;
For above us the rebel gunboats

Were wheeling like devils at sport.

And into our vacant station

Had glided a bulky form : 'Twas Craven's stout Brooklyn, demanding Her share of the furious storm.

We could hear the shot of St. Philip
Ring on her armor of chain,

And the crash of her answering broadsides
Taking and giving again.

We could hear the low growl of Craven,
And Lowry's voice, clear and calm,
While they swept off the rebel ramparts
As clean as your open palm.

Then, ranging close under our quarter,
Out burst from the smoky fogs
The queen of the waves, the Varuna,
The ship of bold Charley Boggs.

He waved his blue cap as he passed us;
The blood of his glorious race,

Of Lawrence the hero, was burning
Once more in a living face.

Right and left flash'd his heavy broadsides;
Rams, gunboats-it matter'd not;
Wherever a rebel flag floated

Was a target for his shot.

All burning and sinking around him
Lay five of the foe; but he,

The victor, seem'd doom'd with the vanquish'd,
When along dash'd gallant Lee.

I think our old captains in heaven,
As they look'd upon those deeds,
Were proud of the flower of that navy
Of which they planted the seeds.

Paul Jones, the knight-errant of ocean,
Decatur, the lord of the seas,
Hull, Lawrence, and Bainbridge, and Biddle,
And Perry, the peer of all these.

If Porter beheld his descendant
With some human pride on his lip,
I trust, through the mercy of Heaven,
His soul was forgiven that slip.

And thou, living veteran, "Old Ironsides,"
The last of the splendid line,
Thou link 'twixt the old and new glory,
I know what feelings were thine.

When the sun look'd over the tree-tops,

We found ourselves-Heaven knows howAbove the grim forts; and that instant

A smoke broke from Farragut's bow;

And over the river came floating
The sound of the morning gun,

And the Stars and Stripes danced up the halliards,
And glitter'd against the sun.

Oh! then what a shout from the squadrons,
As flag follow'd flag, till the day
Was bright with the beautiful standard,
And wild with the victors' huzza!

But three ships were missing; the others

Had pass'd through that current of flame; And each scar on their shatter'd bulwarks

Was touch'd by the finger of Fame.

In vain the town clamor'd and struggled,
The flag at our peak ruled the hour;
And under its shade, like a lion,

Were resting the will and the power.

THE HOUR OF DEATII.-F. Hemans.

LEAVES have their time to fall,

And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath,

And stars to set-but all,

Thou hast all seasons for thine own, oh Death!

Day is for mortal care,

Eve for glad meetings round the joyous hearth,
Night for the dreams of sleep, the voice of prayer—
But all for Thee, thou mightiest of the earth.

The banquet hath its hour,

Its feverish hour of mirth, and song, and wine;
There comes a day for grief's o'erwhelming power,
A time for softer tears-but all are thine.

Youth and the opening rose

May look like things too glorious for decay,

And smile at thee-but thou art not of those That wait the ripened bloom to seize their prey.

Leaves have their time to fall,

And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath,
And stars to set-but all,

Thou hast all seasons for thine own, oh Death!

We know when moons shall wane,

When summer-birds from far shall cross the sea,
When autumn's hue shall tinge the golden grain-
But who shall teach us when to look for thee?

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »