Page images

And the cannonade of heaven

Rolls down the Amazon !) But as we worked along higher,

Just where the river enlarges, Down came a pyramid of fire

It was one of your long coal barges.

(We had often had the like before)'Twas coming down on us to larboard,

Well in with the eastern shoreAnd our pilot, to let it pass round (You may guess we never stopped to sound), Giving us a rank sheer to starboard,

Ran the Flag hard and fast aground! 'Twas nigh abreast of the Upper Fort;

And straightway a rascal ram

(She was shaped like the devil's dam) Puffed away for us, with a snort,

And shoved it, with spiteful strength,
Right alongside of us, to port-

It was all of our ship's length,
A huge crackling cradle of the pit!

Pitch-pine knots to the brim,

Belching flame red and grim-
What a roar came up from it !
Well, for a little it looked bad-

But these things are, somehow, shorter
In the acting than the telling-
There was no singing-out nor yelling,
Nor any fussing and fretting,

No stampede, in short-
But there we were, my lad,

All a-fire on our port quarter ! Hammocks a-blaze in the netting,

Flame spouting in at every portOur fourth cutter burning at the davit (No chance to lower away and save it).

In a twinkling, the flames had risen
Halfway to maintop and mizzen,

Darting up the shrouds like snakes!
Ah! how we clanked at the brakes,
And the deep steam-pumps throbbed under,

Sending a ceaseless flow!
Our top-men, a dauntless crowd,
Swarmed in rigging and shroud-

There ('twas a wonder.)
The burning ratlins and strands
They quenched with their bare hard hands

But the great guns below
Never silenced their thunder!

At last, by backing and sounding,
When we were clear of grounding,

And under headway once more,
The whole rebel fleet came rounding

The point. If we had it hot before,
'Twas now, from shore to shore,

One long, loud, thundering roar-
Such crashing, splintering, and pounding,

And smashing as you never heard before!
But that we fought foul wrong to wreck,

And to save the land we loved so well, You might have deemed our long gun-deck

Two hundred feet of hell !

For all above was battle,
Broadside, and blaze, and rattle,

Smoke and thunder alone-
(But down in the sick-bay,
Where our wounded and dying lay,

There was scarce a sob or a moan.)
And at last, when the day broke,
And the sullen sun awoke,

Drearily blinking
O'er the haze and the cannon-smoke,

That ever such morning dulls-
There were thirteen traitor hulls

On fire and sinking !
Now, up the river though mad Chalmette
Sputters a vain resistance yet.
Small helm we gave her, our course to steer-

'Twas nicer work than you well would dream, With cant and sheer to keep her clear

Of the burning wrecks that cumbered the stream. The Louisiana, hurled on high, Mounts in thunder to meet the sky! Then down to the depths of the turbid flood Fifty fathom of rebel mud! The Mississippi comes floating down, A mighty bonfire, from off the townAnd along the river, on stocks and ways, A half-hatched devil's brood is ablaze; The great Anglo-Norman is all in flames, (Hark to the roar of her tumbling frames !) And the smaller fry that Treason would spawn Are lighting Algiers like an angry dawn ! From stem to stern, how the pirates burn,

Fired by the furious hands that built ! So to ashes forever turn

The suicide wrecks of wrong and guilt ! But as we neared the city,

By field and vast plantation,

(Ah, millstone of our nation !) With wonder and with pity

What crowds we there espied
Of dark and wistful faces,
Mute in their toiling-places,

Strangely and sadly eyed-
Haply, 'mid doubt and fear,
Deeming deliverance near-
(One gave the ghost of a cheer!)

And on that dolorous strand,

To greet the victor-brave

One flag did welcome waveRaised, ah me! by a wretched hand All outworn on our cruel land

The withered hand of a slave! But all along the levee,

In a dark and drenching rain (By this, 'twas pouring heavy),

Stood a fierce and sullen train
A strange and a frenzied time!
There were scowling rage and pain,

Curses, howls, and hisses,

Out of hate's black abyssesTheir courage and their crime

All in vain—all in vain ! For from the hour that the rebel stream, With the Crescent City lying abeam,

Shuddered under our keel,
Smit to the heart with self-struck sting,
Slavery died in her scorpion-ring,

And Murder fell on his steel.
'Tis well to do and dare-
But ever may grateful prayer
Follow, as aye it ought,
When the good fight is fought,

When the true deed is done;
Aloft in heaven's pure light
(Deep azure crossed on white),
Our fair Church-Pennant waves
O'er a thousand thankful braves,

Bareheaded in God's bright sun.
Lord of mercy and frown,
Ruling o'er sea and shore,
Send us such scene once more!

All in Line of Battle

When the black ships bear down
On tyrant fort and town,

'Mid cannon cloud and rattle
And the great guns once more
Thunder back the roar
Of the traitor walls ashore,
And the traitor flags come down !



[General Turner Ashby, a noted Confederate cavalry officer fell in an engagement at Harrisburg, Va., June, 1862.] To the brave all homage render;

Weep, ye skies of June !
With a radiance pure and tender,

Shine, O saddened moon !
Dead upon the field of glory!"-
Hero fit for song and story

Lies our bold dragoon!
Well they learned, whose hands have slain him,

Braver, knightlier foe
Never fought gainst Moor or Paynim-

Rode at Templestowe:
With a mien how high and joyous,
'Gainst the hordes that would destroy us

Went he forth, we know.
Nevermore, alas ! shall sabre

Gleam around his crest-
Fought his fight, fulfilled his labor,

Stilled his manly breast-
All unheard sweet nature's cadence,
Trump of fame and voice of maidens;

Now he takes his rest.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »