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We felt our vessel settling fast,

We knew our time was brief. " “Ho! man the pumps !” But those who worked,

And fought not, wept with.grief.

"o keep us but an hour afloat !

0, give us only time To mete unto yon rebel crew

The measure of their crime !"

From captain down to powder-boy

No hand was idle then;
Two soldiers, but by chance aboard,

Fought on like sailor men.

And when a gun's crew lost a hand,

Some bold marine stepped out, And jerked his braided jacket off,

And hauled the gun about.

Our forward magazine was drowned;
And
up

from the sick bay
Crawled the wounded, red with blood,

And round us gasping lay.

Yes, cheering, calling us by name,

Struggling with failing breath
To keep their shipmates at their post

Where glory strove with death.

With decks afloat, and powder gone,

The last broadside we gave From the guns' heated iron lips

Burst out beneath the wave.

So sponges, rammers, and handspikes-,

As men-of-war's-men should
We placed within their proper racks,

And at our quarters stood.

“Up to the spar-deck! save yourselves!"

Cried Selfridge. “Up, my men! God grant that some of us may live

To fight yon ship again!

We turned, - we did not like to go;

Yet staying seemed but vain, Knee-deep in water; so we left;

Some swore, some groaned with pain.

We reached the deck. There Randall stood:

Another turn, men,-so!” Calmly he aimed his pivot gun:

“Now, Tenny, let her go!”

It did our sore hearts good to hear

The song our pivot sang,
As, rushing on from wave to wave,

The whirring bomb-shell sprang.

Brave Randall leaped upon the gun,

And waved his cap in sport; "Well done! well aimed! I saw that shell

Go through an open port.”'

It was our last, our deadliest shot;

The deck was overflown;
The poor ship staggered, lurched to port,

And gave a living groan.

Down, down, as headlong through the waves

Our gallant vessel rushed,
A thousand gurgling watery sounds

Around my senses gushed.

Then I remember little more.

One look to heaven I gave, Where, like an angel's wing, I saw

Our spotless ensign wave.

I tried to cheer. I cannot say

Whether I swam or sank;
A blue mist closed around my eyes,

And everything was blank.

When I awoke, a soldier lad,

All dripping from the sea,
With two great tears upon his cheeks,

Was bending over me.

I tried to speak. He understood

The wish I could not speak.
He turned me. There, thank God! the flag

Still fluttered at the peak !

And there, while thread shall hang to thread,

O let that ensign fly!
The noblest constellation set

Against our northern sky.

A sign that we who live may claim

The peerage of the brave;
A monument, that needs no scroll,

For those beneath the wave.

LXXXVII.

THE SWORD-BEARER.

G. W. BOKER—MARCH 8, 1862.

Brave Morris saw the day was lost;

For nothing now remained,
On the wrecked and sinking Cumberland,

But to save the flag unstained.

So he swore an oath in sight of Heaven,

If he kept it the world can tell: 6 Before I strike to a rebel flag,

I'll sink to the gates of hell!

• Here, take my sword; 't is in my way;

I shall trip o'er the useless steel ; For I'll meet the lot that falls to all

With my shoulder at the wheel.”

So the little negro took the sword;

And O with what reverent care,

Following his master step by step,

He bore it here and there !

A thought had crept through his sluggish brain,

And shone in his dusky face,

That somehow- he could not tell just how

'Twas the sword of his trampled race.

And as Morris, great with his lion heart,

Rushed onward, from gun to gun, The little negro slid after him,

Like a shadow in the sun.

But something of pomp and of curious pride

The sable creature wore,
Which at any time but a time like that

Would have made the ship's crew roar.

Over the wounded, dying, and dead,

Like an usher of the rod,
The black page, full of his mighty trust,

With dainty caution trod.

No heed he gave to the flying ball,

No heed to the bursting shell;
His duty was something more than life,

And he strove to do it well,

Down, with our starry flag a peak,

In the whirling sea we sank, And captain and crew and the sword-bearer

Were washed from the bloody plank.

They picked us up from the hungry waves;

Alas! not all! - "And where, Where is the faithful negro lad?

66 Back oars! avast! look there!"

We looked ; and as heaven may save my soul,

I pledge you a sailor's word,
There, fathoms deep in the sea, he lay,

Still grasping his master's sword !

We drew him out; and many an hour

We wrought with his rigid form,
Ere the almost smothered spark of life

By slow degrees grew warm.

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