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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;
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;
from the sick bay
And round us gasping lay.
Yes, cheering, calling us by name,
Struggling with failing breath
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
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,
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;
And gave a living groan.
Down, down, as headlong through the waves
Our gallant vessel rushed,
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;
And everything was blank.
When I awoke, a soldier lad,
All dripping from the sea,
Was bending over me.
I tried to speak. He understood
The wish I could not speak.
Still fluttered at the peak !
And there, while thread shall hang to thread,
O let that ensign fly!
Against our northern sky.
A sign that we who live may claim
The peerage of the brave;
For those beneath the wave.
G. W. BOKER—MARCH 8, 1862.
Brave Morris saw the day was lost;
For nothing now remained,
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,
Would have made the ship's crew roar.
Over the wounded, dying, and dead,
Like an usher of the rod,
With dainty caution trod.
No heed he gave to the flying ball,
No heed to the bursting shell;
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,
Still grasping his master's sword !
We drew him out; and many an hour
We wrought with his rigid form,
By slow degrees grew warm.