Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SACK OF BALTIMORE, by THOMAS OSBORNE DAVIS



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THE SACK OF BALTIMORE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The summer sun is falling softly on carbery's hundred isles
Last Line: More.
Subject(s): Baltimore, Ireland; Kidnapping; Pirates; Tragedy; Piracy; Buccaneers


THE summer sun is falling soft on Carbery's
hundred isles,
The summer sun is gleaming still through Ga-
briel's rough defiles, --
Old Inisherkin's crumbled fane looks like a moult-
ing bird;
And in a calm and sleepy swell the ocean tide is
heard:
The hookers lie upon the beach; the children cease
their play;
The gossips leave the little inn; the households
kneel to pray;
And full of love and peace and rest, -- its daily
labor o'er, --
Upon that cosy creek there lay the town of Balti-
more.

A deeper rest, a starry trance, has come with mid-
night there;
No sound, except that throbbing wave, in earth or
sea or air.
The massive capes and ruined towers seem con-
scious of the calm;
The fibrous sod and stunted trees are breathing
heavy balm.
So still the night, these two long barks round
Dunashad that glide
Must trust their oars -- methinks not few -- against
the ebbing tide.
O, some sweet mission of true love must urge
them to the shore, --
They bring some lover to his bride, who sighs in
Baltimore!

All, all asleep within each roof along that rocky
street,
And these must be the lover's friends, with gently
gliding feet.
A stifled gasp! a dreamy noise! The roof is in
a flame!
From out their beds, and to their doors, rush maid
and sire and dame,
And meet upon the threshold stone, the gleaming
sabre's fall,
And o'er each black and bearded face the white
or crimson shawl.
The yell of "Allah!" breaks above the prayer and
shriek and roar --
O blessed God! the Algerine is lord of Balti-
more!
Then flung the youth his naked hand against the
shearing sword;
Then sprung the mother on the brand with which
her son was gored;

Then sunk the grandsire on the floor, his grand-
babes clutching wild;
Then fled the maiden moaning faint, and nestled
with the child.
But see, yon pirate strangling lies, and crushed
with splashing heel,
While o'er him in an Irish hand there sweeps his
Syrian steel;
Though virtue sink, and courage fail, and misers
yield their store,
There's one hearth well avenged in the sack of
Baltimore!

Midsummer morn, in woodland nigh, the birds
begin to sing;
They see not now the milking-maids, deserted is
the spring!
Midsummer day, this gallant rides from the dis-
tant Bandon's town,
These hookers crossed from stormy Skull, that
skiff from Affadown.
They only found the smoking walls with neigh-
bors' blood besprent,
And on the strewed and trampled beach awhile
they wildly went,
Then dashed to sea and passed Cape Clear, and
saw, five leagues before
The pirate-galleys vanishing that ravaged Balti-
more.

O, some must tug the galley's oar, and some must
tend the steed, --
This boy will bear a Scheik's chibouk, and that
a Bey's jerreed.
O, some are for the arsenals by beauteous Darda
nelles,
And some are in the caravan to Mecca's sandy
dells.
The maid that Bandon gallant sought is chosen
for the Dey,
She's safe, -- she's dead, -- she stabbed him in the
midst of his Serai;
And when to die a death of fire that noble maid
they bore,
She only smiled, -- O'Driscoll's child, -- she thought
of Baltimore.

'T is two long years since sunk the town beneath
that bloody band,
And all around its trampled hearth a larger con-
course stand,
Where high upon a gallows-tree a yelling wretch
is seen, --
'T is Hackett of Dungarvan, -- he who steered the
Algerine!
He fell amid a sullen shout, with scarce a passing
prayer,
For he had slain the kith and kin of many a hun-
dred there:
Some muttered of MacMorrogh, who had brought
the Norman o'er,
Some cursed him with Iscariot, that day in Balti-
more.




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