Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HOW THE CUMBERLAND WENT DOWN [MARCH 8, 1862], by SILAS WEIR MITCHELL



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HOW THE CUMBERLAND WENT DOWN [MARCH 8, 1862], by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Gray swept the angry waves
Last Line: As the cumberland went down.
Subject(s): American Civil War; Cumberland (Ship); Hampton Roads, Virginia; Sea Battles; United States - History; Virginia (Ship); Naval Warfare; Merrimac (Ship)


GRAY swept the angry waves
O'er the gallant and the true,
Rolled high in mounded graves
O'er the stately frigate's crew --
Over cannon, over deck,
Over all that ghastly wreck, --
When the Cumberland went down.

Such a roar the waters rent
As though a giant died,
When the wailing billows went
Above those heroes tried;
And the sheeted foam leaped high,
Like white ghosts against the sky, --
As the Cumberland went down.

O shrieking waves that gushed
Above that loyal band,
Your cold, cold burial rushed
O'er many a heart on land!
And from all the startled North
A cry of pain broke forth,
When the Cumberland went down.

And forests old, that gave
A thousand years of power
To her lordship of the wave
And her beauty's regal dower,
Bent, as though before a blast,
When plunged her pennoned mast,
And the Cumberland went down.

And grimy mines that sent
To her their virgin strength,
And iron vigor lent
To knit her lordly length,
Wildly stirred with throbs of life,
Echoes of that fatal strife,
As the Cumberland went down.

Beneath the ocean vast,
Full many a captain bold,
By many a rotting mast,
And admiral of old,
Rolled restless in his grave
As he felt the sobbing wave,
When the Cumberland went down.

And stern Vikings that lay
A thousand years at rest,
In many a deep blue bay
Beneath the Baltic's breast,
Leaped on the silver sands,
And shook their rusty brands,
As the Cumberland went down.





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