Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE 'VARUNA', by GEORGE HENRY BOKER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE 'VARUNA', by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Who has not heard of the dauntless varuna
Last Line: Oh! For the dead let us all kneel to pray!
Subject(s): American Civil War; New Orleans, Battle Of (1862); United States - History; Varuna (ship)

WHO has not heard of the dauntless Varuna?
Who has not heard of the deeds she has done?
Who shall not hear, while the brown Mississippi
Rushes along from the snow to the sun?

Crippled and leaking she entered the battle,
Sinking and burning she fought through the fray;
Crushed were her sides and the waves ran across her,
Ere, like a death-wounded lion at bay,
Sternly she closed in the last fatal grapple,
Then in her triumph moved grandly away.

Five of the rebels, like satellites round her,
Burned in her orbit of splendor and fear;
One, like the Pleiad of mystical story,
Shot, terror-stricken, beyond her dread sphere.

We who are waiting with crowns for the victors,
Though we should offer the wealth of our store,
Load the Varuna from deck down to kelson,
Still would be niggard, such tribute to pour
On courage so boundless. It beggars possession, --
It knocks for just payment at heaven's bright door!

Cherish the heroes who fought the Varuna;
Treat them as kings if they honor your way;
Succor and comfort the sick and the wounded;
Oh! for the dead let us all kneel to pray!

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