Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LORD EXMOUTH'S VICTORY AT ALGIERS, 1816, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD



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LORD EXMOUTH'S VICTORY AT ALGIERS, 1816, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The sun looked bright upon the morning tide
Last Line: In glorious victory.
Subject(s): Navy - Great Britain; Pellew, Edward. 1st Viscount Exmouth; Sea Battles; English Navy; Naval Warfare


"Arma virumque cano."

THE sun looked bright upon the morning tide:
Light played the breeze along the whispering shore,
And the blue billow arched its head of pride,
As 'gainst the rock its frothy front it bore;
The clear bright dew fled hastily before
The morning's sun, and glittered in his rays;
Aloft the early lark was seen to soar,
And cheerful nature glorified the ways
Of God, and mutely sang her joyous notes of praise.
The freshening breeze, the sporting wave,
Their own impartial greeting gave
To Christian and to Turk;
But both prepared to break the charm
Of peace, with war's confused alarm --
And ready each, for combat warm,
Commenced the bloody work.
For England's might was on the seas,
With red cross flapping in the breeze,
And streamer floating light;
While the pale crescent, soon to set,
Waved high on tower and minaret,
And all the pride of Mahomet
Stood ready for the fight.
Then swelled the noise of battle high;
The warrior's shout, the coward's cry,
Rung round the spacious bay.
Fierce was the strife, and ne'er before
Had old Numidia's rocky shore
Been deafened with such hideous roar,
As on that bloody day.
It seemed as if that earth-born brood,
Which, poets say, once warred on God,
Had risen from the sea;--
As if again they boldly strove
To seize the thunderbolts of Jove,
And o'er Olympian powers to prove
Their own supremacy.
What though the sun has sunk to rest?
What though the clouds of smoke invest
The capes of Matisou?
Still by the flash each sees his foe,
And, dealing round him death and woe,
With shot for shot, and blow for blow,
Fights --to his country true.
Each twinkling star looked down to see
The pomp of England's chivalry,
The pride of Briton's crown!
While ancient Ętna raised his head,
Disgorging from his unknown bed
A fire, that round each hero shed
A halo of renown.
The dying sailor cheered his crew,
While thick around the death-shot flew;
And glad was he to see
Old England's flag still streaming high,--
Her cannon speaking to the sky,
And telling all the powers on high,
Of Exmouth's victory!
The crescent wanes -- the Turkish might
Is vanquished in the bloody fight,
The Pirate's race is run;--
Thy shouts are hushed, and all is still
On tower, and battlement, and hill,
No loud command -- no answer shrill --
Algiers! thy day is done!
The slumb'ring tempest swelled its breath,
And sweeping o'er the field of death,
And o'er the waves of gore,
Above the martial trumpet's tone,
Above the wounded soldier's moan,
Above the dying sailor's groan,
Raised its terrific roar.
Speed swift, ye gales, and bear along
This burden for the poet's song,
O'er continent and sea:
Tell to the world that Britain's hand
Chastised the misbelieving band,
And overcame the Paynim land
In glorious victory.






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