Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ANCHORSMITHS, by CHARLES DIBDIN



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THE ANCHORSMITHS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Like etna's dread volcano, see the ample forge
Last Line: To save from adverse winds and waves the gallant british fleet.
Alternate Author Name(s): Dibdin, Charles Isaac Mungo; Dibdin, Charles, Jr.
Subject(s): Anchors


LIKE Etna's dread volcano see the ample forge
Large heaps upon large heaps of jetty fuel gorge,
While, salamander-like, the ponderous anchor lies
Glutted with vivid fire through all its pores that flies;
The dingy anchorsmiths, to renovate their strength,
Stretched out in deathlike sleep are snoring at their length,
Waiting the master's signal when the tackle's force
Shall, like split rocks, the anchor from the fire divorce;
While, as old Vulcan's Cyclops did the anvil bang,
In deafening concert shall their ponderous hammers clang,
And into symmetry the mass incongruous beat,
To save from adverse winds and waves the gallant British Fleet.

Now, as more vivid and intense each splinter flies,
The temper of the fire the skilful master tries;
And, as the dingy hue assumes a brilliant red,
The heated anchor feeds that fire on which it fed.
The huge sledgehammers round in order they arrange,
And waking anchorsmiths await the looked-for change,
Longing with all their force the ardent mass to smite,
When issuing from the fire arrayed in dazzling white;
And, as old Vulcan's Cyclops did the anvil bang,
To make in concert rude their ponderous hammers clang,
So the misshapen lump to symmetry they beat,
To save from adverse winds and waves the gallant British Fleet.

The preparations thicken; with forks the fire they goad,
And now twelve anchorsmiths the heaving bellows load,
While, armed from every danger and in grim array,
Anxious as howling demons waiting for their prey;
The forge the anchor yields from out its fiery maw,
Which, on the anvil prone, the cavern shouts 'hurraw!'
And now the scorched beholders want the power to gaze,
Faint with its heat, and dazzled with its powerful rays;
While, as old Vulcan's Cyclops did the anvil bang,
To forge Jove's thunderbolts, their ponderous hammers clang:
And, till its fire's extinct, the monstrous mass they beat
To save from adverse winds and waves the gallant British Fleet.





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