Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DESCRIPTION OF A NINETY-GUN SHIP, by WILLIAM FALCONER



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DESCRIPTION OF A NINETY-GUN SHIP, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Amidst a wood of oaks with canvas leaves
Last Line: And with triumphant navies rule the main!
Subject(s): Navy - Great Britain; English Navy


AMIDST a wood of oaks with canvas leaves,
Which form'd a floating forest on the waves,
There stood a tower, whose vast stupendous size
Rear'd its huge mast, and seem'd to gore the skies,
From which a bloody pendant stretch'd afar
Its comet-tail, denouncing ample war:
Two younger giants, of inferior height,
Display'd their sporting streamers to the sight:
The base below, another island rose,
To pour Britannia's thunder on her foes:
With bulk immense, like AEtna, she surveys
Above the rest, the lesser Cyclades:
Profuse of gold, in lustre like the sun,
Splendid with regal luxury she shone,
Lavish in wealth, luxuriant in her pride,
Behold the gilded mass exulting ride!
Her curious prow divides the silver waves,
In the salt ooze her radiant sides she laves;
From stem to stern, her wondrous length survey,
Rising a beauteous Venus from the sea:
Her stem, with naval drapery engraved,
Show'd mimic warriors, who the tempest braved;
Whose visage fierce defied the lashing surge,
Of Gallic pride the emblematic scourge.
Tremendous figures, lo! her stern displays,
And holds a Pharos of distinguish'd blaze:
By night it shines a star of brightest form,
To point her way, and light her through the storm:
See dread engagements pictured to the life,
See admirals maintain the glorious strife:
Here breathing images in painted ire,
Seem for their country's freedom to expire:
Victorious fleets the flying fleets pursue --
Here strikes a ship, and there exults a crew:
A frigate here blows up with hideous glare,
And adds fresh terrors to the bleeding war.
But leaving feigned ornaments, behold!
Eight hundred youths, of heart and sinew bold,
Mount up her shrouds, or to her tops ascend,
Some haul her braces, some her foresail bend;
Full ninety brazen guns her port-holes fill,
Ready with nitrous magazines to kill;
From dread embrazures formidably peep,
And seem to threaten ruin to the deep:
On pivots fix'd, the well-ranged swivels lie,
Or to point downward, or to brave the sky;
While peteraroes swell with infant rage,
Prepared, though small, with fury to engage.
Thus arm'd, may Britain long her state maintain,
And with triumphant navies rule the main!




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