Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CERVERA, by BERTRAND SHADWELL

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CERVERA, by            
First Line: Hail to thee, gallant foe!
Last Line: Honor above them.
Subject(s): Admirals; Cervera, Pasquale De (1839-1909); Navy - Spain; Sea Battles; Spanish-american War (1898); Spanish Navy; Naval Warfare

HAIL to thee, gallant foe!
Well hast thou struck thy blow --
Hopeless of victory --
Daring unequal strife,
Valuing more than life
Honor and chivalry.

Forth from the harbor's room
Rushing to meet thy doom,
Lit by the day's clear light.
"Out to the waters free!
Out to the open sea!
There should a sailor fight."

Where the red battle's roar
Beats on the rocky shore,
Thunders proclaiming
How the great cannon's breath
Hurls forth a dreadful death,
Smoking and flaming.

While her guns ring and flash,
See each frail vessel dash,
Though our shots rend her,
Swift through the iron rain,
Bearing the flag of Spain,
Scorning surrender.

Hemmed in 'twixt foe and wreck,
Blood soaks each slippery deck,
Still madly racing,
Till their ships burn and reel,
Crushed by our bolts of steel,
Firing and chasing.

Driven to the rocks at last,
Now heels each shattered mast,
Flames the blood drinking,
Each with her load of dead,
Wrapped in that shroud of red,
Silenced and sinking.

Vanquished! but not in vain:
Ancient renown of Spain,
Coming upon her.
Once again lives in thee,
All her old chivalry,
All her old honor.

Ever her past avers,
When wealth and lands were hers,
Though she might love them,
Die for their keeping, yet
Spain, in her pride, has set
Honor above them.

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