Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
February 2
The Kearsarge
By James Jeffrey Roche (1847–1908)
 
          A wooden corvette launched at Portsmouth, N. H., Sept., 1861. On Feb. 2, 1894, she was wrecked upon Roncador reef in the Caribbean Sea. It was the Kearsarge that destroyed the confederate cruiser the Alabama off Cherburg, France.

  IN the gloomy ocean bed
  Dwelt a formless thing and said,
In the dim and countless eons long ago,
  “I will build a stronghold high,
  Ocean’s power to defy,        5
And the pride of haughty man to lay low.”
 
  Crept the minutes for the sad,
  Sped the cycles for the glad,
But the march of time was neither less nor more;
  While the formless atom died,        10
  Myriad millions by its side,
And above them slowly lifted Roncador.
 
  Roncador of Caribee,
  Coral dragon of the sea,
Ever sleeping with his teeth below the wave;        15
  Woe to him who breaks the sleep!
  Woe to them who sail the deep!
Woe to ship and man that fear a shipman’s grave!
 
  Hither many a galleon old,
  Heavy-keeled with guilty gold,        20
Fled before the hardy rover smiting sore;
  But the sleeper silent lay
  Till the preyer and his prey
Brought their plunder and their bones to Roncador.
 
  Be content, O conqueror!        25
  Now our bravest ship of war,
War and tempest who had often braved before,
  All her storied prowess past,
  Strikes her glorious flag at last
To the formless thing that builded Roncador.        30
 
 
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