Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The Battle of Valparaiso
 
Prœliis audax, neque te silebo.—Hor.

  FROM the laurel’s fairest bough,
    Let the muse her garland twine,
  To adorn our Porter’s brow,
    Who, beyond the burning line,
Led his caravan of tars o’er the tide.        5
  To the pilgrims fill the bowl,
  Who, around the southern pole,
  Saw new constellations roll,
        For their guide.
 
  “Heave the topmast from the board,        10
    And our ship for action clear,
  By the cannon and the sword,
    We will die or conquer here.
The foe, of twice our force, nears us fast:
  To your posts, my faithful tars!        15
  Mind your rigging, guns, and spars,
  And defend your stripes and stars
        To the last.”
 
  At the captain’s bold command,
    Flew each sailor to his gun,        20
  And resolved he there would stand,
    Though the odds was two to one,
To defend his flag and ship with his life:
  High on every mast display’d,
  “God, Our Country, and Free Trade.”        25
  E’en the bravest braver made
        For the strife.
 
  Fierce the storm of battle pours:
    But, unmoved as ocean’s rock,
  When the tempest round it roars,        30
    Every seaman breasts the shock,
Boldly stepping where his brave messmates fall.
  O’er his head, full oft and loud,
  Like the vulture in a cloud,
  As it cuts the twanging shroud,        35
        Screams the ball.
 
  Before the siroc blast
    From its iron caverns driven,
  Drops the sear’d and shiver’d mast,
    By the bolt of battle riven,        40
And higher heaps the ruin of the deck—
  As the sailor, bleeding, dies,
  To his comrades lifts his eyes,
  “Let our flag still wave,” he cries,
        O’er the wreck.        45
 
  In echo to the sponge,
    Hark! along the silent lee,
  Oft is heard the solemn plunge,
    In the bosom of the sea.
’Tis not the sullen plunge of the dead,        50
  But the self-devoted tar,
  Who, to grace the victor’s car,
  Scorns from home and friends afar
        To be led.
 
  Long live the gallant crew        55
    Who survived that day of blood:
  And may fortune soon renew
    Equal battle on the flood.
Long live the glorious names of the brave
  O’er these martyrs of the deep,        60
  Oft the roving tar shall weep,
  Crying, “Sweetly may they sleep
        ’Neath the wave.”
 
 
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