Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
“Don’t Give up the Ship”
By Robert Milledge Charlton (1807–1854)
 
A HERO on his vessel’s deck
  Lay weltering in his gore,
And tatter’d sail and shatter’d wreck
  Told that the fight was o’er:
But e’en when death had glazed his eye,        5
  His feeble, quivering lip
Still utter’d with life’s latest sigh,
  “Don’t, don’t give up the ship.”
 
How often at the midnight hour,
  When clouds of guilt and fear        10
Did o’er my hapless bosom lower,
  To drive me to despair,
Those words have rush’d upon my mind,
  And bounded to my lip,
While whisper’d hope, in accents kind,        15
  “Don’t, don’t give up the ship.”
 
O ye whose bark is rudely toss’d
  Upon life’s stormy sea,
When e’en hope’s beacon-light seems lost,
  And danger’s on the lee,        20
Though howling storms of dark despair
  Your luckless vessel strip,
Still lift to heaven your ardent prayer,
  And “Don’t give up the ship.”
 
And ye who sigh for beauty’s smile,        25
  Yet droop beneath her sneer,
Who’d deem e’en heaven a desert isle,
  If woman were not there;
If you would hope each honey’d sweet
  From her dear lips to sip,        30
Though she may spurn, thy vows repeat,
  And “Don’t give up the ship.”
 
O let these words your motto be,
  Whatever ills befall;
Though foes beset, and pleasures flee,        35
  And passion’s wiles enthral,
Though danger spread her ready snare,
  Your erring steps to trip,
Remember that dead hero’s prayer,
  And “Don’t give up the ship.”        40
 
 
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