Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
Down!
By Henry Howard Brownell (1820–1872)
 
[Born in Providence, R. I., 1820. Died at Hartford, Conn., 1872. From War-Lyrics, and Other Poems. 1866.]

YARD-ARM to yard-arm we lie
Alongside the Ship of Hell—
And still through the sulphury sky
The terrible clang goes high,
Broadside and battle cry,        5
  And the pirates’ maddened yell!
 
Our Captain’s cold on the deck,
Our brave Lieutenant’s a wreck—
  He lies in the hold there, hearing
The storm of fight going on overhead,        10
Tramp and thunder to wake the dead:
The great guns jumping overhead,
  And the whole ship’s company cheering!
 
Four hours the Death-Fight has roared,
  (Gun-deck and berth-deck blood wet!)        15
Her mainmast’s gone by the board,
Down come topsail and jib!
We’re smashing her, rib by rib,
And the pirate yells grow weak—
  But the Black Flag flies there yet,        20
The Death’s Head grinning a-peak!
 
Long has she haunted the seas,
Terror of sun and breeze.
Her deck has echoed with groans,
  Her hold is a horrid den        25
Piled to the orlop with bones
  Of starved and of murdered men:
They swarm ’mid her shrouds in hosts,
The smoke is murky with ghosts.
 
But to-day, her cruise shall be short:        30
She’s bound to the Port she cleared from,
She’s nearing the Light she steered from—
  Ah, the Horror sets her fate!
Heeling heavy to port,
  She strikes, but all too late!        35
Down, with her cursed crew,
  Down, with her damnèd freight,
To the bottom of the Blue,
Ten thousand fathom deep!
  With God’s glad sun o’erhead—        40
That is the way to weep,
  So will we mourn our dead!
 
 
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