Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
July 2
The Brooklyn at Santiago
By Wallace Rice (1859–1939)
’TWIXT clouded heights Spain hurls to doom
  Ships staunch and brave,
Majestic, forth they flash and boom
  Upon the wave.
El Morro raises eyes of hate        5
  Far out to sea,
And speeds Cervera to his fate
  With canonry.
The Brooklyn o’er the deep espies
  His flame-wreathed side:        10
She sets her banners on the skies
  In fearful pride.
On, to the harbor’s mouth of fire,
  Fierce for the fray,
She darts, an eagle from his eyre,        15
  Upon her prey.
She meets the brave Teresa there—
  Sigh, sigh for Spain!—
And beats her clanging armor bare
  With glittering rain.        20
The bold Vizcaya’s lightnings glance
  Into the throng
Where loud the bannered Brooklyn chants
  Her awful song.
Down swoops, in one tremendous curve,        25
  Our Commodore;
His broadsides roll, the foemen swerve
  Toward the shore.
In one great round his Brooklyn turns
  And, girdling there        30
This side and that with glory, burns
  Spain to despair.
Frightful in onslaught, fraught with fate
  Her missiles hiss:
The Spaniard sees, when all too late,        35
  A Nemesis.
The Oquendo’s diapason swells;
  Then, torn and lame,
Her portholes turn to yawning wells,
  Geysers of flame.        40
Yet fierce and fiercer breaks and cries
  Our rifles’ dread:
The doomed Teresa shudders—lies
  Stark with her dead.
How true the Brooklyn’s battery speaks        45
  Eulate knows,
As the Vizcaya staggers, shrieks
  Her horrent woes.
Sideward she plunges: nevermore
  Shall Biscay feel        50
Her heart throb for the ship that wore
  Her name in steel.
The Oquendo’s ports a moment shone,
  As gloomed her knell;
She trembles, bursts—the ship is gone        55
  Headlong to hell.
The fleet Colon in lonely flight—
  Spain’s hope, Spain’s fear!—
Sees, and it lends her wings of fright,
  Schley’s pennant near.        60
The fleet Colon scuds on alone—
  God, how she runs!—
And ever hears behind her moan
  The Brooklyn’s guns.
Our ruthless cannon o’er the flood        65
  Roar and draw nigh;
Spain’s ensign stained with gold and blood,
  Falls from on high.
The world she gave the World has passed—
  Gone, with her power—        70
Dead, ’neath the Brooklyn’s thunderblast,
  In one great hour.
The bannered Brooklyn! gallant crew,
  And gallant Schley!
Proud is the flag his sailors flew        75
  Along the sky.
Proud is his country: for each star
  Our Union wears,
The fighting Brooklyn shows a scar—
  So much he dares.        80
God save us war upon the seas;
  But, if it slip,
Send such a chief, with men like these,
  On such a ship!

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