Slip anchor, all! and at her, all!
Bear down with rushing beaks—and now!
First the Monongahela struck—and reeled;
The Lackawana’s prow
Next crashed—crashed, but not crashing; then
The Admiral rammed, and rasping nigh
Sloped in a broadside, which glanced by:
The Monitors battered at her adamant den.
The Chickasaw plunged beneath the stern
And pounded there; a huge wrought orb
From the Manhattan pierced one wall, but dropped;
Others the seas absorb.
Yet stormed on all sides, narrowed in,
Hampered and cramped, the bad one fought—
Spat ribald curses from the port
Who shutters, jammed, locked up this Man-of-Sin.
No pause or stay. They made a din
Like hammers round a boiler forged;
Now straining strength tangled itself with strength,
Till Hate her will disgorged.
The white flag showed, the fight was won—
Mad shouts went up that shook the Bay;
But pale on the scarred fleet’s decks there lay
A silent man for every silenced gun.
And quiet far below the wave,
Where never cheers shall move their sleep,
Some who did boldly, nobly earn them, lie—
Charmed children of the deep.
But decks that now are in the seed,
And cannon yet within the mine,
Shall thrill the deeper, gun and pine,
Because of the Tecumseh’s glorious deed.
Shoe the steed with silver
That bore him to the fray,
When he heard the guns at dawning—
When he heard them calling, calling—
Mount! nor stay:
Quick, or all is lost;
They’ve surprised and stormed the post,
They push your routed host—
Gallop! retrieve the day.
House the horse in ermine—
For the foam-flake blew
White through the red October;
He thundered into view;
They cheered him in the looming,
Horseman and horse they knew.
The turn of the tide began,
The rally of bugles ran,
He swung his hat in the van;
The electric hoof-spark flew.
Wreathe the steed and lead him—
For the charge he led
Touched and turned the cypress
Into amaranths for the head
Of Philip, king of riders,
Who raised them from the dead.
The camp (at dawning lost),
By eve, recovered—forced,
Rang with laughter of the host
At belated Early fled.
Shroud the horse in sable—
For the mounds they heap!
There is firing in the Valley,
And yet no strife they keep;
It is the parting volley,
It is the pathos deep.
There is glory for the brave
Who lead, and noblys ave,
But no knowledge in the grave
Where the nameless followers sleep.