The lubbers had hare’s lugs where seamen have
So we stowed all saluting and smothered our cheers,
And to humour their stomachs and tempt them to dine,
In the offing we showed them but six of the line.
One morning the topmen reported below
The old Agamemnon escaped from the foe.
Says Nelson: “My lads, there’ll be honour for some,
For we’re sure of a battle now Berry has come.”
“Up hammocks!” at last cried the bo’sun
The guns were cast loose and the tompions drawn;
The gunner was bustling the shot racks to fill,
And “All hands to quarters!” was piped with a will.
We now saw the enemy bearing ahead,
And to East of them Cape Traflagar it was said,
’Tis a name we remember from father to son,
That the days of old England may never be done.
The Victory led, to her flag it was due,
Tho’ the Temeraires thought themselves Admirals too;
But Lord Nelson he hailed them with masterful grace:
“Cap’n Harvey, I’ll thank you to keep in your place.”
To begin with we closed the Bucentaure alone,
An eighty-gun ship and their Admiral’s own;
We raked her but once, and the rest of the day
Like a hospital hulk on the water she lay.
To our battering next the Redoutable struck,
But her sharpshooters gave us the worst of the luck:
Lord Nelson was wounded, most cruel to tell.
“They’ve done for me; Hardy!” he cried as he fell.
To the cockpit in silence they carried him past,
And sad were the looks that were after him cast;
His face with a kerchief he tried to conceal,
But we knew him too well from the truck to the keel.
When the Captain reported a victory won,
“Thank God!” he kept saying, “my duty I’ve done.”
At last came the moment to kiss him good-bye,
And the Captain for once had the salt in his eye.
“Now anchor, dear Hardy,” the Admiral
But before we could make it he fainted and died.
All night in the trough of the sea we were tossed,
And for want of ground-tackle good prizes were lost.
Then we hauled down the flag, at the fore it was red,
And blue at the mizzen was hoisted instead
By Nelson’s famed Captain, the pride of each tar,
Who fought in the Victory off Cape Traflagar.
“The Old and Bold”
When England sets her banner forth
And bids her armour shine,
She’ll not forget the famous North,
The lads of moor and Tyne;
And when the loving-cup’s in hand,
And Honour leads the cry,
They know not old Northumberland
Who’ll pass her memory by.
When Nelson sailed for Trafalgar
With all his country’s best,
He held them dear as brothers are,
But one beyond the rest.
For when the fleet with heroes manned
To clear the decks began,
The boast of old Northumberland
He sent to lead the van.