No useless coffin
enclosed his breast,
Not in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short
were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought as
we hollow’d his narrow bed,
And smoothed down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o’er his head
And we far away on the billow!
talk of the spirit that’s gone,
And o’er his cold ashes upbraid him;
But little he’ll reck if they let him sleep on,
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our
weary task was done,
When the clock struck the hour for retiring,
And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly
we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We Carved not a line and we raised not a stone.
But left him alone in his glory.
(October 21, 1805.)
AN OLD MAN-O’-WARSMAN’S YARN.
BY GERALD MASSEY.
Ay, ay, good neighbours, I have
Him! sure as God’s my life;
One of his chosen crew I’ve been,
Haven’t I, old good wife?
God bless your dear eyes! didn’t you vow
To marry me any weather,
If I came back with limbs enow
To keep my soul together?
Brave as a lion was our Nel
And gentle as a lamb:
It warms my blood once more to tell
The tale—gray as I am—
It makes the old life in me climb,
It sets my soul aswim;
I live twice over every time
That I can talk of him.
You should have seen him as
The deck, our joy, and pride;
You should have seen him, like a god
Of storm, his war-horse ride!
You should have seen him as he stood
Fighting for our good land,
With all the iron of soul and blood
Turned to a sword in hand.
Our best beloved of all the
That ever for freedom fought;
And all his wonders of the wave
For Fatherland were wrought!
He was the manner of man to show
How victories may be won;
So swift you scarcely saw the blow;
You looked—the deed was done.
He sailed his ships for work;
His sword for battle-wear;
His creed was “Best man to the fore”;
And he was always there.
Up any peak of peril where
There was but room for one;
The only thing he did not dare
Was any death to shun.
The Nelson touch his men he
And his great stride to keep;
His faithful fellows round him fought
Ten thousand heroes deep.
With a red pride of life, and hot
For him, their blood ran free;
They “minded not the showers of shot
No more than peas,” said he.