47. the Captain of the gun.1
In pride of high command;
No gold on his broad shoulders gleamed,
No rapier graced his hand;
But a braver captain of a gun
Did ne'er by trunnion stand!
He had, perchance, but little grace
Of learning, or of mien;
His conscience and his gun, he thought
His duty lay between.
And with his utmost skill he strove
Alike to keep them clean.
He fought as fight Columbia's tars,
Her ensign overhead;
Her clear eye o'er his smoking gun
A cheery radiance shed.
A shell crashed through the port; oh God!
His limb hung by a shred.
I tell you, had the Jarls of old
Beheld the hero then,
Their beards had gleamed with tears of pride--
Those iron-hearted men!
And all Valhalla's warrior halls
Had rung with shouts again.
He crawled the bulwark near; his eye
With coming death was dim;
He drew his clasp-knife forth, as death
No terrors had for him,
And strove, with firm, though feeble hand,
To sever his torn limb!
He strive in vain! They bore him thence
Still yearning to abide
The combat's issue, at his post.
“Messmates,” he feebly cried,
“We'll beat them! aye, we'll surely beat,
I trust,” and so he died.