previous next

47. the Captain of the gun.1

by Charles D. Gardette.
He never trod the quarter-deck
     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.

--Phila. Press, Nov. 19

1 Thomas Wilson, Captain of a gun on board the steam frigate Wabash, killed in the action at Port Royal.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Port Royal (South Carolina, United States) (1)
Columbia (South Carolina, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Thomas Wilson (1)
Valhalla (1)
Charles D. Gardette (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November 19th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: