145. Number one.
by H. D. Sedgwick.“I have flung to the Night my pirate flag;
It is black as the deeds I love.
My merry men! Ho! for beauty and swag,
For every foeman you seize and gag,
For every youth from life betrayed,
For the death-doing shame of every maid,
For each blue eye whose light you quench,
For every babe whose neck you wrench,
As the reddening sea you rove,
I'll pay you in cash by the bloody score;
I'll pay you as Rover paid never before,
For that I bid it shall be done;
In the land of slaves I am Number One!
I am Jefferson Number One!”
At the welcome sound of the Robber's cheer,
Like jackals they creep from their cave;
As the wild-cat springs at the lightsome deer,
As the viper crawls the babe to smear
With venom, and strike to its tiny grave,
They come! they come! the Corsairs brave!
Hear them scream with joy, to think
How the cups will flow, and the canakins clink;
How they'll turn men's blood to the wine they drink,
And how their pockets will chink, will chink!
And the first thief cries, “It shall be done
And I'll be Pirate Number One!
I will be Number One I”
He has filched and rigged a snake-like bark;
He has armed it with stolen guns.
Forth from the bay it swims like a shark,
Wrapped in the shrouds of its kindred dark.
All things good and strong it shuns.
How slily it steers! How slowly it steals! Hark!
What whisper they in their dreary lark?
“Stay! Are we right? Aye! Our letters of marque
Are signed and sealed. All's rightly done
They are signed by Jefferson Number One;
They are numbered Number One!”
Ho! Ho! Cheerily ho!
No longer sly! No longer slow,
The snaky bark takes wing.
No longer it creeps like a slimy rat,
But it flies like a loathsome, lickerish bat,
It flies like a venomous vampire, that 
Sets his teeth and sharpens his sting,
Ere he plunge his beak in the life-blood's spring.
“Ho I Ho! Cheerily ho!”
The Pirates cry, ” Merrily, so
To our weltering feast of blood we go.
How we long for its gurgling flow!
That we dare, that shall be done;
Hurrah for the victim Number One!
Hurrah for Number One!“
” What ho! What ho! A sail on the lee!
Mind you your helm, my helmsman stout;
About with the ship, sail her fast and free.
About with the ship! About! about!
Up to the maintop, you lubberly lout!
Don't step as if you were cramped with gout,
Nor handle the ropes so dainty and soft;
Set every stitch alow and aloft!
Nearer, now! nearer! the chase appears!
Bloody boys, ready! the runaway nears!
See her there plain on the larboard bow,
Sharp must she be to weather us now.
Look to your cutlasses! Look to the gun!
We'll give her a taste of Number One!
We'll give her Number One!
” Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy! We'll have her this tack;
She'll save us a lingering chase!
Ship ahoy! Yankee Dogs! Be a trifle less slack;
Down your Black-a-moor Stripes and Stars!
We'll up, instead, the Confederate Bars!
Down, down with the rag!--Ha! what is that crack?
What meaneth the lubber? He answereth back.
We've a fight instead of a race!
Curse the impudent Yankees! For quarter and grace
They may sue and be damned. They shall have none.
Short be their shrift from Number One!
Short shrift from Number One!“
Ah! Sooth said the Pirate! The answer came
From the brig like an outburst of hell!
It came in a sheet of glancing flame!
In an iron sleet of deadly aim!
And with sheet and sleet, shot the burning shame
To his craven breast, to learn too late
From the Yankee's arm, and the voice of Fate,
The truth which now he learns too well:
That plot it long, and moil in the dark,
And cover it over with letters of marque,
Murder is still a dangerous game!
Begin it, and two can play at the same.
At this dark game, the rovers' luck
Was little to score, and less their pluck.
For the felon blows to strike they meant,
When on their errand of greed they went,
The Buccaneer flag instead they struck.
Those dogs of the Perry who would not run,
Have spoiled the Pirate's slaughtering fun;
The tale of their prizes they have featly begun.
It heads to-day with Number One!
It heads with Number One!
In the North there frowns a darksome pile--
So darksome, men call it the Tombs.
Who are guarded there, ah! seldom they smile!
But spectred thoughts of fruitless wile,
And ghosts of schemes of deadly guile,
Are their comrades drear in those doleful rooms,
Where Darkness and Sin spread kindred glooms.
There's water instead of wine to drink!
Ad chains instead of canakins clink I
And there, with those comrades drear, they think
Of a past that sears and a fate that dooms!
In a fitful sleep they fain would hide
From the phantoms that fill the world outside.
But again that answering cannon booms;
Again their souls are fevered with fear.
By victim vanquished again, they hear
His dread summons ring in their throbbing ear.
They start in their dream as called by Fate I
They start and shrink! They hear the gate
Of the cell on its rusty hinges grate!
Through the portal whispers the voice they hate.
'Tis the voice of the headsman; he calls, “I wait
For the first of the pirates! The gibbet is done.
Come forth to your reckoning, Number One!
Come forth, doomed Number One!”