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28. the “Monitor” and her children.

an Ode,

Dedicated to the citizens of the United States.

The gale at this time was raging furiously. The water had succeeded in rising up to the grate-bars of the furnaces, and was gradually extinguishing the fires. The vessel was now sinking. The moon, which up to this time had been giving some light, was shut in by masses of black clouds: and at three quarters of an hour past midnight, on the morning of the last day of 1862, the Monitor's light disappeared beneath the waves. --Account by a gentleman on the Rhode Island.

A ship foundering at midnight!--the Monitor!--ho!
     The mistress of ocean in whelming waves!
Deep-deeper and stronger the terrible flow
     Is sweeping the struggling to watery graves;
The conqueror peerless, now yielding to one
     Who can turn into peril our glory and bliss--
Make “coating metallic” and “monster gun”
     A sinker for sounding the dark abyss.

Yes, sinking! like soldier of ancient date,
     When suddenly launched upon waters mad
In his death-defying scales and plate--
     His impervious armor--“iron-clad.”
Oh! we think of the day when, from havoc of blood,
     The Devourer1 fled, wounded, away in her shame,
And duels and tournaments since the world stood,
     Took their place out of sight, hardly claiming a name.

Yet one more agony for the relief--
     Yet one more desperate yearn to save!
'Tis in vain. Alas! But a moment brief--
     And the plunge — the gurgle — the closing grave.
Over “turret” a prouder boast of mind,
     Sublimer symbol — for ever gone!--
Than towers colossal of towns refined,
     That crash and vanish in earthquake's yawn.

For ever gone with thy guardian power?
     And thy country, bereft of thee,
So easy a prey, in an ill-starred hour,
     To some hostile giant ruling the sea?
“We are here!” the Monitor's Children cry,
     And the voices are looming athwart the gloom:
“Ne'er mother went down, to be raised so high--
     Left such an example — so honored a tomb.

“We are many. In us she lives, and more,
     As mother in stalwart and filial band;
In her faith we have sworn, on sea and shore
     To fulfil her counsel — her loyal command.
We are one--as our country must ever be--
     In our heavenly trust and our glorious cause,
Dealing death upon treason and tyranny,
     For Union, Liberty, Virtue, and Laws.

“We are ready! All clad in our heaviest mail,
     Yet buoyant to breast the” heaviest “gale.
We are ready! To pour our iron hail,
     Till inimical bulwarks tremble and fail--
Till Rebellion has uttered its dying wail,
     And tyrants,” admonished, “no more shall assail--
’And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
     O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.‘”

1 The great rebel iron-clad, the Merrimac or Virginia.

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