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Love will hover round the flowers when they first awaken ;
Love will fly the fallen leaf, and not be overtaken.
Low, my lute! O, low, my lute! we fade and are forsaken
Low, dear lute, low!
THEY rose to where their sovran eagle sails,
They kept their faith, their freedom, on the height,
Chaste, frugal, savage, arm'd by day and night
Against the Turk; whose inroad where scales Their headlong passes, but his footstep fails,
And red with blood the Crescent reels from fight
Before their dauntless hundreds, in prone flight
By thousands down the crags and thro' the vales.
O smallest among peoples! rough rockthrone
Of Freedom! warriors beating back the
THE REVENGE 1
Of Turkish Islam for five hundred years, Great Tsernogora! never since thine own Black ridges drew the cloud and brake the storm
Has breathed a race of mightier moun1877. taineers.
A BALLAD OF THE FLEET
AT Flores in the Azores Sir Richard Grenville lay,
And a pinnace, like a flutter'd bird, came flying from far away; "Spanish ships of war at sea! we have sighted fifty-three!"
Then sware Lord Thomas Howard: "Fore God I am no coward; But I cannot meet them here, for my ships are out of gear,
And the half my men are sick. I must fly, but follow quick.
We are six ships of the line; can we fight with fifty-three?"
1 See the Life of Tennyson, II. 251-2.
God of battles, was ever a battle like this in the world before?
For he said, "Fight on! fight on!" Tho' his vessel was all but a wreck; And it chanced that, when half of the short summer night was gone, With a grisly wound to be drest he had left the deck,
But a bullet struck him that was dressing it suddenly dead, And himself he was wounded again in the side and the head, And he said, "Fight on! fight on!"
And they stared at the dead that had been so valiant and true,
And had holden the power and glory of Spain so cheap
That he dared her with one little ship and his English few;
Was he devil or man? He was devil for aught they knew,
But they sank his body with honor down into the deep.
And they mann'd the Revenge with a swarthier alien crew,
And away she sail'd with her loss and long'd for her own;
When a wind from the lands they had ruin'd awoke from sleep,
And the water began to heave and the weather to moan,
And or ever that evening ended a great gale blew,
And a wave like the wave that is raised by an earthquake grew, Till it smote on their hulls and their sails and their masts and their flags, And the whole sea plunged and fell on the shot-shatter'd navy of Spain, And the little Revenge herself went down by the island crags
To be lost evermore in the main.
Fire from ten thousand at once of the rebels that girdled us round— Death at the glimpse of a finger from over the breadth of a street, Death from the heights of the mosque and the palace, and death in the ground!
Mine? yes, a mine! Countermine!
down, down! and creep thro' the hole!
Keep the revolver in hand! you can hear him-the murderous mole! Quiet, ah! quiet-wait till the point of the pickaxe be thro'!
Click with the pick, coming nearer and nearer again than beforeNow let it speak, and you fire, and the dark pioneer is no more; And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew !
Ay, but the foe sprung his mine many times, and it chanced on a day Soon as the blast of that underground thunder-clap echo'd away
Dark thro' the smoke and the sulphur like so many fiends in their hellCannon-shot, musket-shot, volley on volley, and yell upon yellFiercely on all the defences our myriad enemy fell.
What have they done? where is it?
So many thousands that, if they be bold
masses are gapp'd with our grapeBackward they reel like the wave, like
the wave fingering forward again, Flying and foil'd at the last by the handful they could not subdue; And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew!
Handful of men as we were, we were English in heart and in limb, Strong with the strength of the race to command, to obey, to endure,
Each of us fought as if hope for the garrison hung but on him; Still-could we watch at all points? we were every day fewer and fewer. There was a whisper among us, but only a whisper that past: "Children and wives-if the tigers leap into the fold unawaresEvery man die at his post-and the foe may outlive us at lastBetter to fall by the hands that they love, than to fall into theirs!" Roar upon roar in a moment two mines by the enemy sprung Clove into perilous chasms our walls and our poor palisades. Riflemen, true is your heart, but be sure that your hand be as true! Sharp is the fire of assault, better aimed are your flank fusiladesTwice do we hurl them to earth from the ladders to which they had clung,
Twice from the ditch where they shelter we drive them with hand-grenades;
And ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew !
Then on another wild morning another wild earthquake out-tore Clean from our lines of defence ten or twelve good paces or more. Riflemen, high on the roof, hidden there from the light of the sun One has leaped up on the breach, crying out: 66 Follow me, follow me!"Mark him-he falls! then another and him too, and down goes he. Had they been bold enough then, who can tell but the traitors had won? Boardings and rafters and doors-an embrasure! make way for the gun! Now double-charge it with grape! It is charged and we fire, and they run. Praise to our Indian brothers, and let the dark face have his due! Thanks to the kindly dark faces who fought with us, faithful and few, Fought with the bravest among us, and drove them, and smote them, and slew, That ever upon the topmost roof our banner in India blew.
Men will forget what we suffer and not what we do. We can fight!