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American History Stories, Volume IV by  Mara L. Pratt


 

 

THE LAST BROADSIDE

Shall we give them a broadside, my boys, as she goes?

Shall we send yet another to tell,

In iron-tongued words, to Columbia's foes,

How bravely her sons say Farewell?


[58]

Ay! what though we sink 'neath the turbulent wave,

'Tis with DUTY and RIGHT at the helm;

And over the form should the fierce waters rave,

No tide can the spirit o'erwhelm!


For swift o'er the billows of Charon's dark stream

We'll pass to the immortal shore,

Where the waters of life in brilliancy beam,

And the pure float in peace evermore.


"Shall we give them a broadside once more, my brave men

"Ay! Ay!" was the full, earnest cry;

"A broadside! A broadside! we'll give them again!

Then for God and the Right nobly die!"


"Haste! Haste!"—for amid all that battling din

Comes a gurgling sound fraught with fear,

As swift flowing waters pour rushingly in;

Up! up! till her port-holes they near.


No blanching!—no faltering!—still fearless all seem;

Each man firm to duty doth bide;

A flash! and a "broadside!" a shout! a careen!

And the Cumberland sinks 'neath the tide!


The "Star-Spangled Banner" still floating above!

As a beacon upon the dark wave!

Our Ensign of Glory, proud streaming in love,

O'er the tomb of the "Loyal and Brave!"


Bold hearts! mighty spirits! "tried gold" of our land!

A halo of glory your meed!

All honored, the noble-souled Cumberland band!

So true in Columbia's need!

—Elizabeth T. P. Beach.


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