When Israel camped by Migdol hoar,
Down at her feet her shawm she threw,
But Moses sung and timbrels rung
For Pharaoh's standed crew.
So God appears in apt events--
The Lord is a man of war!
So the strong wind to the muse is given
In victory's roar.
Deep be the ode that hymns the fleet--
The fight by night--the fray
Which bore our Flag against the powerful stream,
And led it up to day.
Dully through din of larger strife
Shall bay that warring gun;
But none the less to us who live
It peals--an echoing one.
The shock of ships, the jar of walls,
The rush through thick and thin--
The flaring fire-rafts, glare and gloom--
Eddies, and shells that spin--
The boom-chain burst, the hulks dislodged,
The jam of gun-boats driven,
Or fired, or sunk--made up a war
Like Michael's waged with leven.
The manned Varuna stemmed and quelled
The odds which hard beset;
The oaken flag-ship, half ablaze,
Passed on and thundered yet;
While foundering, gloomed in grimy flame,
The Ram Manassas--hark the yell!--
Plunged, and was gone; in joy or fright,
The River gave a startled swell.
They fought through lurid dark till dawn;
The war-smoke rolled away
With clouds of night, and showed the fleet
In scarred yet firm array,
Above the forts, above the drift
Of wrecks which strife had made;
And Farragut sailed up to the town
And anchored--sheathed the blade.
The moody broadsides, brooding deep,
Hold the lewd mob at bay,
While o'er the armed decks' solemn aisles
The meek church-pennons play;
By shotted guns the sailors stand,
With foreheads bound or bare;
The captains and the conquering crews
Humble their pride in prayer.
They pray; and after victory, prayer
Is meet for men who mourn their slain;
The living shall unmoor and sail,
But Death's dark anchor secret deeps detain.
Yet glory slants her shaft of rays
Far through the undisturbed abyss;
There must be other, nobler worlds for them
Who nobly yield their lives in this.