Burton E. Stevenson, Poems of American History
(Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1908), p. 527.
She has gone to the bottom! He wrath of the tide
Now breaks in vain insolence o’er;
No more the rough seas like a queen shall she ride,
While the foe flies I terror before!
Now captive or exiled, or silent in death,
The forms that so bravely did man her;
Her deck is untrod, and the gale’s stirring breath
Flouts no more the red cross of her banner!
She is down ‘neath the waters, but still her bright name
Is in death, as in life, ever glorious,
And a scepter all barren the conqueror must claim,
Though he boats the proud title “Victorious.”
Her country’s lone champion, she shunned not the flight,
Though unequal in strength, bold and fearless;
And proved in her fate, though not matchless in might,
In daring at least she was peerless.
No trophy hung high in the foe’s hated hall
Shall speak of her final disaster,
Nor tell of the danger that could not appall,
Nor the spirit that nothing could master!
The death-shot has sped — she has grimly gone down,
But left her destroyer no token,
And the mythical wand of her mystic renown,
Though the eaters o’erwhelm, is unbroken.
For lo! Ere she settles beneath the dark wave
On her enemies’ cheeks spreads pallor,
As another deck summons the swords of the brave
To guilt a new name of valor.
Her phantom will yet haunt the wild roaring breeze,
Causing foeman to start and to shudder,
While their commerce still steals like a thief o’er the seas,
And trembles from bowsprit to rudder.
The spirit that shed on the wave’s gleaming crest
The light of a legend romantic
Shall live while a sail flutters over the breast
Of thy far-bouncing billows, Atlantic!
And as long as one swift keel the strong surges stems
Or “poor Jack” loves his song and his story,
Shall shine in tradition the valor of Femmes
And the brave ship that bore him glory.
Created and maintained by Lisle Brown, Curator
© 2007, Special Collections, Marshall University