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118

Tbe Battle of Cbarleston barbor

VI.

Ha ! brutal Corsairs ! though ye come thrice-cased in iron

mail, Beware the storm that 's opening now, God's

vengeance guides the hail ! Ye strive, the ruffian types of Might, 'gainst law and

truth and Right; Now quail beneath a sturdier Power, and own a mightier

Might!

VII.

No empty boast ! for while we speak, more furious,

wilder, higher, Dart from the circling batteries a hundred tongues of

fire ;

The waves gleam red, the lurid vault of heaven seems

rent above ; Fight on, O knightly gentlemen ! for faith and home and

love !

VIII.

There's not in all that line of flame, one soul that would

not rise To seize the victor's wreath of blood, though death must

give the prizeThere 's not in all this anxious crowd that throngs the

ancient town A maid who does not yearn for power to strike one despot

down.

The Battle of Charleston barbor

119

IX.

The strife grows fiercer ! ship by ship the proud armada

sweeps, Where hot from Sumter's raging breast the volleyed

lightning leaps; And ship by ship, raked, overborne, ere burned the sun

set light, Crawls in the gloom of baffled hate beyond the field of

fight!

X.

O glorious Empress of the Main! from out thy storied

spires Thou well mayst peal thy bells of joy, and light thy festal

fires,Since Heaven this day hath striven for thee, hath nerved

thy dauntless sons, And thou in clear-eyed faith hast seen God's angels near

the guns!

Southern.]

[graphic][merged small]

(As observed from the anchorage above Vicksburg, April, 1863.)

BY HERMAN MELVILLE.

A

MOONLESS night-a friendly one;

A haze dimmed the shadowy shore As the first lampless boat slid silent on;

Hist! and we spake no more ; We but pointed, and stilly, to what we saw.

Running the Batteries

J21

We felt the dew, and seemed to feel

The secret like a burden laid.
The first boat melts; and a second keel

Is blent with the foliaged shade-
Their midnight rounds have the rebel officers made?

Unspied as yet. A third—a fourth

Gunboat and transport in Indian file
Upon the war-path, smooth from the North ;

But the watch may they hope to beguile?
The manned river-batteries stretch far mile on mile.

A flame leaps out; they are seen;

Another and another gun roars;
We tell the course of the boats through the screen

By each further fort that pours,
And we guess how they jump from their beds on those

shrouded shores.

Converging fires. We speak, though low :

“That blastful furnace can they thread?” “Why, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Came out all right, we read;
The Lord, be sure, he helps his people, Ned.”

How we strain our gaze. On bluffs they shun

A golden growing flame appears— Confirms to a silvery steadfast one :

“The town is afire!” crows Hugh ; “three cheers ! ” Lot stops his mouth : “Nay, lad, better three tears.”

A purposed light; it shows our fleet;

Yet a little late in its searching ray,
So far and strong, that in phantom cheat

Lank on the deck our shadows lay ;
The shining flag-ship stings their guns to furious play.

How dread to mark her near the glare

And glade of death the beacon throws Athwart the racing waters there;

One by one each plainer grows, Then speeds a blazoned target to our gladdened foes.

The impartial cresset lights as well

The fixed forts to the boats that run;
And, plunged from the ports, their answers swell

Back to each fortress dun :
Ponderous words speaks every monster gun.

Fearless they flash through gates of flame,

The salamanders hard to hit,
Though vivid shows each bulky frame ;

And never the batteries intermit,
Nor the boat's huge guns; they fire and flit.

Anon a lull. The beacon dies.

Are they out of that strait accurst ?" But other flames now dawning rise,

Not mellowly brilliant like the first, But rolled in smoke, whose whitish volumes burst.

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