Gertrude of Wyoming

Battle of the Baltic

Thomas Campbell

OF Nelson and the North,
Sing the glorious day’s renown,
When to battle fierce came forth
All the might of Denmark’s crown,
And her arms along the deep proudly shone;
By each gun the lighted brand,
In a bold determined hand,
And the Prince of all the land
Led them on.—

Like leviathans afloat,
Lay their bulwarks on the brine;
While the sign of battle flew
On the lofty British line:
It was ten of April morn by the chime:
As they drifted on their path,
There was silence deep as death;
And the boldest held his breath,
For a time.—

But the might of England flush’d
To anticipate the scene;
And her van the fleeter rush’d
O’er the deadly space between.
‘Hearts of oak,’ our captains cried! when each
From its adamantine lips
Spread a death-shade round the ships,
Like the hurricane eclipse
Of the sun.—

Again! again! again!
And the havoc did not slack,
Till a feeble cheer the Dane
To our cheering sent us back;—
Their shots along the deep slowly boom:—
Then ceas’d—and all is wail,
As they strike the shatter d sail;
Or, in conflagration pale,
Light the gloom.—

Out spoke the victor then,
As he hail’d them o’er the wave,
‘Ye are brothers! ye are men!
‘And we conquer but to save:—
‘So peace instead of death let us bring:
‘But yield, proud foe, thy fleet,
‘With the crews, at England’s feet,
‘And make submission meet
‘To our King.’—

Then Denmark blest our chief,
That he gave her wounds repose;—
And the sounds of joy and grief,—
From her people wildly rose;—
As death withdrew his shades from the
While the sun look’d smiling bright
O’er a wide and woeful sight,
Where the fires of fun’ral light
Died away.—

Now joy, old England, raise!
For the tidings of thy might,
By the festal cities’ blaze,
While the wine cup shines in light;
And yet amidst that joy and uproar,
Let us think of them that sleep,
Full many a fathom deep,
By thy wild and stormy steep,

Brave hearts! to Britain’s pride
Once so faithful and so true,
On the deck of fame that died,—
With the gallant good Riou:1
Soft sigh the winds of heav’n o’er their grave!
While the billow mournful rolls,
And the mermaid’s song condoles,
Singing glory to the souls
Of the brave!—

1.    Captain Riou, justly entitled the gallant and the good, by Lord Nelson, when he wrote home his dispatches.    [back]

Back    |    Words Home    |    Thomas Campbell Home    |    Site Info.    |    Feedback