Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
June 3
The Men of the Merrimac
By Clinton Scollard (1860–1932)
 
Hail to Hobson! hail to Hobson! hail to all the valiant set!
Clausen, Kelly, Deignan, Phillips, Murphy, Montagu, Charette!
Howsoe’er we laud and laurel we shall be their debtors yet!
Shame upon us, shame upon us, should the nation e’er forget!
 
Though the tale be worn with telling, let the daring deed be sung!        5
Surely never brighter valor, since this wheeling world was young,
Thrilled men’s souls to more than wonder, till praise leaped from every tongue!
 
Trapped at last the Spanish sea-fox in the hill-locked harbor lay;
Spake the Admiral from his flagship, rocking off the hidden bay,
“We must close yon open portal lest he slip by night away!”        10
 
“Volunteers!” the signal lifted; rippling through the fleet it ran;
Was there ever deadlier venture? was there ever bolder plan?
Yet the gallant sailors answered, answered wellnigh to a man!
 
Ere the dawn’s first rose-flush kindled, swiftly sped the chosen eight
Toward the batteries grimly frowning o’er the harbor’s narrow gate;        15
Sooth, he holds his life but lightly who thus gives the dare to Fate!
 
They had passed the outer portal where the guns grinned, tier o’er tier,
When portentous Morro thundered, and Socapa echoed clear,
And Estrella joined a chorus pandemoniac to hear.
 
Heroes without hands to waver, heroes without hearts to quail,        20
There they sank the bulky collier ’mid the hurtling Spanish hail;
Long shall float our starry banner if such lads beneath it sail!
 
Hail to Hobson! hail to Hobson! hail to all the valiant set!
Clausen, Kelly, Deignan, Phillips, Murphy, Montagu, Charette!
Howsoe’er we laud and laurel we shall be their debtors yet!        25
Shame upon us, shame upon us, should the nation e’er forget!
 
 
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