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And next, with most unwilling strain,
We sing of war proclaim'd with Spain.
A sail appears,—a flag of truce 1805.
From France, which proves of little use;
Our answer, surely just and wise,
Refused to treat without allies.
Two ships from Spain Sir Robert Calder wins:
And now the Muse's hardest task begins;
Nelson, thy sacred name, thy matchless worth,
Which might the fire of Phoebus self call forth,
Leave me o'erpower'd,—else shou'd the unequal lay
Soar boldly to that blaze of endless day,
At At hope deferr'd while Nelson sicken'd,
Still hope renew'd, his ardor quicken'd:
At length his comprehensive brain
Suggested certain means to gain
His heart's desire—the wary chief
Lulls his opposers to belief,*
That, weary of the fond pursuit,
Despairing to enjoy the fruit
Of ceaseless watching day and night,
Retiring, he declined the fight.
Little they fathom'd that capacious soul,
Which heav'n foredoom'd from pole to pole
Shou'd spread the fame of British tars
Beyond the praise of former wars
• To lure the enemy from port, the gallant Admiral kept his fleet out of sight, but established a chain of communication by frigates. Admiral Villeneuve at length ventured out, with 33 sail of the line, 7 frigates, and 8 corvettes, and sustained a most memorable discomfiture from a British fleet of only 26 sail of the line, with a proportionate number of frigates.
t Nineteen ships of the line and three flag officers were taken by the British: our ever-regretted Admiral fell by a musquet ball in the middle of the action ; a public funeral was decreed his remains; his biother created a Viscount and Earl of the United Kingdoms, and suitable estates purchased for the support of that dignity; Jcsooo per annum was voted to Lady Nelson; Admiral Collingwood was elevated to the Peerage, with a pension of X2000; and an ample contribution was raised for those who were wounded in the action, and for the surviving relatives of those who had fallen.
Tho The cautious foe first scans the vacant wave,
So soon to be of slaughter'd hosts the grave,
Conceives, at length, he fearless may appear,
Nor dreams of Nelson's genius hov'ring near.
The naval boast of our most happy isle,
Welcomed th' astonish'd squadrons with a smile;
"they're Mine," he cried,— along the awful line,
Fate answer'd him in thunder, "they Are Thine!"
But first the patriot signal proudly flew,
"england Expects His Duty Each Will Do."
And did they I Witness for them, bounteous heaven,
If ever signal more appropriate given
And, in his last expiring prayer,
Who shall describe what Britain felt,
In grateful sorrow while she knelt,
Grateful for laurels proudly won,
Convuls'd with sorrow for her son;
And mark! to shed the patriot tear
O'er him whose victory cost so dear:
Behold a mighty nation throng,
And see the sad procession slowly moves along;
To paint it, wou'd it were my lot
To hold the pen of Wizard Scott,
So might I sing each plaided chief
Who led the pomp of that day's grief;
Of solemn dirges might I tell,
Which on the ear lugubrious swell;
While tristful pipers fling around
The coronach's impressive sound,
And fancy's whispering minstrelsy,
Recals the Bards "Och Hone a Hie !"*
* Vide the Poem of Gler.finlass, in the Minstrelsy of the S;ctti li border.
So So might T sing each gallant band,
Defenders of our envied land,
Who erst in many a well-fought field
Had forc'd the Gallic standard yield;
And now in battle's dread array,*
Add awful lustre to the day.
Next, speaking closely to the heart,
What pleasure might the Muse impart
If those she sung, the gallant brave,
Who on the late impurplcd wave
Had shared the dangers of that day,
Which snatch'd our naval hope away.
The sons of Albion, with revering eye,
Beheld the mild, yet daring, host pass by,
Whose iron sinews to its destin'd aim
Had dragg'd each mouth which dealt the dreadful flame
Of Britain's indignation.—I have said
* The whole Procession of Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery, marched in Order of battle.