At A Dinner To Admiral Farragut by Oliver Wendell Holmes

JULY 6, 1865

Now, smiling friends and shipmates all,
Since half our battle ‘s won,
A broadside for our Admiral!
Load every crystal gun
Stand ready till I give the word,–
You won’t have time to tire,–
And when that glorious name is heard,
Then hip! hurrah! and fire!

Bow foremost sinks the rebel craft,–
Our eyes not sadly turn
And see the pirates huddling aft
To drop their raft astern;
Soon o’er the sea-worm’s destined prey
The lifted wave shall close,–
So perish from the face of day
All Freedom’s banded foes!

But ah! what splendors fire the sky
What glories greet the morn!
The storm-tost banner streams on high,
Its heavenly hues new-born!
Its red fresh dyed in heroes’ blood,
Its peaceful white more pure,
To float unstained o’er field and flood
While earth and seas endure!

All shapes before the driving blast
Must glide from mortal view;
Black roll the billows of the past
Behind the present’s blue,
Fast, fast, are lessening in the light
The names of high renown,–
Van Tromp’s proud besom fades from sight,
And Nelson’s half hull down!

Scarce one tall frigate walks the sea
Or skirts the safer shores
Of all that bore to victory
Our stout old commodores;
Hull, Bainbridge, Porter,–where are they?
The waves their answer roll,
“Still bright in memory’s sunset ray,–
God rest each gallant soul!”

A brighter name must dim their light
With more than noontide ray,
The Sea-King of the “River Fight,”
The Conqueror of the Bay,–
Now then the broadside! cheer on cheer
To greet him safe on shore!
Health, peace, and many a bloodless year
To fight his battles o’er!

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