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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1803.14
“The Orphan Sailor-Boy.”
“Edmund L. Swift, Esq.”
[Edmund L. Swift][1]
The Poetical Register and Repository of Fugitive Poetry, II (1803), pp. 60-63

                            1.

TOM HAULYARD was a Seaman brave,
    Thro' life a gallant Tar was he;
His cradle was the rocking wave,
    His birth-right was the roaring sea:

                            2.

Twice thirty years TOM HAULYARD fought,
    So long a spotless name he bore;
Nor e'er the hardy veteran sought
    Retreat or rest on Britain's shore.

                            3.

Three noble Sons around him stood
    In all the pride of strength and health;
And, while each manly form he view'd,
    Kings might have envied HAULYARD's wealth.

                            4.

But, TOM, his namesake, best he lov'd,
    My father was his eldest joy;
Yet well a parent's fondness prov'd
    The love he bore each darling Boy.—

                            5.

Now Britain's foes provok'd the war,
    And now their fleets usurp'd the tide;
And hasten'd now each loyal tar
    To raise her standard's fearless pride:

                            6.

Now in the honor'd ship that bore
    The auspicious sign of CHARLOTTE's name,
Intrepid HOWE from Britain's shore
    To meet the foes of Britain came.—

                            7.

Oh, peace be on the hallow'd tomb
    Of him who never knew to fear;
And ever may his laurels bloom,
    Bedew'd with Britain's grateful tear!—

                             8.

And now advanc'd the daring foe,
    And now each British heart beat high:—
Oh God!—How many wounds must flow,
    How many Christian men must die!—

                             9.

The Squadrons meet—the dread array
    Stands in a moment's awful pause—
Our Chief to Glory leads the way,
    To Glory gain'd in Britain's cause.—

                            10.

Oh Christ!—It was a fearful sight
    To see the wounds that countless bled;
But oh, the horrors of the fight
    To tell, would wake the sleeping dead!—

                            11.

Among the rest TOM HAULYARD stood,
    Full six feet high the Veteran rose;
A rock above the rolling flood,
    He hurl'd back ruin on his foes.—

                            12.

His gallant Sons around him drew
    The terrors of the flashing sword;
While hostile thunders thinn'd the crew,
    And slaughter swept the lessening board.—

                            13.

And now, alas!—One death-wing'd ball
    On WILLIAM'S bosom urg'd its force;
TOM HAULYARD saw his youngest fall,
    And rush'd to save his darling's corpse.—

                            14.

In either Fleet conflicting fires
    A thousand bloody deaths illume:—
Huzza! Huzza!—the foe retires!—
    But HENRY meets his brother's doom!

                            15.

TOM HAULYARD was a Seaman bold,
    Yet might he weep his children slain;—
Down his rough cheek the salt tear roll'd—
    —But does not namesake TOM remain?—

                            16.

Ah no!—beneath the fatal stroke,
    I saw my gallant father fall!—
Then stood alone the aged oak,
    Stript of his youthful branches all.—

                            17.

Nor long he stood—One iron shower,
    The vengeance of the sinking foe,
Burst forth in ruins' desperate hour:—
    TOM HAULYARD sank beneath the blow.—

                            18.

He fell!—And striving hard with death,
    All bleeding, struggled to embrace
His Sons, to catch each parting breath,
    And dying kiss each pallid face.—

                            19.

Even now I hear the Veteran cry,
    "Oh stay, your Father with ye falls!—
"In Britain's cause we nobly die,
    "And who shall shrink when Britain calls?—

                            20.

"But oh, thou GOD, whose heavenly power
    "Alike can succour and destroy,
"Receive us in this awful hour,
    "And save, oh save this Orphan Boy.—

                            21.

"My first-born's Son!"—Serene he smil'd
    To meet the death that dimm'd his eye;
And his last prayer was "Save my Child!"
    And his last word was "Victory!"—

                            22.

Oh, peace be on the hallow'd tomb
    Of them who never knew to fear;
And ever may their laurels bloom,
    Bedew'd with Britain's grateful tear!—

                            23.

But, hapless me!—0f all bereft,
    Of Father, Friends, of Hope, and Joy!—
So young, so lonely am I left—
    Pity the ORPHAN SAILOR BOY!


Notes

1. Edmund L. Swift was an Irishman, the author of the Life and Acts of Saint Patrick, 8v. (Dublin, 1809); Ecclesiastical Supremacy of the Crown (London, 1814); and Anacreon in Dublin (Dublin, 1814).

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Published @ RC

September 2004