1798
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lines on the late Victory obtained over the Toulon Fleet by Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, K.B.

The Sun (12 October 1798).

Rev. Lawrence Hynes Halloran


Twelve short-lined Spenserians (ababcC) signed "L. Halloran, Chaplain in the Royal Navy, October 4, 1798." The Irish-born poet celebrates Admiral Nelson's victory at the Nile by cataloguing the recent history of British conquests: "Thus from th' affrighted Baltic's waves,— | From the proud Seas of Freedom's Isle,— | The Ocean that fam'd Calpe laves,— | And from the margin of the Nile,— | Our conqu'ring Fleets have driv'n each hostile train, | And wrested from their grasp the Trident of the Main!" The poem concludes by expressing the hope for an end to discord and a victorious peace. Halloran, who seems to have had a somewhat complicated personal history, would later be present at Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. His later adventures would make a good subject for a novel.



While o'er pale Europe's ravag'd fields
Grim War his blood-stain'd Banners waves;
While France her Force gigantic wields,
To make surrounding Nations Slaves;
BRITAIN triumphant rules the azure Main,
And gallant "NELSON" vindicates her Reign.

O'er every Sea that girds the Ball,
Her awful Flag victorious flies;
Beneath her thunder Tyrants fall,
And Anarchy astounded lies;
Her Fleets resistless ride the subject Main,
And vindicate her own, and Freedom's Reign!

When on the blue waves, that divide
BRITANNIA from her ancient Foes,
She saw the "Gallic Squadrons" ride;
"The Father of her Navy" rose—
Illustrious HOWE, and his Heroic Train,
Hurl'd shame and death on France — asserting BRITAIN'S Reign!

When urg'd by Gallia's tyrant sway,
Iberia menac'd Britain's Coast,
Intrepid JERVIS led the way
To Conquest o'er her mightier Host;
Her Pow'r immense, her tow'ring pride was vain;—
Shame wrapt her baffled Fleets, and BRITAIN rul'd the Main!

When too, by Gallia's threats call'd forth,
His faith the "blunt Batavian" broke;
The Conqu'ring Hero of the North,
DUNCAN, to them in thunder spoke!
His thunder drove them from the trembling Main,
And rescued from her Foes Britannia's rightful Reign!

And when, of late, Ambition led
His Fleets to Egypt's fertile shore;
(While Nilus sought his secret head,
Recoiling from th' unusual roar);
Brave "NELSON'S" valor crush'd th' aspiring train,
And spread to Seas remote Britannia's Naval Reign!

Thus from th' affrighted Baltic's waves,—
From the proud Seas of Freedom's Isle,—
The Ocean that fam'd Calpe laves,—
And from the margin of the Nile,—
Our conqu'ring Fleets have driv'n each hostile train,
And wrested from their grasp the Trident of the Main!

Long, long — till Time's remotest bound,
May Britain's Glory fill the World;
And may a "NELSON" still be found,
When o'er her Banners are unfurl'd,
To hurl destruction on each hostile train,
And from her Foes assert the Empire of the Main!

And thou, brave Chief, thy Country's boast,
Accept no venal Muse's praise;
Each Patriot breast on Britain's Coast,
Accordant, a just tribute pays;
While FAME, for Thee her choicest chaplet twines,
And 'mongst her bravest Sons thy honour'd name enshrines!

Rejoice, BRITANNIA, favor'd land!
For lo! upborne on Vic'try's plumes,
From distant Egypt's wond'ring strand
"He comes, — the conqu'ring Hero comes!"
He comes! He comes! And Glory flies before,
His harbinger, and guide to thy exulting shore!

Great GOD! upon whose Sovereign Will,
The Battle's dreadful poise depends;
Preserve this favour'd Island still
From Foreign Foes — from treacherous Friends!
Still by thy aid may she victorious be,
And flourish, happy, virtuous, Great, and Free!

And oh! Eternal Pow'r! restore
To Europe's desolated plains,
The wish'd for boon! — Confine once more
The Fiends of War with tenfold chains!
Bid Halcyon days return — bid Discord cease;
And bind the Victor's brow with the fair wreath of PEACE!

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