As cannons’ fire reached the wooden mast,
The captain’s courage, cast outside his soul,
Gone to further islands of abandoned past,
And memories of days that virtue stole—
Wretched moments, unworthy to behold—
At last returned to Captain Arthur’s mind,
Who, with his crew, the end of days declined.
The face of enemies, nor fair nor bold,
But bodies, homes of stubborn death and rage—
Abandoned corpses, young and dead and old—
Had left the ground, forsaken day from age,
And drenched in blood as animals encaged,
In agony beheld the face of death,
And met the night of life’s last lonesome breath.
And once the fire ceased, and ashes rose
To higher levels of the ocean mist,
A solemn silence captured passing woes,
And water rested sound, and silence hissed.
But who was there to suffering resist?
For empty triumph blinds the hearts of men,
But honor mourns and enemies laments.
And Captain Arthur, child of humble deeds,
Had spoken thus—in sight of lives forlorn:
“My trusted men, the valiant don’t succeed
If one sheds blood but won’t for pity mourn,
Now gather thee, and sayeth naught till morn!
To-day we face a tempest, or despair,
To-morrow we shall see the mouth of Hell.”
The sea thus spake of wars and woeful days,
As wind caressed the skin of shriveled men
Who had at last a time to rest and pray,
And think of better days, and live again;
For ghastly passion senses overwhelms.
And in the turn of day, when light was gone,
A peaceful bliss the world had undergone.
The beginning of an epic in rhyme royal.