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Britannia needs no bulwarks,
No towers along the steep;
Her march is o'er the mountain-waves,
Her home is on the deep.
With thunders from her native oak,
She quells the floods below,-
As they roar on the shore,
When the stormy winds do blow:
When the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy winds do blow.
The meteor flag of England
Shall yet terrific burn;
Till danger's troubled night depart,
And the star of peace return.
Then, then, ye ocean-warriors !
Our song and feast shall flow
To the fame of your name,
When the storm has ceased to blow;
When the fiery fight is heard no more,
And the storm has ceased to blow.
This naval ode was written at Altona, in the winter of 1800, when the poet was twenty-three years of age; it appeared first in the Morning Chronicle with the following title, "Alteration of the old ballad "Ye Gentlemen of England,' composed on the prospect of a Russian war," and signed, “Amator Patriæ." At this time the South Eastern and Southern coasts of England were first fortified with martello towers as a defence against foreign invasion; to this fact reference is elegantly made in the lines
“Britannia needs no bulwarks,
No towers along the steep."
The subject was first suggested by hearing the air of the old ballad before mentioned played at the house of a friend in Scotland; ann when the rumour of war with Russia became a general topic of conversation among the British at Altona, it arou zed Campbell's patriotism, and hence the result in verse.
Or Nelson and the North,
Sing the glorious day's renown,
When to battle fierce came forth
All the might of Denmark's crown,
And her arms along the deep proudly shone;
By each gun the lighted brand,
In a bold determined hand,
And the Prince of all the land
Led them on.-
Like leviathans afloat,
Lay their bulwarks on the brine;
While the sign of battle flew
On the lofty British line:
It was ten of April morn by the chime:
As they drifted on their path,
There was silence deep as death;
And the boldest held his breath,
For a time.
But the might of England flush'd
To anticipate the scene;
And her van the fleeter rush'd
O’er the deadly space between.
* Hearts of oak!' our captain cried; when each
From its adamantine lips
Spread a death-shade round the ships,
Like the hurricane eclipse
Of the sun.
Again! again! again!
And the havoc did not slack,
Till a feeble cheer the Dane
To our cheering sent us back ;-
Their shots along the deep slowly boom:
Then ceased—and all is wail,
As they strike the shatter'd sail;
Or, in conflagration pale,
Light the gloom.
Out spoke the victor then,
As he haild them o'er the wave;
‘Ye are brothers ! ye are men!
And we conquer but to save :-
So peace instead of death let us bring;
But yield, proud foe, thy fleet,
With the crews, at England's feet,
And make submission meet
To our King' —
Then Denmark bless'd our chief,
That he gave her wounds repose;
And the sounds of joy and grief
From her people wildly rose,
As death withdrew his shades from the day.
While the sun look'd smiling bright
O’er a wide and woful sight,
Where the fires of funeral light
Now joy, Old England, raise !
For the tidings of thy might,
By the festal cities' blaze,
Whilst the wine-cup shines in light;
And yet amidst that joy and uproar,
Let us think of them that sleep,
Full many a fathom deep,
By thy wild and stormy steep,