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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


The Guard-Chamber

By Anonymous

  • “The most striking object, as you enter, is a bronze bust of Lord Nelson, by Sir Francis Chantrey, on a pedestal composed of a portion of the foremast of the Victory, Nelson’s flag-ship (with the British flags drooping over it), completely shot through by a cannon-ball at the battle of Trafalgar.”—Clayton’s Companion to the Sights of London.

  • THIS trophy bore, near Calpe’s tide,

    The British standard, floating wide,

    And led our gallant fleet with pride

    Immortal fame to find;

    Around its base were heroes lying,

    Their glory with existence buying,

    And Nelson, wounded, faint, and dying,

    With yet unconquered mind.

    Red flashes from the wreathing smoke

    Athwart the gloom as lightning broke,

    When Albion’s thundering broadsides woke

    Iberia’s rocks afar;

    At morn two nations for our foes

    All redolent of life arose,

    But thousands, ere the evening’s close,

    Lay dead at Trafalgar.

    ’T was then, O France! in homage due

    Thy banner sank, of triple hue:

    And (shame to Andalusia’s view!)

    The flag of Spain was furled.

    St. George’s ensign reigned alone;

    Nor till that hour his fate was known,

    The chief who made the day our own

    And sought a better world.

    When, far beyond the reach of art,

    Fond thoughts were busy at his heart,

    And whispered it was hard to part

    From glory, love, and life;

    The shades of death around him fell,

    But, ere he breathed his last farewell,

    He heard the shout of conquest swell,

    And terminate the strife.

    True friendship lives beyond the grave,

    Preserves the memory of the brave,

    And prompts a naval King to save

    This record of his fame;

    That long as Britain shall endure,

    Within her circling waves secure,

    Her warrior sons, and patriots pure,

    May honor Nelson’s name.

    Some yet survive his toils who shared,

    Whose lives the God of Battles spared,

    Though death in every form they dared,

    Ere rose the vesper star;

    And all who saw that glorious day,

    Near fifty years now passed away,

    May proudly to their children say,

    “We fought at Trafalgar!”