Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX. 1876–79.


The Tiger

By Sir Edwin Arnold (1832–1904)

BENEATH Odessa’s foreland,

Washed by the Russian wave,

Shattered and black an English ship

Rots in her sandy grave.

The sea-shell clogs her cannon,

The sea-worm eats her oak,

And the sea-weeds dank cling to the plank

Whence English thunders spoke.

Behind Odessa’s foreland,

Under the Russian sky,

That noble vessel’s noble chief

In bloody grave doth lie.

Not bravely in fair battle

Cut down upon his deck,

But driving lost on an iron coast,

And shot on a helpless wreck.

Unto Odessa’s foreland

Who comes for vengeance due?

A legion bold in steel and gold,—

A fleet with seamen true!

O, shame! no sworn avengers,

But a gentle lady there,

Sitting alone by an uncarved stone

Weeping her wifely tear.

O black Odessan foreland,

Only his widow there!

O lonely, lonely sepulchre,

Only one falling tear!

Why roars no rage of cannon?

Why rings no levelled gun?

With sword and spear, not sigh and tear,

England should mourn her son.

She to that fatal foreland

Came o’er the stormy wave;

Shall women for the one they love

Alone be bold and brave?

How, England, will thy captains

Die bravely in thy strife,

When Giffard’s rest no mourner blest

But a woman and a wife?

Far from Odessa’s foreland

His vessel’s jack was ta’en;

O for the death its champion died,

Win back that flag again.

Plant it with shot and sabre

Above the Russian’s best;

And the conquering shout, as the cross flaunts out,

Shall bring him better rest.