xci THE CUMBERLAND
AT anchor in Hampton Roads we lay,
On board of the Cumberland, sloop of war; And at times from the fortress across the bay The alarum of drums swept past, Or a bugle blast From the camp on the shore.
Then far away to the south uprose
A little feather of snow-white smoke, And we knew that the iron ship of our foes Was steadily steering its course To try the force Of our ribs of oak.
Down upon us heavily runs,
Silent and sullen, the floating fort; Then comes a puff of smoke from her guns, And leaps the terrible death, With fiery breath, From each open port.
We are not idle, but send her straight
Defiance back in a full broadside! As hail rebounds from a roof of slate, Rebounds our heavier hail From each iron scale Of the monster's hide.
'Strike your flag! ' the rebel cries,
In his arrogant old plantation strain. 'Never! ' our gallant Morris replies;