Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1838/Gibraltar from the Sea

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Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1838  (1837)  by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
Gibraltar—from the Sea


1838-20-Gibraltar from the Sea.png


Artist: C. Bentley - Engraved by: J. C. Armytage


Down ’mid the waves, accursed bark,
    Down, down before the wind;
Thou canst not sink to doom more dark
    Than that thou leavest behind.

Down, down for his accursed sake
    Whose hand is on thy helm.
Above the heaving billows break—
    Will they not overwhelm?

The blood is red upon the deck,
    Of murder, not of strife;
Now, Ocean, let the hour of wreck
    Atone for that of life!

Many a brave heart has grown cold,
    Though battle has been done:
And shrieks have risen from the hold,
    When human help was none.

We’ve sailed amid the Spanish lines,
    The black flag at the mast,
And bunting towns and rifled shrines
    Proclaimed where we had past.

The captive’s low and latest cry
    Has risen on the night,
While night-carousals mocked the sky
    With their unholy light.

The captain he is young and fair—
    How can he look so young?
His locks of youth, his golden hair,
    Are o’er his shoulders flung.

Of all his deeds that he has done,
    Not one has left a trace:
The midnight cup, the noontide sun.
    Have darkened not his face.

His voice is low—his smile is sweet—
    He has a girl’s blue eyes;
And yet I would far rather meet
    The storm in yonder skies.

The fiercest of our pirate band
    Holds at his name the breath;
For there is blood on his right hand,
    And in his heart is death.

He knows he rides above his grave,
    Yet careless is his eye;
He looks with scorn upon the wave,
    With scorn upon the sky.

Great God! the sights that I have seen
    When far upon the main!
I’d rather that my death had been
    Than see those sights again.

Pale faces glimmer, and are gone,
    Wild voices rise from shore;
I see one giant wave sweep on—
    It breaks!—we rise no more.


This view of the Rock of Gibraltar places it before the spectator in a new light, and conducts rapidly to reflection upon the boldness of those who attempted the reduction of such a fortress, as well as upon the bravery of those, who persevered in the defence of a citadel so bare, so bleak, so barren, so remote from any source of encouragement or supply. The rocky faces, here expressed, look towards the waters of the Mediterranean, and down upon that singular accumulation of fine sand, which, originating at the very edge of the sea, ascends almost to the loftiest pinnacle of the rock. From the lowest extremity of this inclined plain, the water becomes suddenly deep. One of the boldest efforts ever made to surprise the rock, took place at this approach. A French officer, in imitation of the Gaul of olden time, attended by 500 followers, landed at the foot of the sandy slope, and, aided by the darkness of night, reached the highest point of the rock in safety. From this rendezvous they were to have rushed down and surprised the garrison, while a second party was to commence an attack from below. Their courage proved superior to their powers of attack and defence, and the morning only shone, to light the garrison of Gibraltar to the destruction of this brave little band of heroes.