William Topaz McGonagall
The Capture Of Havana
Poem by William Topaz McGonagall
'Twas in the year 1762 that France and Spain
Resolved, allied together, to crush Britain;
But the British Army sailed from England in May,
And arrived off Havana without any delay.
And the British Army resolved to operate on land,
And the appearance of the British troops were really grand;
And by the Earl of Albemarle the British troops were commanded,
All eager for to fight as soon as they were landed.
Arduous and trying was the work the British had to do,
Yet with a hearty goodwill they to it flew;
While the tropical sun on them blazed down,
But the poor soldiers wrought hard and didn't frown.
The bombardment was opened on the 30th of June,
And from the British battleships a fierce cannonade did boom;
And continued from six in the morning till two o'clock in the afternoon,
And with grief the French and Spaniards sullenly did gloom.
And by the 26th of July the guns of Fort Moro were destroyed,
And the French and Spaniards were greatly annoyed;
Because the British troops entered the Fort without dismay,
And drove them from it at the bayonet charge without delay.
But for the safety of the city the Governor organised a night attack,
Thinking to repulse the British and drive them back;
And with fifteen hundred militia he did the British attack,
But the British trench guards soon drove them back.
Then the Spandiards were charged and driven down the hill,
At the point of the bayonet sore against their will;
And they rushed to their boats, the only refuge they could find,
Leaving a trail of dead and wounded behind.
Then Lieutenant Forbes, at the head of his men,
Swept round the ramparts driving all before them;
And with levelled bayonets they drove them to and fro,
Then the British flag was hoisted over the bastions of Moro.
Then the Governor of the castle fell fighting sword in hand,
While rallying his men around the flagstaff the scene was grand;
And the Spaniards fought hard to save their ships of war,
But the British destroyed their ships and scattered them afar.
And every man in the Moro Fort was bayonet or shot,
Which in Spanish history will never be forgot;
And on the 10th of August Lord Albemarle sent a flag of truce,
And summoned the Governor to surrender, but he seemed to refuse.
Then from the batteries the British opened a terrific fire,
And the Spaniards from their guns were forced to retire,
Because no longer could they the city defend;
Then the firing ceased and hostilities were at an end.
Then the city of Havana surrendered unconditionally,
And terms were settled, and the harbour, forts, and city,
With a district of one hundred miles to the westward,
And loads of gold and silver were the British troops' reward.
And all other valuable property was brought to London,
The spoils that the British Army had won;
And it was conveyed in grand procession to the Tower of London,
And the Londoners applauded the British for the honours they had won.
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