Robert Laurence Binyon

(1869-1943 / England)

The Victoria, Lost Off Tripoli, June,1893 - Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon

Heroes, whose days are told,
Above whose bodies brave
Presses the heavy, cold,
And quenching wave!

Ye sleep: but your bright fame,
Blown upon every breeze,
Touches with mournful flame
The Syrian seas.

Now all your English land
Trembles with tears, with pride;
Stretching toward you her hand,
O glorified!

There he that walks alone,
A vision goes with him;
In still field or thronged town,
A solemn dream!

He sees the placid, blue
Mediterranean shine;
The warships, two and two,
In ordered line.

He sees those consorts vast
On their doomed circle come.
With held breath, and aghast,
The Fleet is dumb.

For him the moments hang;
His ears the shock await:
On him, too, a strong pang
Fastens, like fate.

Transfixt, his eyes see then
The decks heave, lined with free,
Firm ranks; weaponless men,
Matched with the Sea.

Alas! the wound is deep.
Not even spirits so brave
Their vainly splendid ship
Keep from the wave.

On their last farewell cries
Shines the permitting sun;
With his men Tryon lies;
And all is done.

Yet through some hearts the prayer
Thrills, O that I had died,
Fallen in glory there
By comrades' side!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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