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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Sir Joseph Noel Paton b. 1821

The Last of the Eurydice


As tight a craft, I ween,

As ever bore brave men who lov’d

Their country and their queen—

Built when a ship, sir, was a ship,

And not a steam-machine.

Six months or more she had been out

Cruising the Indian sea;

And now, with all her canvas bent—

A fresh breeze blowing free—

Up Channel in her pride she came,

The brave Eurydice.

On Saturday it was we saw

The English cliffs appear,

And fore and aft, from man and boy,

Uprang one mighty cheer;

While many a rough-and-ready hand

Dash’d off the gathering tear.

We saw the heads of Dorset rise

Fair in the Sabbath sun;

We mark’d each hamlet gleaming white,

The church spires, one by one;

We thought we heard the church bells ring

To hail our voyage done.

“Only an hour from Spithead, lads:

Only an hour from home!”

So sang the captain’s cheery voice

As we spurn’d the ebbing foam;

And each young sea-dog’s heart sang back

“Only an hour from home!”

No warning ripple crisp’d the wave

To tell of danger nigh;

Nor looming rack, nor driving scud—

From out a smiling sky,

With sound as of the trump of doom,

The squall broke suddenly.

A hurricane of wind and snow

From off the Shanklin shore;

It caught us in its blinding whirl

One instant, and no more;

For, ere we dream’d of trouble near,

All earthly hope was o’er.

No time to shorten sail,—no time

To change the vessel’s course;

The storm had caught her crowded masts

With swift, resistless force.

Only one shrill, despairing cry

Rose o’er the tumult hoarse.

And broadside the great ship went down,

Amid the swirling foam;

And with her nigh four hundred men

Went down, in sight of home,

(Fletcher and I alone were sav’d)

Only an hour from home!