James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

July 2

The Fleet at Santiago

By Charles E. Russell (1860–1941)

THE HEART leaps with the pride of their story,

Predestinate lords of the sea!

They are heirs of the flag and its glory,

They are sons of the soil it keeps free;

For their deeds the serene exaltation

Of a cause that was stained with no shame,

For their dead the proud tears of a nation,

Their fame shall endure with its fame.

The fervor that grim, unrelenting,

The founders in homespun had fired,

With blood the free compact cementing,

Was the flame that their souls had inspired.

They were sons of the dark tribulations,

Of the perilous days of the birth

Of a nation sprung free among nations,

A new hope to the children of earth!

They were nerved by the old deeds of daring,

Every tale of Decatur they knew,

Every ship that, the bright banner bearing,

Shot to keep it afloat in the blue;

They were spurred by the splendor undying

Of Somer’s fierce fling in the bay,

And the watchword that Lawrence died crying,

And of Cushing’s calm courage were they.

By the echo of guns at whose thunder

Old monarchies crumbled and fell,

When the war ships were shattered asunder

And their pennants went down in the swell;

By the strength of the race that, unfearing,

Faces death till the death of the last,

Or has sunk with the fierce Saxon cheering,

Its colors still nailed to the mast—

So they fought—and the stern race immortal

Of Cromwell and Hampton and Penn

Has thrown open another closed portal,

Stricken chains from a new race of men.

So they fought, so they won, so above them

Blazed the light of a consecrate aim;

Empty words! Who may tell how we love them,

How we thrill with the joy of their fame!