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Poem by John Mayne


The Curieux


What mean the colours half-mast high,
    In yonder ship upon the main?
Ah me! a seaman made reply,
    Some hero of renown is slain!

Yon brig is call'd the Curieux.
    To Britain's foes a deadly name;
Her captain, Sherriff, and his crew
    No strangers in the lists of fame!

But, in a daring enterprise,
    Tho' glory has the conflict crown'd,
A wreck his gallant vessel lies,
    While carnage reddens all around!

Behold, approaching to the shore,
    The tars, lamenting, bow their head!
Poor Sherriff wounded to the core,
    And, for his king and country, dead!

Ye brave companions of his life,
    Ye heroes of the Curieux,
Who join'd him in th' unequal strife,
    Who saw him bid the world adieuЧ

To honour's bed his corse convey,
    For glory was his leading star;
Mild as the gentlest breeze of May,
    But like a lion in the war!

And keep your colours half-mast high,
    A mournful signal o'er the main!
Seen only when th' illustrious die,
    Or are in glorious battle slain!



                      John Mayne


John Mayne's other poems:
  1. Helen of Kirkconnel
  2. The Muffled Drum
  3. Mary Marton
  4. To the Army and Navy Returning from the War
  5. English, Scots, and Irishmen


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