Commemorative Of A Naval Victory

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Sailors there are of the gentlest breed,
  Yet strong, like every goodly thing;
The discipline of arms refines,
  And the wave gives tempering.
  The damasked blade its beam can fling;
It lends the last grave grace:
The hawk, the hound, and sworded nobleman
  In Titian's picture for a king,
Are of hunter or warrior race.

In social halls a favored guest
  In years that follow victory won,
How sweet to feel your festal fame
  In woman's glance instinctive thrown:
  Repose is yours--your deed is known,
It musks the amber wine;
It lives, and sheds a light from storied days
  Rich as October sunsets brown,
Which make the barren place to shine.

But seldom the laurel wreath is seen
  Unmixed with pensive pansies dark;
There's a light and a shadow on every man
  Who at last attains his lifted mark--
  Nursing through night the ethereal spark.
Elate he never can be;
He feels that spirit which glad had hailed his
  Sleep in oblivion.--The shark
Glides white through the phosphorus sea.

© Herman Melville