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Don't Give Up the Ship.
(EXTRACT FROM MR. MURDOCH'S LECTURES.) “The Building of the Ship” is one of the most brilliant productions of one of America's most gifted poets. The apostrophe to the Union cannot be excelled: it is the perfection of numbers, and the acme of Saxon simplicity, terseness, and force, combining fervent dignity with the pure spirit of the patriot.
It is, indeed, an eloquent outpouring of a truly loyal heart. When we reflect upon the fact that it was written several years since, it seems like a trumpet-tone borne to us on the wings of the wind, from the depths of that storm-cloud which began to gather on the national. horizon long before the Ship of State drifted among the breakers which now threaten her on every. side.
The prescience of the poet failed to warn us of the approaching danger: let it at least inspire us with manly courage and devoted patriotism, to breast the storm and struggle through its howling terrors, until blue skies and gentle ripples bless once more the mighty ocean of our nation's destiny.
This is the purpose I have in view in ringing in your ears, with all the fervor and the skill I may possess,
the noble and sustaining language of Longfellow and other kindred spirits, and more especially of those American poets who have, during the rebellion, strode in advance of our armies, striking the lyre, and singing the praises of heroism, fortitude, and self-sacrifice, -virtues that have been nobly and freely offered in the service of our beloved country by her brave and suffering defenders. We must not lose sight of, or grow weary with, the often-uttered but still fresh and grandly inspiring sentiment of our warpoets. The music of the lyre, the trumpet, and the drum must still vibrate in the nation's ear to keep alive the sentiment of national glory, to nerve the arm and fire the heart in this great struggle of freedom with its original and brutal foe, selfish power, and its vile supporters, the scourge and the chain. It does not need my voice to inform you
of the perilous sea on which our national bark is afloat. The roar of battle-fields, the groans of the wounded borne to us on every wind, mingling with the wailings of widows and orphans, fill the air, clouding the brow and saddening the heart of every loyal citizen.
To weather this fearful sea of strife and carnage, we must pull together, heart and hand. “A long pull, and a strong pull, with a will!” is the cry now. As loyal and union-loving Americans, we are all passengers in the glorious Ship of State, “The Union.” We are in the midst of a fearful storm, breakers ahead, false lights on the coast, and a lee shore: nothing but courage and unity of action
There is mutiny aboard; the whispering of the malcontents is hissing in our ears on every side; while bold, bad men are counselling desertion of the colors, and, instead of trusting to the will and skill of the officers and crew to bring the vessel off, seek rather to run her ashore, trusting to the chances of the wrecker's spoils and plundering.
“Don't give up the ship!” cried Lawrence, as his men carried him, bleeding, below. “The Stars and Stripes must not come down,” cried Blake, as, in obedience to his orders, the brave tars quickened their fire when the little Hatteras began to sink alongside the worse than pirate Alabama.
can save us.
So, my friends, let the war-cry of the Union-man be, “Defiance to all traitors, North or South! our colors are nailed to the mast; we will sink or swim with our ship, and never desert captain, pilot, or crew!”
To those who are base enough in their own natures to lead, or weak enough to be guided by bad men, in the attempt to cripple the Government and strengthen its foes, by abuse of the one and encouragement of the other, I would, in the spirit of love and good will to my fellowmen, say,
“When a ship is laboring with the tempestuous ocean, when all the elements and all their angers are turned into one vowed destruction,”—is such a fitting time to arraign the officers before a tribunal of the passengers, to answer for the safety of the life and the property which has been intrusted to their charge? Would it not be the more humane, if not the more consistent, course, to await the issue calmly and hopefully, trusting to the discretion of a divine power and the honest and brave endeavors of the few selected from the many and invested with authority to direct and control ?
Then let us, my friends, instead of charging our rulers with weakness and folly and a base and wicked intent to forsake the course indicated by the compass and line of constitutional direction, endeavor to cheer our leaders, amid the gloom and terrors of the storm, with words of trust and confidence.
Let us call on them to join with us in seeking aid and counsel from Him who holds the winds in the hollow of His hand; to humbly seek from Him that strength and will and knowledge by which the most intricate chart is read aright, and the hand made firm on the helm in the midst of the darkest terrors.
Yes, my countrymen, come what come' may,” let us stand by the ship; and, if need be (rather than surrender), let us go down with her, even as Morris and his brave men did on board the Cumberland. They sank at their posts, flashing forth their defiant death-notes till the last, leaving nothing but the “flag at the peak” to silently tell, in sunshine and in storm, of the deadly struggle between traitors and the brave men who died defending the priceless boon bequeathed to United America by the patriotic sires of 1776.
The Launching of the Ship.
AN EXTRACT FROM THE 'Poem of “THE BUILDING OF THE SHIP.")
TO-DAY the vessel shall be launch’d.
There she stands,
the sands, Deck'd with flags and streamers gay, In honor of her marriage-day, Her snow-white signals fluttering, blending, Round her like a veil descending, Ready to be The bride of the gray old sea.
On the deck another bride
The prayer is said,