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Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke: How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys and destiny obscure;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death? Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Chill penury repress'd their noble rage,
Full many a Gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd; Forbad to wade thro' slaughter to a throne, And shut the Gates of Mercy on Mankind, The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect Some frail Memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,-
"Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he:
"The next, with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne,-
Here rests his head upon the lap of earth
He gain'd from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
The Battle of the Nile.
THE French fleet arrived at Alexandria on the first of July, 1798, and Admiral Brueys, not being able to enter the port, which time and neglect had ruined, moored the ships in Aboukir Bay, in a strong and compact line of battle; the headmost vessel, according to his own account, being as close as possible to a shoal on the north-west, and the rest of the fleet forming a kind of curve along the line of deep water, so as not to be turned by any means in the south-west.
The advantage of numbers, both in ships, guns, and men, was in favour of the French. They had thirteen ships of the line and four frigates, carrying 1196 guns, and 11,230 men. The English had the same number of ships of the line, and one fifty-gun ship, carrying 1012 guns, and 8068 men. The English ships were all seventy-fours: the French had three eighty-gun ships, and one three-decker of one hundred and twenty.
During the whole pursuit it had been Nelson's practice, whenever circumstances would permit, to have his captains on board the Vanguard, and explain to them his own ideas of the different and best modes of attack, and such plans as he proposed to execute on falling in with the enemy, whatever their situation might be. There is no possible position, it is said, which he did not take into consideration. His officers were thus fully acquainted with his principles of tactics; and such was his confidence in their abilities, that the only thing determined upon, in case they should find the French at anchor, was for the ships to form as most convenient for their mutual support, and to anchor by the stern. "First gain your victory," he said, and then make the best use of it you can." The moment he perceived the position of the French, that intuitive genius with which Nelson was endowed displayed itself; and it instantly struck him that where there was room for an enemy's ship to swing there was room for one of ours to anchor. The plan which he intended to pursue, therefore, was to keep entirely on the outer side of the French line, and station his ships, as far as he was able, one on the outer bow and another on the outer quarter of each of the enemy's. Captain Berry, when he comprehended the scope of the design, exclaimed with transport, "If we succeed, what will the world say ?" "There is no if in the case,” replied the admiral; "that we shall succeed is certain who may live to tell the story, is a very different question."
As the squadron advanced, they were assailed by a shower of shot and shell from the batteries on the island, and the enemy opened a steady fire from the starboard side of their whole line, within half gunshot distance, full into the bows of our van ships. It was received in silence; the men on board every ship were employed aloft in furling sails, and below in tending the braces, and making ready for anchoring;-a miserable sight for the French, who, with all their skill and all their courage, and all their advantages of number and situation, were upon that element on which,,when the hour of trial comes, a Frenchman has no hope. Admiral Brueys was a brave and able man; yet the indelible character of his country broke out in one of his letters, wherein he delivered it as his private opinion that the English had missed him, because, not being superior in force, they did not think it prudent to try their strength with him. The moment was now come in which he was to be undeceived.
A French brig was instructed to decoy the English, by manoeuvring so as to tempt them towards a shoal lying off the island of Beguieres; but Nelson either knew the danger, or suspected some deceit, and the lure was unsuccessful. Captain Foley led the way in the Goliath, outsailing the Zealous, which for some minutes disputed this post of honour with him. He had long conceived that, if the enemy were moored in line of battle in with the land, the best plan of attack would be to lead between them and the shore, because the French guns on that