An Onset

Hallo ye, my fellows! arise and advance,
See the white-crested waves how they stamp and they dance!
High over the reef there in anger and might,
So wildly we dance to the bloody red fight.
Than gather, now gather, come gather ye all,
Each thing that hath legs and arms, come to our call;
Like reeds on the moor when the whirlwinds vie
Our lances and war-axes darken the sky;
Sharp, sharp, as the tooth of the sea-hound and shark,
They'll tear ye, they'll split ye, fly lance to the mark,
Home, home to the heart, and thou battle-axe grim,
Split, splintring and shivering through brain-pan and limb;
To-day we ask vengeance, to-day we ask blood,
We ask it; we're coming to make our words good;
The storm flinches not tho’ the woods choke its path,
We ask it; we're coming, beware of our wrath.
At home wives and children a hearth for us lay,
A savoury flesh-feast awaits us to-day;
Behind yonder mountains e’en now the smoke streams,
And the blaze of the bush fire crackles and gleams.
Long, long have we hungered and thirsted for you,
At home the dogs bark round the clean table too,
Loud shouting we'll eat you to-night every one,
Devour you clean to the white sinewy bone.
Rush, rush ye my fellows, rush on them like hail,
Soon, soon shall their roasting your nostrils regale,
The fire is flaring, the oven’s a glow,
Heave to now hew thro’ now, Holloa, Hollo.

by James Clerk Maxwell

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