Illustration by W.H.Overend
note influence of gustave doré --- or j.m.w.turner? --- or is it van de velde?




      See these mournful spectres sweeping
Ghastly o'er this hated wave,
Whose wan cheeks are stained with weeping;
These were English captains brave.
Mark those numbers pale and horrid,
Those were once my sailors bold:
Lo, each hangs his drooping forehead,
While his dismal tale is told.

I, by twenty sail attended,
Did this Spanish town affright;
Nothing then its wealth attended
But my orders not to fight.
Oh! that in this rolling ocean
I had cast them with disdain,
And obeyed my heart's warm motion
To have quelled the pride of Spain!

For resistance I could fear none,
But with twenty ships had done
What thou, brave and happy Vernon,
Hast achieved with six alone.
Then the bastimentos never
Had our foul dishonour seen,
Nor the sea the sad receiver
Of this gallant train had been.

Thus, like thee, proud Spain dismaying,
And her galleons leading home,
Though condemned for disobeying,
I had met a traitor's doom,
To have fall'n, my country crying ----
"He has played an English part",
Had been better far than dying
Of a grieved and broken heart.

Unrepining at thy glory,
Thy successful arms we hail;
But remember our sad story,
And let Hosier's wrongs prevail.
Sent in this foul clime to languish,
Think what thousands fell in vain,
Wasted with disease and anguish,
Not in glorious battle slain.

Hence with all my train attending,
From their oozy tombs below,
Through the hoary foam ascending,
Here I feed my constant woe:
Here the bastimentos viewing,
We recall our shameful doom,
And our plaintive cries renewing,
Wander through the midnight gloom.

O'er these waves, for ever mourning,
Shall we roam, deprived of rest,
If to Britain's shores returning,
You neglect my just request;
After this proud foe subduing,
When your patriot friends you see,
Think on vengeance for my ruin,
And for England shamed in me.

The "just request" of Hosier's Ghost is the "vengeance for my ruin", to be exacted upon Sir Robert Walpole by his rapid removal from office. Walpole is presented to the public as the virtual murderer of 4,000 British seamen.

Britons, strike home!
Revenge, revenge your country's wrongs!
Fight! fight and record yourselves in Druids' songs!
Fight! fight and record yourselves in Druids' songs!

Music by Henry Purcell, 1695

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© Charles Harrison Wallace 2003
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