The Tiger

Sir Edwin Arnold

BENEATH Odessa’s foreland,

  Washed by the Russian wave,

Shattered and black an English ship

  Rots in her sandy grave.

The sea-shell clogs her cannon,

  The sea-worm eats her oak,

And the sea-weeds dank cling to the plank

  Whence English thunders spoke.


Behind Odessa’s foreland,

  Under the Russian sky,

That noble vessel’s noble chief

  In bloody grave doth lie.

Not bravely in fair battle

  Cut down upon his deck,

But driving lost on an iron coast,

  And shot on a helpless wreck.


Unto Odessa’s foreland

  Who comes for vengeance due?

A legion bold in steel and gold,—

  A fleet with seamen true!

O, shame! no sworn avengers,

  But a gentle lady there,

Sitting alone by an uncarved stone

  Weeping her wifely tear.


O black Odessan foreland,

  Only his widow there!

O lonely, lonely sepulchre,

  Only one falling tear!

Why roars no rage of cannon?

  Why rings no levelled gun?

With sword and spear, not sigh and tear,

  England should mourn her son.


She to that fatal foreland

  Came o’er the stormy wave;

Shall women for the one they love

  Alone be bold and brave?

How, England, will thy captains

  Die bravely in thy strife,

When Giffard’s rest no mourner blest

  But a woman and a wife?


Far from Odessa’s foreland

  His vessel’s jack was ta’en;

O for the death its champion died,

  Win back that flag again.

Plant it with shot and sabre

  Above the Russian’s best;

And the conquering shout, as the cross flaunts out,

  Shall bring him better rest.