She opened fire at seven miles—
As ye shoot at a bobbing cork—
And once she fired and twice she fired,
Till the bow-gun dropped like a lily tired
That lolls upon the stalk.
"Captain, the bow-gun melts apace,
"The deck-beams break below,
"'Twere well to rest for an hour or twain,
"And botch the shattered plates again."
And he answered, "Make it so."
She opened fire within the mile—
As ye shoot at the flying duck—
And the great stern-gun shot fair and true.
With the heave of the ship, to the stainless blue
And the great stern-turret struck.
"Captain, the turret fills with steam,
"The feed-pipes burst below—
"You can hear the hiss of helpless ram,
"You can hear the twisted runners jam."
And he answered, "Turn and go!"