ike these to pass?" laughed they:
"Rocks to starboard, rocks to port, all the passage scarred and scored,
Shall the 'Formidable' here with her twelve and eighty guns,
Think to make the river-mouth by the single narrow way,
Trust to enter where 'tis ticklish for a craft of twenty tons,
And with flow at full beside?
Now 'tis slackest ebb of tide.
Reach the mooring? Rather say,
While rock stands or water runs,
Not a ship will leave the bay!"
Then was called a council straight.
Brief and bitter the debate:
"Here's the English at our heels; would you have them take in tow All that's left us of the fleet, linked together stern and bow,
For a prize to Plymouth Sound?--
Better run the ships aground!"
(Ended Damfreville his speech.)
"Not a minute more to wait!
Let the captains all and each
Shove ashore, then blow up, burn the vessels on the beach!