Welcome to Poetry.com

Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

Navigate through our poetry database by subjects, alphabetically or simply search by keywords. You can submit a new poem, discuss and rate existing work, listen to poems using voice pronunciation and even translate pieces to many common and not-so-common languages.

The Capture of Havana

William Topaz McGonagall 1825 – 1902 (Greyfriars Parish, Edinburgh)

'Twas in the year 1762 that France and Spain
Resolved, allied together, to crush Britain;
But the British Army sailed from England in May,
And arrived off Havana without any delay.

And the British Army resolved to operate on land,
And the appearance of the British troops were really grand;
And by the Earl of Albemarle the British troops were commanded,
All eager for to fight as soon as they were landed.

Arduous and trying was the work the British had to do,
Yet with a hearty goodwill they to it flew;
While the tropical sun on them blazed down,
But the poor soldiers wrought hard and didn't frown.

The bombardment was opened on the 30th of June,
And from the British battleships a fierce cannonade did boom;
And continued from six in the morning till two o'clock in the afternoon,
And with grief the French and Spaniards sullenly did gloom.

And by the 26th of July the guns of Fort Moro were destroyed,
And the French and Spaniards were greatly annoyed;
Because the British troops entered the Fort without dismay,
And drove them from it at the bayonet charge without delay.

But for the safety of the city the Governor organised a night attack,
Thinking to repulse the British and drive them back;
And with fifteen hundred militia he did the British attack,
But the British trench guards soon drove them back.

Then the Spandiards were charged and driven down the hill,
At the point of the bayonet sore against their will;
And they rushed to their boats, the only refuge they could find,
Leaving a trail of dead and wounded behind.

Then Lieutenant Forbes, at the head of his men,
Swept round the ramparts driving all before them;
And with levelled bayonets they drove them to and fro,
Then the British flag was hoisted over the bastions of Moro.

Then the Governor of the castle fell fighting sword in hand,
While rallying his men around the flagstaff the scene was grand;
And the Spaniards fought hard to save their ships of war,
But the British destroyed their ships and scattered them afar.

And every man in the Moro Fort was bayonet or shot,
Which in Spanish history will never be forgot;
And on the 10th of August Lord Albemarle sent a flag of truce,
And summoned the Governor to surrender, but he seemed to refuse.

Then from the batteries the British opened a terrific fire,
And the Spaniards from their guns were forced to retire,
Because no longer could they the city defend;
Then the firing ceased and hostilities were at an end.

Then the city of Havana surrendered unconditionally,
And terms were settled, and the harbour, forts, and city,
With a district of one hundred miles to the westward,
And loads of gold and silver were the British troops' reward.

And all other valuable property was brought to London,
The spoils that the British Army had won;
And it was conveyed in grand procession to the Tower of London,
And the Londoners applauded the British for the honours they had won.

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
Font size:
Collection  Edit     
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:35 min read
42 Views

William Topaz McGonagall

William Topaz McGonagall (March 1825 – 29 September 1902) was an Irish weaver, poet and actor who lived in Scotland. He won notoriety as an extremely bad poet who exhibited no recognition of, or concern for, his peers' opinions of his work. He wrote about 200 poems, including "The Tay Bridge Disaster" and "The Famous Tay Whale", which are widely regarded as some of the worst in English literature. Groups throughout Scotland engaged him to make recitations from his work, and contemporary descriptions of these performances indicate that many listeners were appreciating McGonagall's skill as a comic music hall character. Collections of his verse remain popular, with several volumes available today. McGonagall has been lampooned as the worst poet in British history. The chief criticisms are that he was deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly. His only apparent understanding of poetry was his belief that it needed to rhyme. McGonagall's fame stems from the humorous effects these shortcomings are considered to generate in his work. Scholars argue that his inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, and ill-advised imagery combine to make his work amongst the most unintentionally amusing dramatic poetry in the English language. His work is in a long tradition of narrative ballads and verse written and published about great events and tragedies, and widely circulated among the local population as handbills. In an age before radio and television, their voice was one way of communicating important news to an avid public. more…

All William Topaz McGonagall poems | William Topaz McGonagall Books

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Discuss this William Topaz McGonagall poem with the community:

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "The Capture of Havana" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 14 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41884/the-capture-of-havana>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    The author of a poem is called ______.
    • A. Poet
    • B. Author
    • C. Writer
    • D. Speaker

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets

    »