1801 2

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On Lord Nelson's sending a flag of truce
to Copenhagen in the midst of victory

The Scots Magazine, LXIII (May 1801), p. 350

Again the tide of rapture swells!
    Britannia sees new trophies rise!
[Again the trump of conquest tells
    That with the brave compassion lies].[1]

In vain the carnage of the field;
    In vain the empire of the main;
The brave may bleed—the brave may yield;
    But Mercy binds the brave again!

True to the dictates of the heart,
    That melts to Pity's godlike glow,
Humanity arrests the dart
    Half wing'd to lay the vanquish'd low!

Swift through the battle's thund'ring storm
    See! deck'd in smiles, she takes her stand;
Assumes her Nelson's fav'rite form,
    And lifts her aegis o'er the land!

Struck with the radiance of her shield,
    Returning friendship warms the Dane,
The brave may fight—the brave may yield,
    But Mercy binds the brave again!


1. On April 2, 1801, Nelson led a fleet into Copenhagen harbor as a reprisal against the Danes for joining with Russia and Sweden to cut off the Baltic ports to British ships. The Danish shore batteries opened fire upon Nelson's ships, and, despite orders to retire, Nelson continued the action until the Danes capitulated. The Danes agreed to an armistice and signed a peace treaty on May 28, 1801.

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