Back to Sir Edward Pellew. He was courageous not just in naval action but in everyday life as well. This poem recognises that characterisation by being a permanent record on his memorial at Christow.
Sir Edward Pellew and his wife were in their carriage on their way to dine with the Vicar of Charles, when they saw that the East Indiaman, the “Dutton”, driven into Plymouth Sound by the storm, was in difficulties. He managed to get aboard, though in doing so injured his back. Taking charge, he ensured that all on board, over 500 souls, including women and children were saved.
The poem, written by a spectator of the event, was recited at a public dinner given by the Corporation of Plymouth to honour the hero. The event is also recorded in a painting in Plymouth Museum.
(Note: this is my title – the original piece seems to be untitled)
While o’er the reeling wreck the savage storm
Pour’d all its lightnings, thunders, blasts, and hail;
And every horror in its wildest form
Smote the firm heart, that never knew to fail;
‘Twas thine, Pellew, sublimely great and good!
For man, thy brother man, distress’d, to dare
The dreadful passage of the raging flood,
And join the frantic children of despair.
There it was thine, in comfort’s balmy tone.
To soothe their sorrows ‘mid the tempest’s roar;
To hush the mother’s shriek, the sick man’s groan,
And bear the suff’rers trembling to the shore.
So when this mighty orb, in dread alarm.
Shall crash in ruins, at its God’s decree;
May thy Redeemer, with triumphant arm.
From the vast wreck of all things rescue thee.
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