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FRANCE COVER'D WITH GLORY 299
A fresh east wind rose on the twelfth—the French and Spaniards
go, # For Cadiz swift they sail, and take the Hannibal in tow. Now this same eastward gale, alas ! brought on the English fleet, Who seem to wish for nothing more than enemies to meet.
Five sail o' th' line the English had, a frigate and a brig— They came as if they did not care for France and Spain a fig. The night came on, and France and Spain were very much in
fear, As stronger grew the eastern breeze, more English might appear.
Hence they were puzzled what to do—that is, which way to Avt— For what, indeed, are France and Spain when British tars are nigh ! At length th' allies heard cannon three, and fires saw far behind— They thought them English signals, so they push'd before the wind.
Then they congratulate themselves that they were got together, And that they sail'd so very well beyond Old England's tether. A conflagration soon they saw burst through the dark of night, Which seem'd to be their ships on fire—Oh ! then how great their fright!
Such their first thoughts ; but soon they fear'd 'twas fire-ships of
the foe: That was enough to urge their speed, and wondrous fast they go. No longer there could be a doubt, the foe has pass'd the Strait; Nay, they had reach'd the Gallic wake—there was no time to wait.
The French at their maintop-mast-head had put the light to
rally; But pull'd it down when th' English came, lest they too near
might sally. For well the wary Frenchmen knew, if they hold forth a light, It must have led the English on, to force them into fight.
The night the French in anguish pass'd, because it did not show Whether some ships that were in sight were enemies or no. At length the day dispers'd their fears—a day it was most sweet; For why ?—the French soon found themselves in midst of their own fleet.