SCENE i PART FIRST
To come in from manoeuvring with his twelve, And range himself in line.
I say again
Bid Gravina draw hither with his twelve, And signal all to wear!—and come upon The larboard tack with every bow anorth !— So we make Cadiz in the worst event, And patch our rags up there. As we head now Our only practicable thoroughfare Is through Gibraltar Strait—a fatal door!
Signal to close the line and leave no gaps. Remember, too, what I have already told Remind them of it now. They must not pause For signallings from me amid a strife Whose chaos may prevent my clear discernment, Or may forbid my signalling at all. The voice of honour then becomes the chiefs ; Listen they thereto, and set every stitch To heave them on into the fiercest fight. Now I will sum up all: heed well the charge;
EACH CAPTAIN, PETTY OFFICER, AND MAN IS ONLY AT HIS POST WHEN UNDER FIRE.
The ships of the whole fleet turn their bows from south to north as directed, and close up in two parallel curved columns, the concave side of each column being towards the enemy, and the interspaces of the first column being, in general, opposite the hulls of the second.
AN OFFICER (straining his eyes towards the English fleet)
How they skip on ! Their overcrowded sails Bulge like blown bladders in a tripeman's shop The market-morning after slaughterday!
PETTY OFFICER (aside)
It's morning before slaughterday with us, I make so bold to bode!