Posted by Barbara Barrett on January 28th, 2013
1. variant of pasha: a man of high rank or office (as in Turkey or northern Africa)
[origin: 1646; Turkish pasa]
Many were slaughtered in that final charge;
Along the rail we saw the gunners kneel,
And then the world turned red with screaming steel,
But on we plunged, wild firing, wide and large,
Our bullies fell in rows along the marge;
Blindly we felt deep water under heel,
Swarmed up the anchor chains to roar and reel
With all the yelling devils of the barge.
A giant bashaw cleft eight Cossack skulls,
And then his saber met a blade of flame—
And as his ships went down with blazing hulls:
“Allah!” he screamed, “Thou swine—what is thy name?”
Our captain’s rapier leaped—a fire of blue.
And “John Paul Jones!” said he, and ran him through.
[from “An Incident of the Muscovy-Turkish War”; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 550; A Rhyme of Salem Town, p. 96; and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 197]