A Hebrew poem on the death of Nelson

The destruction of the French fleet at Trafalgar marked the turning of the tide in the Napoleonic wars, and the death of Nelson in the hour of victory has continued to affect the hearts of his countrymen down the two centuries that have followed it.1 Several Jews saw action there under his command, one of them (according to family tradition) actually on HMS Victory,2 and another, Benjamin da Costa, as a naval officer.3 In the years immediately after the battle it inspired a number of English poems, some with musical settings – most of the poems, as might be expected, evincing no great liter? ary merit. G. Richards’ Monody on … Nelson^ composed in heroic couplets, contains nothing memorable or particularly moving, and reads like an academic exercise. A Jewish counterpart by Nathan Isaac Vallentine was published in 1806, under the Hebrew title “HDtP? (‘Breakers of the Sea’) and in

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