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Her course is laid with fearless skill,
For brave hearts man the helm ; And joyous winds her canvas fill —
Shall the wave the stout ship whelm ?
On, on she goes, where the icebergs roll
Where meteors flash by the northern pole,
Where the glittering light is backward flung
And the frozen shrouds are gayly hung
On the Indian sea was her shadow cast,
And her pendant shroud and towering mast
The idle canvas slowly swung
As the spicy breeze went by,
And strange, rare music around her rung
O, gallant ship, thou didst bear with thee
The anxious wife her babes would fold,
And pray with trembling lip.
The petrel wheel'd in its stormy flight;
The black cloud came like a banner down,
Helmless, but on before the gale,
She ploughs the deep-trough'd wave:
A gurgling sound –
-a frenzied wail
And the ship has found a grave.
And thus is the fate of the acorn told,
That fell from the old oak tree,
And the woodlawn Fays in the frosty mould Preserved for its destiny.
THE DROWNED MARINER.
A MARINER sat on the shrouds one night,
Now bright, now dimm'd was the moonlight pale,
The scud was flying athwart the sky,
The gathering winds went whistling by,
And the wave, as it tower'd, then fell in spray,
The mariner sway'd and rock'd on the mast,
Or lightly rose and fell,
For their broad, damp fins were under the tide,
And they lash'd as they pass'd the vessel's side,
Glared fiercely up, and they glared at him.
Now freshens the gale, and the brave ship goes
A sheet of flame is the spray she throws,
But the ship is fleet and strong;
The topsail is reef'd, and the sails are furl'd,
But there cometh no chill to the mariner's blood.
Wildly she rocks, but he swingeth at ease,
And holdeth by the shroud;
And as she careens to the crowding breeze,
And the surging heareth loud.
Was that a face, looking up to him,
With its pallid cheek, and its cold eyes dim?
The mariner look'd, and he saw, with dread,
And the cold eyes glared, the eyes of the dead,
The stout ship rock'd with a reeling speed,
Bethink thee, mariner, well of the past:
There's a stifled prayer, the first, the last;
O, where shall thy burial be?
Bethink thee of oath's that were tightly spoken;
Bethink thee of vows that were lightly broken;
Bethink thee of all that was dear to thee,
For thou art alone on the raging sea;
Alone in the dark, alone on the wave,
To struggle aghast at thy watery grave,
The stout limbs yield, for their strength is past;
Then slowly sinks, the struggle is o'er.
Down, down where the storm is lash'd to sleep,
There thou shalt slumber well.
The gem and the pearl lie heap'd at thy side;
They fell from the neck of the beautiful bride,
From the strong man's hand, from the maiden's brow, As they slowly sunk to the caves below.
A peopled home is the ocean-bed;
The mother and child are there:
The fervent youth and the hoary head,
As the water moveth, they slightly sway,