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THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS.
It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughtér,
To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day, And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds, That ope in the month of May.
The skipper he stood beside the helm.
With his pipe in his mouth,
And watched how the veering flaw did blow The smoke now West, now South.
Then up and spoke an old sailor,
I pray thee, put into yonder port,
Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!'
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
Colder and louder blew the wind,
Down came the storm, and smote amain,
The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused like a frighted steed, Then leaped her cable's length.
'Come hither! come hither! my little daughtér,
And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale,
That ever wind did blow.'
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
He cut a rope from a broken spar,
'O father! I hear the church-bells ring O say, what may it be?'
"Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!' And he steered for the open sea.
'O father! I hear the sound of guns, O say, what may it be?'
'Some ship in distress, that cannot live In such an angry sea!'
'O father! I see a gleaming light,
say, what may it be?
But the father answered never a word,
A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face to the skies,
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed That savéd she might be;
And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave, On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
And ever the fitful gusts between
It was the sound of the trampling surf,
The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
On the reef of Norman's Woe!
H. W. LONGFELLOW.
THE waters are flashing,
The lightnings are glancing,
The whirlwind is rolling,
The thunder is tolling,
The forest is swinging,
The minster bells ringingCome away!
The Earth is like Ocean, Wreck-strewn and in motion :
Bird, beast, man, and worm, Have crept out of the storm Come away!
'Our boat has one sail,
And the helmsman is pale;
A bold pilot I trow,
Who should follow us now,'