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The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
Of wings and winds and solitary cries,
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.
Still grasping in his hand the fire of Jove,
But hails the mariner with words of love.
“Sail on!" it says, "sail on, ye stately ships !
And with your floating bridge the ocean span; Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man !
SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT.
SOUTHWARD with fleet of ice
Sailed the corsair Death;
And the east-wind was his breath.
Glistened in the sun;
Flashing crystal streamlets run.
Dripped with silver rain;
Leaden shadows o'er the main.
Eastward from Campobello
Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed ;
Then, alas'! the land-wind failed.
Alas! the land-wind failed,
grew the night; And never more, on sea or shore,
Should Sir Humphrey see the light.
He sat upon the deck,
The Book was in his hand ; “Do not fear! Heaven is near,”
He said, “by water as by land!”
In the first watch of the night,
Without a signal's sound, Out of the sea, mysteriously,
The fleet of Death rose all around.
The moon and the evening star
Were hanging in the shrouds; Every mast, as it passed,
Seemed to rake the passing clouds.
They grappled with their prize,
At midnight black and cold! As of a rock was the shock;
Heavily the ground-swell rolled.
Southward through day and dark,
They drift in close embrace, With mist and rain o'er the open main;
Yet there seems no change of place.
Southward, for ever southward,
They drift through dark and day; And like a dream in the Gulf-stream
Sinking, vanish all away.
THE SECRET OF THE SEA.
Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea! All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.
Sails of silk and ropes of sendal,
Such as gleam in ancient lore; And the singing of the sailors,
And the answer from the shore !
Most of all, the Spanish ballad
Haunts me oft, and tarries long,
And the sailor's mystic song.
Where the sand as silver shines,
Flow its unrhymed lyric lines ;Telling how the Count Arnaldos,
With his hawk upon his hand, Saw a fair and stately galley,
Steering onward to the land ;How he heard the ancient helmsman
Chant a song so wild and clear, That the sailing sea-bird slowly
Poised upon the mast to hear, Till his soul was full of longing,
And he cried with impulse strong, — “Helmsman! for the love of heaven,
Teach me, too, that wondrous song!" “Wouldst thou," so the helmsman answered,
* Learn the secrets of the sea ? Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery!"
In each landward-blowing breeze,
Hear those mournsul melodies;
Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.
THE EVENING STAR.
Just above yon sandy bar,
As the day grows fainter and dimmer, Lonely and lovely, a single star
Lights the air with a dusky glimmer. Into the ocean faint and far
Falls the trail of its golden splendour, And the gleam of that single star
Is ever refulgent, soft, and tender. Chrysaor, rising out of the sea,
Showed thus glorious and thus emulous, Leaving the arms of Callirrhoe,
For ever tender, soft, and tremulous. Thus o'er the ocean faint and far
Trailed the gleam of his falchion brightly, Is it a god, or is it a star,
That, entranced, I gaze on nightly?
By the fireside.
But one dead lamb is there!
But has one vacant chair!
The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead;
Will not be comforted !
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise,
Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapours;
Amid these earthly damps,
May be heaven's distant lamps.
There is no death! What seems so is transition:
This life of mortal breath
Whose portal we call Death.
She is not dead,—the child of our affection,
But gone unto that school Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
And Christ himself doth rule.