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Yet all bards, whose hearts unblighted
Honour and believe the presage, Hold aloft their torches lighted, Gleaming through the realms benighted,
As they onward bear the message !
THE PHANTOM SHIP.
Of the old colonial time,
That is here set down in rhyme.
And the keen and frosty airs, That filled her sails at parting,
Were heavy with good men's prayers. "O Lord ! if it be thy pleasure"
Thus prayed the old divine-“To bury our friends in the ocean,
Take them, for they are thine!" But Master Lamberton muttered,
And under his breath said he, “This ship is so crank and walty,
I fear our grave she will be !” And the ship that came from England,
When the winter months were gone, Brought no tidings of this vessel,
Nor of Master Lamberton. This put the people to praying
That the Lord would let them hear What in his greater wisdom
He had done with friends so dear.
And at last their prayers were answered:
It was in the month of June, An hour before the sunset
Of a windy afternoon,
When, steadily steering landward,
A ship was seen below, And they knew it was Lamberton, Master,
Who sailed so long ago.
On she came, with a cloud of canvas,
Right against the wind that blew. Until the eye could distinguish
The faces of the crew.
Then fell her straining topmasts,
Hanging tangled in the shrouds, And her sails were loosened and lifted,
And blown away like clouds.
And the masts, with all their rigging,
Fell slowly, one by one,
As a sea-mist in the sun!
And the people who saw this marvel
Each said unto his friend,
And thus her tragic end.
And the pastor of the village
Gave thanks to God in prayer, That, to quiet their troubled spirits,
He had sent this Ship of Air.
THE WARDEN OF THE CINQUE PORTS. A Mist was driving down the British Channel,
The day was just begun, And through the window-panes, on floor and panel,
Streamed the red autumn sun.
It glanced on flowing flag and rippling pennon,
And the white sails of ships; And, from the frowning rampart, the black cannon
Hailed it with feverish lips.
Were all alert that day,
When the fog cleared away,
Their cannon through the night,
The sea-coast opposite.
On every citadel;
That all was well.
And down the coast, all taking up the burden,
Replied the distant forts,
And Lord of the Cinque Ports.
No drum-beat from the wall,
Awaken with its call!
No more, surveying with an eye impartial
The long line of the coast,
Be seen upon his post !
In sombre harness mailed,
The rampart wall has scaled.
He passed into the chamber of the sleeper,
The dark and silent room,
The silence and the gloom.
But smote the Warden hoar;
And groan from shore to shore. Meanwhile, without, the surly cannon waited,
The sun rose bright o'erhead; Nothing in nature's aspect intimated
That a great man was dead.
All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors. We meet them at the doorway, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go, Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear; He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air. Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires; The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires. These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
An undiscovered planet in our sky.
Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Into the realm of mystery and night,-
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.