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Brought from regions far away,
And as he turned his face aside, From Pascagoula's sunny bay,
With a look of joy and a thrill of pride, And the banks of the roaring Roanoke! Standing before Ah! what a wondrous thing it is
Her father's door, To note how many wheels of toil
He saw the form of his promised bride. One thought, one word, can set in mo- The sun shone on her golden hair, tion !
And her cheek was glowing fresh and There's not a ship that sails the ocean,
fair, But every climate, every soil,
With the breath of morn and the soft Must bring its tribute, great or small,
sea-air. And help to build the wooden wall ! Like a beauteous barge was she, The sun was rising o'er the sea,
Still at rest on the sandy beach, And long the level shadows lay,
Just beyond the billow's reach;
Was the restless, seething, stormy sea!
That obeyeth Love's command ! Had hewn and laid them every one, It is the heart and not the brain, Ere the work of man was yet begun. That to the highest doth attain, Beside the Master, when he spoke,
And he who followeth Love's behest A youth against an anchor leaning,
Far exceedeth all the rest !
And soon throughout the shipyard's Interrupted the old man's speech.
bounds Beautiful they were, in sooth,
Were heard the intermingled sounds The old man and the fiery youth! Of axes and of mallets, plied The old man, in whose busy brain With vigorous arms on every side ; Many a ship that sailed the main Plied so deftly and so well, Was modelled o'er and o'er again ;- That, ere the shadows of evening fell, The fiery youth, who was to be
The keel of oak for a noble ship, The heir of his dexterity,
Scarfed and bolted, straight and strong, The heir of his house, and his daughter's Was lying ready, and stretched along hand,
The blocks, well placed upon the slip. When he had built and launched from Happy, thrice happy every one land
Who sees his labour well begun, What the elder head had planned. And not perplexed and multiplied, "Thus,” said he, "we will build this By idly waiting for time and tide! ship!
And when the hot, long day was o'er, Lay square the blocks upon the slip,
The young man at the Master's door And follow well this plan of mine.
Sat with the maiden calm and still. Choose the timbers with greatest care; And within the porch, a little more Of all that is unsound beware;
Removed beyond the evening chill, For only what is sound and strong
The father sat, and told them tales To this vessel shall belong.
Of wrecks in the great September gales, Cedar of Maine and Georgia pine Of pirates upon the Spanish Main, Here together shall combine.
And ships that never came back again, A goodly frame, and a goodly fame,
The chance and change of a sailor's life, And the UNION be her name!
Want and plenty, rest and strife, For the day that gives her to the sea
His roving fancy, like the wind, Shall give my daughter unto thee!” That nothing can stay and nothing can The Master's word
bind, Enraptured the young man heard; And the magic charm of foreign lands,
With shadows of palms, and shining
sands, Where the tumbling surf, O'er the coral reefs of Madagascar, Washes the feet of the swarthy Lascar, As he lies alone and asleep on the turf. And the trembling maiden held her
breath At the tales of that awful, pitiless sea, With all its terror and mystery, The dim, dark sea, so like unto Death, That divides and yet unites mankind ! And whenever the old man paused, a
gleam From the bowl of his pipe would awhile
illume The silent group in the twilight gloom, And thoughtful faces, as in a dream; And for a moment one might mark What had been hidden by the dark, That the head of the maiden lay at rest, Tenderly, on the young man's breast! Day by day the vessel grew, With timbers fashioned strong and true, Stemson and keelson and sternson-knee, Till, framed with perfect symmetry, A skeleton ship rose up to view! And around the bows and along the
side The heavy hammers and mallets plied, Till after many a week, at length, Wonderful for form and strength, Sublime in its enormous bulk, Loomed aloft the shadowy hulk ! And around it columns of smoke,
upwreathing, Rose from the boiling, bubbling, seethCaldron that glowed, And overflowed With the black tar, heated for the
sheathing And amid the clamours Of clattering hammers, He who listened heard now and then The song of the Master and his men:“Build me straight, O worthy Master,
Staunch and strong a goodly vessel, That shall laugh at all disaster, And with
and whirlwind wrestle!” With oaken brace and copper band, Lay the rudder on the sand,
That, like a thought, should have con
trol Over the movement of the whole; And near it the anchor, whose giant
hand Would reach down and grapple with
the land, And immovable and fast Hold the great ship against the bellow
ing blast! And at the bows an image stood, By a cunning artist carved in wood, With rol of white, th far behin Seemed to be fluttering in the wind. It was not shaped in a classic mould, Not like a Nymph or Goddess of old, Or Naiad rising from the water, But modelled from the Master's daugh
ter! On many a dreary and misty night, 'Twill be seen by the rays of the signal
light, Speeding along through the rain and
* Vessels are sometimes, though not usually, launched fully rigged. I have availed myself of the exception, as better suited to my porposes than the general rule; but the reader will see by the following extract of a letter from a friend in Portland, Maine, that it is neither a blunder nor a poetic licence.
“In this State, and also, I am told, in New York, ships are sometimes rigged upon the stocks, in order to save time, or to make a show. There was a fine large ship launched last summer at Ellsworth, fully rigged and sparred. Some years ago a ship was launched here, with her rigging, spars, sails, and cargo aboard. She sailed the next day, and was never heard of again! I hope this will not be the fate of your poem!”
With her foot upon the sands, In the deer-haunted forests of Maine, Decked with flags and streamers gay, When upon mountain and plain
In honour of her marriage-day, Lay the snow,
Her snow-white signals fluttering, They fell,—those lordly pines !
blending, Those grand, majestic pines !
Round her like a veil descending, 'Mid shouts and cheers
Ready to be The jaded steers
The bride of the gray, old sea. Panting beneath the goad,
On the deck another bride Dragged down the weary, winding road
Is standing by her lover's side. Those captive kings so straight and tall,
Shadows from the flags and shrouds, To be shorn of their streaming hair, Like the shadows cast by clouds, And, naked and bare,
Broken by many a sunny fleck,
Fall around them on the deck.
The prayer is said,
The service read, Of their native forests they should not
The joyous bridegroom bows his head; see again.
And in tears the good old Master
Shakes the brown hand of his son, And everywhere
Kisses his daughter's glowing cheek The slender, graceful spars
In silence, for he cannot speak,
And ever faster
Down his own the tears begin to run. White, blue, and red,
The worthy pastorA flag unrolls the stripes and stars.
The shepherd of that wandering flock,
That has the ocean for its wold, Ah! when the wanderer, lonely, friend
That has the vessel for its fold, less, In foreign harbours shall behold
Leaping ever from rock to rockThat flag unrolled,
Spake with accents mild and clear, 'Twill be as a friendly hand
Words of warning, words of cheer, Stretched out from his native land,
But tedious to the bridegroom's ear. Filling his heart with memories sweet
He knew the chart and endless !
Of the sailor's heart, All is finished ! and at length
All its pleasures and its griefs, Has come the bridal day
All its shallows and rocky reefs, Of beauty and of strength.
All those secret currents, that flow To-day the vessel shall be launched!
With such resistless undertow, With fleecy clouds the sky is blanched,
And lift and drift, with terrible force, And o'er the bay,
The will from its moorings and its Slowly, in his splendours dight, The great sun rises to behold the sight.
Therefore he spake, and thus said he : The ocean old,
“Like unto ships far off at sea, Centuries old,
Outward or homeward bound, are we. Strong as youth, and as uncontrolled, Before, behind, and all around, Paces restless to and fro,
Floats and swings the horizon's bound, Up and down the sands of gold.
Seems at its distant rim to rise His beating heart is not at rest; And climb the crystal wall of the skies, And far and wide,
And then again to turn and sink, With ceaseless flow,
As if we could slide from its outer brink. His beard of snow
Ah! it is not the sea, Heaves with the heaving of his breast. It is not the sea that sinks and shelves, He waits impatient for his bride.
But ourselves There she stands,
That rock and rise
Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
steel, Who made each mast, and sail, and
rope, What anvils rang, what hammers beat, In what a forge and what a heat Were shaped the anchors of thy hope ! Fear not each sudden sound and shock, 'Tis of the wave and not the rock; 'Tis but the flapping of the sail, And not a rent made by the gale! In spite of rock and tempest's roar, In spite of false lights on the shore, Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea ! Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee; Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers,
our tears, Our faith triumphant o'er our fears, Are all with thee,-are all with thee!
With endless and uneasy motion,
beach The sights we see, and the sounds we
hear, Will be those of joy and not of fear!”. Then the Master, With a gesture of command, Waved his hand; And at the word, Loud and sudden there was heard, All around them and below, The sound of hammers, blow on blow, Knocking away the shores and spurs. And see! she stirs ! She starts,—she moves,-she seems to
feel The thrill of life along her keel, And, spurning with her foot the ground, With one exulting, joyous bound, She leaps into the ocean's arms! And lo! from the assembled crowd There rose a shout, prolonged and loud, That to the ocean seemed to say, “Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray, Take her to thy protecting arms, With all her youth and all her charms!' How beautiful she is! How fair She lies within those arms, that press Her form within many a soft caress Of tenderness and watchful care! Sail forth into the sea, O ship! Through wind and wave, right onward
steer! The moistened eye, the trembling lip, Are not the signs of doubt or fear. Sail forth into the sea of life, O gentle, loving, trusting wife, And safe from all adversity Upon the bosom of that sea Thy comings and thry goings be! For gentleness and love and trust Prevail o'er angry wave and gust; And in the wreck of noble lives Something immortal still survives !
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?
THE SECRET OF THE SEA. Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea !
All my dreams come back to me.
And a woman's waving shadow
Is passing to and fro, Now rising to the ceiling,
Now bowing and bending low. What tale do the roaring ocean,
And the night-wind, bleak and wild, As they beat at the crazy casement,
Tell to that little child?
And the night-wind, wild and bleak, As they beat at the heart of the mother,
Drive the colour from her cheek?
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
Comprehend its mystery!”
In each landward-blowing breeze,
Hear those mournful melodies ;
For the secret of the sea,
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.
SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT.* SOUTHWARD with fleet of ice
Sailed the corsair Death; Wild and fast blew the blast,
And the east-wind was his breath.
Glistened in the sun;
Flashing crystal streamlets run.
Dripped with silver rain; But where he passed there were cast
Leaden shadows o'er the main. Eastward from Campobello
Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed ; Three days or more seaward he bore,
Then, alas! the land-wind failed.
* “When the wind abated and the vessels were near enough, the Admiral was seen constantly sitting in the stern, with a book in his hand. On the oth of September he was seen for the last time, and was heard by the people of the Hind to say, 'We are as near heaven by sea as by land.' In the following night, the lights of the ship suddenly disappeared. The people in the other vessel kept 'a good look-out for him during the remainder of the voyage. On the 22d of September they arrived, through much tempest and peril, at Falmouth.
But nothing more was seen or heard of the Admiral.
-BELKNAP's American Biography,
The wind blows wild and free,
Flash the white caps of the sea. But in the fisherman's cottage
There shines a ruddier light, And a little face at the window
Peers out into the night.
As if those childish eyes
To see some form arise.