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THE WRECK OF THE “HESPERUS."

It was the schooner Hesperus,

That saild the wintry sea ;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter

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.

Down came the storm, and smote amain

The vessel in its strength; She shudder'd and paused, like a frighted steed,

Then leap'd her cable's length.

“Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,

And do not tremble so,
For I can weather the roughest gale

That ever wind did blow."

He wrapp'd her warm in his seaman's coat

Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar,

And bound her to the mast.

“O Father! I hear the church bells ring !

Oh say, what may it be ?" “ 'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast !"

And he steer'd for the open sea.

READINGS AND RECITATIONS

“O Father! I hear the sound of guns,

Oh say, what may it be ?” “ Some ship in distress, that cannot live

In such an angry sea !”

“O Father! I see a gleaming light,

Oh say, what may it be?”.
But the father answer'd never a word-

A frozen corpse was he.

Then the maiden clasp'd her hands, and pray'd

That saved she might be; And she thought of Christ, who still’d the wave

On the lake of Galilee.

And fast, through the midnight dark and drear,

Through the whistling sleet and snow, Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept

Towards the reef of Norman's Woe.

To the rocks and breakers right ahead

She drifted, a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew

Like icicles from her deck.

She struck where the white and fleecy waves

Look'd soft as carded wool;
But the cruel rocks they gored her side,

Like the horns of an angry bull.

At daybreak, on a bleak sea-beach,

A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair

Lash'd close to a drifting mast.

The salt sea was frozen on her breast,

The salt tears in her eyes; And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,

On the billows fall and rise.

Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,

In the midnight and the snow ! Christ, save us from a death like this,

On the reef of Norman’s Woe.

EXCELSIOR.

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village pass'd
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device-

• Excelsior!”

His brow was sad ; his eye beneath,
Flash'd like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

" Excelsior!”

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,

“ Excelsior !"

“ Try not the Pass !" the old man said ; “ Dark lowers the tempest overhead, The roaring torrent is deep and wide !” And loud that clarion voice replied,

“ Excelsior!”

“Oh stay,” the maiden said, “ and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast !”
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answer'd, with a sigh,

“Excelsior !”

“Beware the pine-tree's wither'd branch!
Beware the awful avalanche !”
This was the peasant's last good-night;
A voice replied, far up the height,

“Excelsior !”

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Utter'd the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

“Excelsior !

A traveller, by the faithful hound
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device

“ Excelsior!”

BRYANT.

THE AFRICAN CHIEF. CHAIN'd in the market-place he stood,

A man of giant frame,
Amid the gath'ring multitude

That shrunk to hear his name;
All stern of look and strong of limb,

His dark eye on the ground; And silently they gazed on him,

As on a lion bound.
Vainly, but well that chief had fought

He was a captive now;
Yet pride, that fortune humbles not,

Was written on his brow.
The scars his dark broad bosom wore,

Show'd warrior true and brave;
A prince among his tribe before,

He could not be a slave.
Then to his conqueror he spake-

“My brother is a king;
Undo this necklace from my neck,

And take this bracelet ring,
And send me where my brother reigns,

And I will fill thy hands
With store of ivory from the plains,

And gold-dust from the sands.” “Not for thy ivory, nor thy gold,

Will I unbind thy chain;
That bloody hand shall never hold

The battle-spear again.

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