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The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
Like icicles from her deck.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts, went by the board ;
Ho! ho! the breakers roared !
At daybreak on the bleak sea-beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
Lashed 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 Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow ! Christ save us all from death like this, On the reef of Norman's Woe!
THE CAPTAIN'S CHILD.
A GOOD thing is it to obey
Whom God hath set to rule ; And happy are our children trained
Betimes in duty's school.
Of such an one, to you, my friends,
A story I will tell ;
I pray ye, mark it well.
There was a child whose early home
Was on the rolling deep; The waters sung his lullaby,
And rock'd bim to his sleep.
He was the Captain's only child,
And when his mother died
The prattler from his side.
And so the little boy grew up,
A dweller on the sea : For feats of horsemanship, he learn'd
To climb the tall mast tree.
The song of birds at early morn
It was not his to hear; But the ocean breeze, that swept the seas,
Was music in his ear.
Yet was the ship a rugged school
For one so fair and young; And harshly in his hearing oft
His father's accents rung.
For dearly as he lov'd the boy,
That love was never shown
Of discipline alone.
Yet Harry was a merry boy,
Brimful of fearless fun,
Could up the rigging run.
Oh, but the sailors lov'd him well ;
The sunshine of his smile,
Could home-sick hearts beguile.
All household loves on him were shower'd
As in their sight he grew;
The darling of the crew.
Now of a monkey I must tell,
A droll and knavish elf,
A mimic of himself.
A grinning, chattering plague it was,
And mischievous full oft,— He clutch'd his cap from Harry's head,
And darted up aloft.
Up in the rigging with his prize,
The thievish creature flew,
And Harry followed too.
“ Hollo! hollo !” the boy exclaim'd,
“ Such manners suit not me, Come, Master Jacko, I must teach
Civility to thee."
At first it was a merry chase,
And blithely all look'd on ; But many a weather-beaten face
Paled e'er the cap was won.
The eager boy, without a thought
Of danger or of dread, Had reach'd at length the top-most pole,
Where scarce was room to tread.
Where none could turn, and none could bend,
He stood in dizzy trance, Beyond the reach of others' help,
Nor dared the downward glance.
Breathless with fear, the crew look'd up,
None spoke and no one stirr’d, Not even when the Captain's tread
Upon the deck was heard.
“What is the matter now, my men ?
Why stand ye moon-struck here ? ” None answer'd him—one look above
Reveal'd the speechless fear.
Pale with his agony, the boy
Is trembling, e'er he fall
The Captain saw it all.
But not a nerve or muscle yet
With quivering ånguish shook,“Bring me my fowling piece," he said,
And steadfast aim he took.
Then stern, and loud, and trumpet-clear,
He cried, “ Attend to me! This moment, sir, I fire; unless
You jump into the sea.”