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Though the rigging shriek in his terrible grip,
And the naked spars be snapped away, Lashed to the helm, we'll drive our ship
In the teeth of the whelming spray! Hark! how the surges o'erleap the deck!
Hark! how the pitiless tempest raves !
Drifting over the desert waves.
With God above us, our guiding chart.
The wind blows wild and free;
Flash the white caps of the sea. But in the fisherman's cottage
There shines a ruddier light,
Peers out into the night;
As if those childish eyes
To see some form arise.
Is passing to and fro,
Now bowing and bending low. What tale do the roaring ocean
And the night-wind, bleak and wild,
Tell to that little child
And the night-wind, wild and bleak,
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
The night is made for cooling shade,
For silence, and for sleep; And when I was a child, I laid My hands upon my breast, and prayed,
And sank to slumbers deep: Childlike as then I lie to-night, And watch my lonely cabin-light.
Storm Song. The clouds are scudding across the moon ;
A misty light is on the sea ; The wind in the shrouds has a wintry tune,
And the foam is flying free. Brothers, a night of terror and gloom
Speaks in the cloud and gathering roar; Thank God, He has given us broad sea-room,
A thousand miles from shore.
Each movement of the swaying lamp
Shows how the vessel reels; As o'er her deck the billows tramp, And all her timbers strain and cramp
With every shock she feels,
It almost level lies ;
With restless fall and rise,
Down with the hatches on those who sleep!
The wild and whistling deck have we; Good watch, my brothers, to-night we'll keep,
While the tempest is on the sea !
O hand of God! O lamp of peace !
O promise of my soul !
The ship's convulsive roll,
From Bermuda's reefs; from edges
Of sunken ledges
From Bahama and the dashing,
Silver-flashing Surges of San Salvador;
From the tumbling surf that buries
The Orkneyan skerries,
Ever drifting, drifting, drifting
On the shifting
Of sandy beaches,
Drearily drenched in the ocean brine,
Lashed along without will of mine; Sport of the spoom of the surging sea ;
Flung on the foam, afar and anear, Mark my manifold mystery, —
Growth and grace in their place appear. I bear round berries, gray and red,
Rootless and rover though I be;
Arboresce as a trunkless tree;
White and hard in apt array; Mid the wild waves' rude uproar,
Gracefully grow I, night and day. Hearts there are on the sounding shore,
Something whispers soft to me, Restless and roaming for evermore,
Like this weary weed of the sea ; Bear they yet on each beating breast
The eternal type of the wondrous whole — Growth unfolding amidst unrest, Grace informing with silent soul.
CORNELIUS GEORGE FENNER.
So when storms of wild emotion
Strike the ocean
In its vastness,
From the far-off isles enchanted
Heaven has planted
On a Picture of Peel Castle in a Storm.
I was thy neighbor once, thou rugged pile !
Thy form was sleeping on a glassy sea. So pure the sky, so quiet was the air,
So like, so very like was day to day, Whene'er I looked, thy image still was there;
It trembled, but it never passed away.
Then, Beaumont, friend! who would have been
This sea in anger, and that dismal shore.
Well chosen is the spirit that is here:
This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear! And this huge castle, standing here sublime,
I love to see the look with which it braves, Cased in the unfeeling armor of old time, The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling
waves. Farewell, farewell, the heart that lives alone,
Housed in a dream at distance from the kind ! Such happiness, wherever it be known,
Is to be pitied; for 'tis surely blind.
And frequent sights of what is to be borne,
The Little Beach-Bird.
How perfect was the calm! It seemed no
sleep, No mood which season takes away or brings: I could have fancied that the mighty Deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle things. Ah! then if mine had been the painter's hand To express what then I saw, and add the
gleam, The light that never was on sea or land,
The consecration, and the poet's dream,I would have planted thee, thou hoary pile,
Amid a world how different from this ! Beside a sea that could not cease to smile,
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss.
Elysian quiet without toil or strife;
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.
Such picture would I at that time have made; And seen the soul of truth in every part, A steadfast peace that might not be be
I have submitted to a new control ;
A deep distress hath humanized my soul.
A smiling sea, and be what I have been; The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old ;
This, which I know, I speak with mind serene.
Thou little bird, thou dweller by the sea,
And with that boding cry
O'er the waves dost thou fly?
Through the fair land rejoice!
Thy cry is weak and scared,
As if thy mates had shared The doom of us. Thy wail —
What does it bring to me Thou call'st along the sand, and haunt'st the surge, Restless and sad; as if, in strange accord
With the motion and the roar
Of waves that drive to shore, One spirit did ye urge —
The Mystery — the Word.
Of thousands thou both sepulchre and pall, Old Ocean, art! A requiem o'er the dead
From out thy gloomy cells
A tale of mourning tells — Tells of man's woe and fall,
His sinless glory fled.
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky; For are we not God's children both, Thou little sand-piper and I !
The Coral Grove.
Then turn thee, little bird, and take thy flight Where the complaining sea shall sadness bring
Thy spirit never more.
Come, quit with me the shore For gladness, and the light Where birds of summer sing.
RICHARD HENRY DANA.
The Sand-Piper. Across the narrow beach we flit,
One little sand-piper and I ; And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered drift-wood, bleached and dry. The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high, As up and down the beach we flit
One little sand-piper and I.
Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud black and swift across the sky; Like silent ghosts, in misty shrouds
Stand out the white light-houses nigh. Almost as far as eye can reach,
I see the close-reefed vessels fly, As fast we flit along the beach
One little sand-piper and I.
DEEP in the wave is a coral grove,
flow; The water is calm and still below, For the winds and waves are absent there, And the sands are bright as the stars that glow In the motionless fields of upper air. There, with its waving blade of green, The sea-flag streams through the silent water, And the crimson leaf of the dulse is seen To blush, like a banner bathed in slaughter. There, with a light and easy motion, The fan-coral sweeps through the clear, deep
sea; And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean Are bending like corn on the upland lea. And life, in rare and beautiful forms, Is sporting amid those bowers of stone, And is safe, when the wrathful spirit of storms Has made the top of the wave his own. And when the ship from his fury flies, Where the myriad voices of ocean roar, When the wind-god frowns in the murky
skies, And demons are waiting the wreck on shore; Then, far below, in the peaceful sea, The purple mullet and gold-fish rove Where the waters murmur tranquilly, Through the bending twigs of the coral grove.
JAMES GATES PERCIVAL.
I watch him as he skims along,
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry; He starts not at my fitful song,
Or flash of fluttering drapery: He has no thought of any wrong,
He scans me with a fearless eye ; Staunch friends are we, well-tried and strong,
This little sand-piper and I.
Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night,
When the loosed storm breaks furiously? My drift-wood fire will burn so bright!
To what warm shelter canst thou fly?