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THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS.

135

· 120. THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS. It was the schooner Hesperus,

That sailed 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.

The skipper he stood beside the helm,

With his pipe in his mouth,
And watched how the veering flaw did blow

The smoke now West, now South.

Then up and spake an old sailor,

Had sailed the Spanish main, I pray thee put into yonder port,

For I fear a hurricane.

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“ Last night the moon had a golden ring,

And to-night no moon we see !"
The skipper he blew a whiff from his pipe,

And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind,

A gale from the North-east;
The snow fell hissing in the brine,

And the billows frothed like yeast.

Down came the storm, and smote amain

The vessel in its strength; She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,

Then leaped her cable's length.

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THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS.

“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 wrapped 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,

O say, what may it be?” "'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!” —

And he steered for the open sea.

“O father! I hear the sound of guns,

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

In such an angry sea !”

O father! I see a gleaming light,

O say what may it be?”
But the father answered never a word,

A frozen corpse was he.

Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,

With his face to the skies, The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow

On his fixed and glassy eyes.

Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed

That saved she might be ; And she thought of Christ, who stilled the waves

On the Lake of Galilee.

THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS.

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.

And ever the fitful gusts between

A sound came from the land;
It was the sound of the trampling surf,

On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.

The breakers were right beneath her bows,

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

Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side,

Like the horns of an angry bull.

Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,

With the masts went by the board; Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,

Ho! ho! the breakers roared !

At day-break, on the bleak sea-beach,

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

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.

138

THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS.

Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,

In the midnight and the snow! Christ save us all from a death like this, On the reef of Norman's Woe!

LONGFELLOW.

121. THE TRAVELLER'S RETURN.
SWEET to the morning traveller

The song amid the sky,
Where twinkling in the dewy light,

· The skylark soars on high.
And cheering to the traveller

The gales that round him play,
When faint and heavily he drags

Along his noon-tide way.
And when beneath the unclouded sun

Full wearily toils he,
The flowing water makes to him

A soothing melody.

And when the evening light decays,

And all is calm around,
There is sweet music to his ear

In the distant sheep-bell's sound,

But oh ! of all delightful sounds

Of evening or of morn,
The sweetest is the voice of love

That welcomes his return.

SOUTHEY,

THE ECHOING GREEN.

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122. THE.ECHOING GREEN.

The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies ;
The merry bells ring,
To welcome the spring;
The sky-lark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around,
To the bell's cheerful sound,
While our sports shall be seen,
On the echoing green.

Old John with white hair,
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk ;
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say,
Such, such, were the joys,
When we, all girls and boys,
In our youth-time were seen
On the echoing green.

Till the little ones weary,
No more can be merry,
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end.
Round the laps of their mothers,
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest,
And sport no more seen,
On the darkening green.

BLAKE.

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