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26. THE INCHCAPE ROCK.
No stir in the air, no stir in the sea,
The ship was still as she could be ;
Her sails from heaven received no motion,
Her keel was steady in the ocean.
Without either sign or sound of their shock
The waves flow'd over the Inchcape Rock;
So little they rose, so little they fell,
They did not move the Inchcape Bell.
The Abbot of Aberbrothok
Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock,
On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung,
And over the waves its warning rung.
When the rock was hid by the surge's swell,
The mariners heard the warning bell;
And then they knew the perilous rock,
And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok.
The Sun in heaven was shining gay,
All things were joyful on that day;
The sea-birds scream'd as they wheel'd round,
And there was joyaunce in their sound.
The buoy of the Inchcape Bell was seen
A darker speck on the ocean green;
Sir Ralph the Rover walk'd his deck,
And he fixed his eye on the darker speck.
He felt the cheering power of spring,
It made him whistle, it made him sing;
His heart was mirthful to excess,
But the Rover's mirth was wickedness.
His eye was on the Inchcape float:
Quoth he, “My men, put out the boat,
And row me to the Inchcape Rock,
And I'll plague the Abbot of Aberbrothok."
The boat is lower'd, the boatmen row,
And to the Inchcape Rock they go;
Sir Ralph bent over from the boat,
And he cut the bell from the Inchcape float.
Down sunk the bell with a gurgling sound,
The bubbles rose and burst around;
Quoth Sir Ralph, “The next who comes to the Rork
Won't bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok.”
Sir Ralph the Rover sail'd away,
He scour'd the seas for many a day;
And now grown rich with plunder'd store,
He steers his course for Scotland's shore.
So thick a haze o'erspreads the sky
They cannot see the Sun on high ;
The wind hath blown a gale all day,
At evening it hath died away.
On the deck the Rover takes his stand,
So dark it is they see no land.
Quoth Sir Ralph, “ It will be lighter soon,
For there is the dawn of the rising Moon.”
“ Canst hear,” said one, “the breakers roar ?
For methinks we should be near the shore."
“Now where we are I cannot tell,
But I wish I could hear the Inchcape Bell”
They hear no sound, the swell is strong; Though the wind hath fallen they drift along, Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock, “Oh, Christ! it is the Inchcape Rock !"
Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair,
And beat his breast in his despair;
The waves rush in on every side,
And the ship sinks down beneath the tide.
THREE fishers went sailing away to the West,
Away to the West as the sun went down ;
Each thought on the woman who loved him the best,
And the childron stood watching them out of the town;
For men must work, and women must weep,
And there's little to earn, and many to keep;
Though the harbour bar be moaning.
Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,
And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down; They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower,
And the night-rack came rolling up, ragged and browu. But men must work, and women must weep, Though storms be sudden, and waters deep,
And the harbour bar be moaning.
Three corpses lay out on the shining sands
In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
And the women are weeping and wringing their hands
For those who will never come home to the town;
For men must work, and women must weep,
And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep;
And good-bye to the bar and to its moaning.
28. PRAYER. PRAYER is the soul's sincere desire
Utter'd or unexprest; The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the burthen of a sigh,
The falling of a tear;
The upward glancing of an eye,
When none but God is near.
Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try; Prayer the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high.
Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air; His watch word at the gates of death :
He enters heaven by prayer.
0! Thou, by whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way, The path of prayer thyself hast trod ;
Lord, teach us how to pray!
28* HE prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small; For the dear God that loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
29. THE NORMAN BARON.
In his chamber, weak and dying,
Was the Norman baron lying;
Loud, without, the tempest thundered,
And the castle turret shook.
In this fight was Death the gainer,
Spite of vassal and retainer,
And the lands his sires had plundered,
Written in the Doomsday book.
By his bed a monk was seated,
Who in humble voice repeated
Many a prayer and pater-noster,
From the missal on his knee;
And, amid the tempest pealing,
Sounds of bells came faintly stealing,
Bells, that from the neighbouring kloster
Rang for the Nativity.
In the hall, the serf and vassal
Held that night their Christmas wassail;
Many a carol, old and saintly,
Sang the minstrels and the waits.
And so loud these Saxon gleemen
Sang to slaves the songs of freemen,
That the storm was heard but faintly,
Knocking at the castle gates.
Till at length the lays they chaunted
Reached the chamber, terror-haunted,
Where the monk, with accents holy,
Whispered at the baron's ear.