MRS. L. H. SIGOURNEY,
" They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great
waters, they see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep."
H S. PARSONS & CO.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
H. S. PARSONS AND COMPANY,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
J. GILES, Printtr.
Our Ships, . . . . . . . u
The two Teachers, , . . . 15
My first Sabbath at Sea, .... 19
Song of the Icelandic Fishermen, . . . 25
Reef Sails, 29
Icebergs, ....... 33
Prayers at Sea, , . 37
Oracle for Seamen, ..... 39
The Trusting Child, 41
Laura, ....... 45
Teachings of the Sea, .... 51
Drink, Friends, 53
Homeward Bound, .... 55
The Prophet's Vision, .... 57
Midnight Thoughts at Sea, ... 59
The Angel of the Waters, . . . .61
To the Ocean, G5
The Brother, . . . . .. .69
Return to Native Land, . ... 75
The Geranium Plant at Sea, ... 83
Farewell to Fellow Voyagers, ... 85
The Mother's blessing on her Sailor Son, . 91
The Sister's Farewell, .... 95
Tom Hardy, 97
The Happy Mariner .... 101
Hymn at Parting, . .... 105
I went to Sea, 109
The Sailor's Sick Child, . . . .117
A Bible Scory, 121
Thoughts in Sickness, .... 125
The Hero, . . . A.*S 127
Burial at Sea, 133
Hope in God, 135
The Whaler's Song, 139
Thanksgiving Day on Shore, . . . 137
What could they do without us? . . 143
To a Retired Seaman, ^, . *. . . 147
Ho Landsmen ! 149
My happy Home, . . . .151
The little embellishments of this Book were
designed expressly for it, by Mr. W. R. LAW
RENCE, a young artist, of Hartford, Conn., and
engraved by Mr. W. H. DODD.
THIS little book is the result of some personal
acquaintance with the element whose name it bears.
Might it go forth with the voyager, over the path
less waters, and perchance, tenderly deepen the
image of the friend who had made it a parting gift,
it would fulfil a pleasant destiny.
Its closing portion, commencing with "The Moth
er's blessing on her Sailor Son," is more particularly
adapted to those, whose life is on the sea. In the
dim forecastle, may it be as a sunbeam, brightening
the memory of home, and its loved ones, and the
hope of that better home, where no storm shall drive
the bark astray, or divide the true-hearted.
L. H. S.
HARTFORD, DEC., 1849.
NOT of the boisterous wave,
Not of the tempest's power,
Not of the tossed and cleaving bark,
Speak at this sacred hour.
God of the trusting soul !
God of the wanderer, hear !
And from our parting cup of love
Wring out the dregs of fear.
10 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Art Thou a God at home,
Where the bright fireside smiles,
And not abroad, upon the deep,
Mid danger's deadliest wiles ?
What though the eyes so dear
To distant regions turn,
Their tender language in our hearts
Like cherished flame shall burn.
What though the voice beloved
Reply not to our pain,
We'll keep its music in our souls,
Until we meet again.
Farewell ! May angeljguards
Protect thy wave-rocked sleep,
Nor shall our nightly prayers forget
The loved one on the deep.
THE ships from young Columbia's shore,
As fleet they are and free,
As those from haughtier realms, that boast
Dominion o'er the sea.
As gallantly their banners float,
As keen their lightning's fly,
And braver hearts than there are found
Beat not beneath the sky.
12 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
White as the glancing sea-bird's wing
Their swelling sails expand,
Beside the bright Egean isles,
Or green Formosa's strand,
Or where the sparse Norwegian pine
A sudden summer shares,
Or Terra del Fuego's torch
Amid the tempest glares.
Unmoved, their trackless course they hold
Though vengeful Boreas roars,
And make their port on stranger coasts
Or undiscovered shores,
Rude people of a foreign speech,
Have learned their cheering cry,
"Land-ho ! Aloft !" and "Bear-a-hand !"
With the ready tar's reply.
From zone to zone, from pole to pole,
Where'er in swift career
The venturous keel a path explores,
Our Yankee sailors steer.
OUtt SHIPS. 13
The white bear, on his field of ice
Hath seen their signals tossed,
And the great whale, old Ocean's king,
Doth know them to his cost.
The spices from the Indian isles,
The plant of China's care,
The cane's sweet blood from tropic climes
Their merchant-vessels bear,
Wherever Commerce points his wand,
They mount the crested waves,
And link together every sea
The rolling globe that laves.
Still nearest to the Antarctic gale
Our daring seamen press,
Where storm-wrapped Nature thought to dwell
In hermit-loneliness ;
"Whose masts are these, so white with frost,
Where fearful icebergs shine ?"
My country from her watch-tower looked '
And answered, " They are mine !'"
14 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Columbia's ships ! With dauntless prow
The tossing deep they tread ;
The pirates of the Libyan sands
Have felt their prowess dread ;
And the British lion's lordly mane
Their victor might confessed,
For well their nation's faith and pride
They guard on Ocean's breast.
When strong Oppression fiercely frowns,
Her eagle rears its crest,
And means no bird of air shall pluck
His pinions, or his breast ;
And brightest on the threatening cloud
Gleam out her stars of gold ;
Huzza ! for young Columbia's ships
And for her seamen bold !
THE TWO TEACHERS.
EARTH hath her firesides, where the truant heart
Comes back, to be forgiven, where the soft touch
Of mother, or of sister, lures the boy,
And tames his fierceness, where the unshap'd sound
From infancy's fair lip, doth move the soul
With thrill unspeakable.
But the strong Sea
Beareth no hearth-stone on his giant waves.
He scorns the cadence of the nursery song,
Nor with his erring children leaves a fault
For Love's fond kiss to shrive. The hoarse reproof,
The chronicle of wrecks; the lash of storms,
16 POEM3 FOR THE SEA.
Are his appliances. No echoing voice
Of Sabbath-bell, across the billowy waste
Calleth the peasant, with his little ones
Up to God's courts ; no chant of tuneful choir
Softeneth his pupils, and no fervent prayer
For their misdeeds, from interceding Love
Outlasts the night-watch.
Oft indulgent Earth
Fits her frail child for Death's most fear'd embrace,
By holiest ministries around his bed,
Until her loosening links unclasp and fall,
In scarce perceptible, and calm decline,
Without a murmuring moan. And then she opes
Her matron breast, for his long, dreamless sleep,
And covers him with flowers.
It is not so
With Ocean, in his sterner discipline.
His tender mercies, are the sad, lone plunge
Down to his caves, where scaly monsters gaze
A moment on the guest, with stony eyes,
Then leave him to an unwept sepulchre,
Until the day of doom.
THE TWO TEACHERS. 17
Oh, gentle Earth !
Gird thy son well, ere thou dost cast him forth
To Ocean's iron rule. Give him the shield
Of God's true fear, that tho' he turn away
From charities of homo, and hallow'd bell
Warning to Church, and turf-bound, tear- wet lomb,
It may be well with him.
MY FIRST SABBATH AT SEA
SWIFT gliding o'er the deep,
As woke the hallow'd day,
With snowy sails, and favoring gales,
Our ship pursued her way,
When lo \ a gush of music sweet,
Swelled from her heaving breast,
A holy voice of hymns, that seem'd
To lull the wave to rest.
For on the sheltered deck
Uprose a sacred rite,
The worship of old Ocean's King,
The Lord of power and might ;
20 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Who with a simple line of sand
Restrains its wrathful tide,
And lays his finger on its mane,
To quell its fiercest pride.
High words of solemn prayer
Each listening spirit stir,
And by the fair young babe knelt down
The wrinkled mariner,
On couch and mattrass rang'd around,
The sick forgot their grief,
And caught the lore of Heaven, as drinks
Its dew, the thirsting leaf.
Sad Erin's ardent sons
Up from the steerage came,
And in their warm response invoked
Jehovah's awful name ;
And little children gathered near,
Blest in their guileless years,
Hands folded close, and lips apart,
And thoughts that move to tears.
MY FIRST SABBATH AT SEA.
Filled with the scene sublime,
The priestly heart grew bold,
To speak with eloquence of Him,
Who the great deep controlled ;
And loftier was his youthful brow,
And deep his tuneful voice,
That warned the sinner to repent,
And bade the saint rejoice.
A spell was on the heart,
That bowed the proudest head,
Above us the eternal skies,
Beneath our feet the dead ;
The dead who knew no burial rite,
Save storm, or battle cry,
Whose tombs are where the coral grows,
And the sea-monsters lie.
It is a blessed thing
In God's own courts to stand,
And hear the pealing organ swell,
And join the prayerful band ;
22 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Yet who in full dependence feels
That One alone can save,
Until his fleeting life he throws
Upon the troubled wave ?
It is a blessed thing
To heed the Sabbath chime,
And on 'neath summer foliage walk
To keep the holy time ;
Yet who hath all devoutly praised
The Hand his breath that kept,
Until the strong unpitying surge
Raged round him while he slept ?
Earth the indulgent nurse,
With love her son doth guide,
His safety on her quiet breast
Begets an inborn pride ;
But Ocean, king austere,
Doth mock his trusting gaze,
And try the fabric of the faith,
By which on Heaven he stays.
MY FIRST SABBATH AT SEA. 23
Again that tuneful sound
Swells o'er the watery plain ;
How passing sweet are Zion's songs
Amid the stranger-main:
Our vessel taught them to the winds
Along her venturous way,
And bade the lawless billows hush
In their tremendous play.
Throughout the broad expanse
No living thing is seen,
Except the stormy petrel's wing,
That flecks the blue serene ;
Praise ! Praise ! methinks the hoariest surge
Might learn that lesson well,
Which even the infant zephyr's breath
To earth's frail flowers doth tell. >
What though the tender thought
Of loved ones far away
Steals lingering to the moistened eye,
Mid prayer and chanted lay,
. POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Yet trust in a Redeemer's word,
Aad hopes that blossom free,
And haftowed memories cling around
This Sabbath on the sea.
SONG OF THE ICELANDIC FISH
YIELD our bark to the breezes free,
Point its helm to the far, deep Sea,
Where Heckla's red volcanic light
Like a watch-fire gilds the night,
Where in foaming baths, strange monsters play,
Down to the deep sea launch away !
Gay over coral reefs we steer,
Where moulder the bones of the brave,
Where the beautiful sleep on their humid bier,
And the pale pearl gleams in its quenchless sphere,
26 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
The lamp of their Ocean grave ;
Swift o'er the crested surge we row ;
Down to the fathomless sea we so.
King of Day ! to thee we turn,
May our course be blest by thee,
Eyes bright as thine in our homes shall burn,
When again our hearths we see ;
When the scaly throng, to our skill a prey
At the feet of our fur-clad maids we lay.
Thou art mighty in wrath, devouring tide !
The strong ship loves o'er thy foam to. ride,
Her banner by bending clouds carest,
The waves at ber keel, and a world in her breast;
Thou biddest the blast of thy billows sweep,
Her tall masts bow to the cleaving deep,
And seal'd in thy cells her proud ones sleep.
Our sails are as chaff, when the tempest raves,
And our boat a speck on the mountain waves :
Yet we pour not to thee, the imploring strain*
We soothe not thy anger, relentless Main L
ICELANDIC FISHERMEN. 27
Libation we pour not, nor vow, nor prayer,
Our hope is in thee,
God of the sea !
The deep is thy path, and the soul thy care.
I SAW a bark, with streamers gay
O'er Hymen's waters sweep,
Profusion dancing at the helm,
And Prudence fast asleep,
Yet not by Labour's ancient chart
A steady course it bent,
But fed the waves with ether's gold
When all its own was spent.
Reef sails ! Reef sails ! a whirlpool's nigh
The thundering rapids sound,
Ho ! change your reckoning, ere ye sink
In gulfs profound.
30 POEMS FOE THE SEA.
Young Beauty, in her gilded barge
Like Egypt's haughty queen,
For whom, 'tis said, the world was lost,
With graceful form is seen ;
The morn is fair, the breeze is rare,
And gliding on her way,
She deems each billow's flashing crest
To her, doth homage pay.
Reef sails ! Reef sails ! I see a cloud
Athwart the noontide skies,
A lonely strand, a wreck-strewn sand,
Be timely wise.
Pride steers ahead, with canvas spread,
And top-mast towering high,
Regardless of the warning winds
That thro' the shrouds do sigh.
Reef sails ! 'tis not for him of dust
For whom the worm doth wait,
To magnify the fleeting trust
Of wealth, or high estate.
REEF BAILS. 31
Reef sails ! Reef sails ! time's bubble breaks,
The dark grave claims its part,
And Heaven's acceptance only crowns
The lowly heart.
THE setting Sun, with glorious smile
Illumed the Atlantic main,
And sweetly cheer'd a noble bark
That rode the surging plain ;
And from its deck, the voyagers
That cloudless radiance blest,
When lo ! a huge, portentous form
Appear'd on Ocean's breast,
34 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Just at the far horizon's verge,
A mountain mid the main,
As erst Philistia's ^jiant tower'd
O'er Israel's tented plain,
While hoarsely o'er the wave, it seemed
A threat of terror sped,
"Who thus, with foot of fire, hath dar'd
My realm of frost to tread?"
Yet on, the gallant steam-ship press'd
Her flaming heart beat high,
And boldly flow'd her fervid breath,
In volumes o'er the sky,
Though gathering at their chieftain's nod
A monster-train drew near,
With frowning helms, by Winter forg'd,
In panoply severe.
Then, as the watchful stars looked down
From their untroubled throne,
A rushing flood of crimson light*
Spread forth from zone to zone,
Aurora Borealis bent
Her arch around the skies,
And up the wondering billows gazed
With phosphorescent eyes.
The sleepless Captain at his post
Firm and undaunted stood,
Though ice was thickening round his keel,
To chill the seamens' blood.
How tardily that fearful night,
Told out each measured hour,
While many a prayerful heart invoked
The Great Deliverer's power.
Up rose the morn, and touched the crowns
Of all those arctic kings,
With lustre of a thousand rays
That the rich diamond flings ;
And flashing from their vitreous shields
Reflected colors streamed,
While towers and miniarets of pearl,
In fearful brilliance gleamed.
POEM9 FOR THK SEA. f
Who led us through that fierce array
Of foes, so stern and dark,
The buffet of whose iron hands
Could crush the strongest bark 1
Who brought us from their fearful realm
Unscathed, the tale to tell,
At home, amid a listening group,
While tears of rapture swell I
Forget Him not, that God of love,
But pay the worship due,
And on the altar of the soul
The incense-flame renew,
To Him, who foiled that frigid host
Who on their Ocean path,
So terrible in beauty frowned,
So pitiless in wrath.
*The scene here described occurred to the steamship "Great West
ern," which on her voyage between Europe and the United States, in
1841, passed through a fleet of icebergs, reported by Capt. Hoskins,
as between three and four hundred in number, headed by one larger
than the rest, whose length was computed at three quarters of a mile,
and its entire altitude, above and below the surface, at four hundred
PRAYERS AT SEA.
PRAYER may be sweet in cottage homes,
Where sire and child devoutly kneel,
And through the open casement nigh
The vernal blossoms gently steal.
Prayer may be sweet in stately halls,
Where heart with kindred heart is blent,
And upward to the Eternal Throne '
The hymn of praise melodious sent.
But he, who fain would know how strong,
The soul's appeal to God may be,
POEMS FOR THE HE A.
From friends and native land should turn,
A wanderer o'er the faithless sea ;
Should hear its deep imploring tone
Rise upward o'er the thundering surge,
When breakers threat the reeling bark.
And winds with waves their conflict urge.
No spot on which his foot can rest,
No refuge where his form may flee,
How will he turn, O Rock Divine !
And bind his anchoring soul to Thee.
ORACLE FOR SEAMEN.
[It is a fable of heathen mythology, that the ship
Argo was built of oaks from the sacred groves of
Dodonia, which were endowed with the gift of
prophecy ; so that the masts and timbers gave orac
ular advice to the Argonautic adventurers, and saved
them from many threatening calamities.]
DODONIAN Oaks were those, ye say
That warn'd the sailor on his way,
When in old time, with peril fraught.
The Argonautic fleece he saught.
For still prophetic impulse wove
Those sever'd trunks from sacred grove,
40 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
And mystic voices here and there
From mast and rudder cried "beware!"
And boast ye nought of spell or charm,
Your wanderer o'er the deep to arm ?
No shield or panoply to cast
Around his breast mid danger's blast ?
A Book ye have, of wondrous power,
Go, press it on his parting hour,
And make the Bible's voice divine
His pilot, while he ploughs the brine.
So shall an Oracle be near,
Like angel-whisper in his ear,
From swelling sail, from humble chest
Where home's lov'd tokens garner'd rest,
From dim forecastle's crowded throng
Mid oath and bacchanalian song,
From breaking dawn's uncertain light,
From lonely watch, at dead of night,
Even from the tempest's blackening cloud,
The iceberg dread, the shatter'd shroud,
The whelming surge, that voice shall be
A guide to immortality.
THE TRUSTING CHILD.
THE good ship o'er the Ocean,
Glides on, where skies are bright,
And rolling waves right merrily
Propel her homeward flight ;
But lo ! the blast and tempest
Rush from their prisoning cell,
The rocky coast, frowns dark and dread,
The wintry surges swell.
POEMS FOR THE SEA.
'Tis night ! Amid the breakers
The headlong vessel goes,
And shrieking, like a wounded man,
Strives with her vengeful foes ;
Pale grows the boldest mariner,
For scarce the trumpet's cry
Is heard amid contending blasts,
Whose warfare shakes the sky.
How fearful is the tumult !
Hark, to the wailing prayer
That mingles with the deafening sto~m
Like hope amid despair ;
Yet in the darken'd cabin
Rocked by the raging sea,
There calmly sat a beauteous boy,
Upon his mother's knee.
He sang a hymn of heaven,
Then spoke so sweetly mild,
" The Bible saith our Savior dear
Doth love the little child ;
THE TRUSTING CHILD. 43
It telleth of a happy home
Beyond the stormy sky ;
Mother ! He'll take us there to dwell,
We're not afraid to die."
His brow was pure and peaceful
As the pearl beneath the deep,
When the booming battle thunders,
Across its bosom sweep ;
Hoarse came the words of horror
From men of sinful life,
But innocence, with soul serene,
Beheld the appalling strife.
Lo ! tke black clouds are breaking,
The winds remit their force,
The shatterd bark retrims her sails
And slowly holds her course ;
The wearied men are faint, as they
Who with giant foes have striven,
But the trusting child, as he gently smiled
Seem'd like a guest from Heaven.
LAUBA was fair, and of a tender heart,
And lov'd a son of Neptune. Nought to her
That toils of Ocean bronz'd his brow, or gave
A roughness to his manners, for she priz'd
His generous nature, full of noble thoughts,
And warm devotedness to every friend.
Cold winter fled away, and gentle Spring
From its low bed the earliest snow-drop call'd,
And then the holy marriage-vow they spake,
And were made one. Yet scarce the fleeting moon
Had marked her change of crescent, orb and wane,
46 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Ere came the parting hour : for he was bound
Upon a three years' cruise.
He cheer'd his bride,
With promises to tempt the sea no more,
But after this, one farewell voyage, to rear
A cottage mid their native hills, where all
Her favorite flowers might grow, and dwell content
Forever at her side.
So, forth he went,
The dauntless Captain of a hardy crew,
To barb the monarch whale, mid arctic floods.
'Twere hard to tell, how loneliness and woe,
Chill'd her young breast, and how thro' midnight storms
She sleepless wept or from some broken dream
Of shipwreck, and the swimmer spent with toil,
Sprang up, affrighted.
But with that good sense
Which marks a well-train'd mind, she quell'd her grief
By industry, and kindliest sympathies
In other's woe. Still for her parent's weal,
Both hand and heart were busy, by the bed
Of the poor sick she sate, or fed the young
With dews of knowledge ; for the love of books
And the pure faith of Christ, refined her soul.
Thus, well-employ'd, tho' with a tardy flight
Revolv'd the months and years, while anxious care
For the long absent husband, gave a cast
Of pensive beauty to her youthful brow.
At length, the blessed telegraph announc'd
His laden ship, and soon her weary days
Of widowhood, were ended.
But the voice
That to her ear like richest music seem'd,
Announc'd sad tidings. He must tempt again
The treacherous deep.
"Ah, not again ! No ! No !
Think of your promise, never more to roam !
The humblest cot, where I might work for you,
And hear your voice, and be your comforter,
Is all my heart's ambition."
Fain would I place you in a loftier home,
Such as your merits claim.
48 POEMS FOB THE SEA.
When first our flag
Was rear'd o'er Mexico, the land of gold,
I touch'd upon that wondrous coast, and there
Invested all my gains. So, I must go
Thither and be made rich !
Hear me, my wife.
'Tis but this once, and then I shall return
With wealth untold."
" Oh ! let us be content,"
She fain had said, but saw it was in vain.
A marble paleness o'er her features stole,
And when it fled, left a fix'd purpose there
To go with him.
Though earnestly he strove
To paint the hardships of the sea, fierce storms,
Privations, nameless dangers, all unfit
For one so delicate ; yet still the wife
Clave to her husband.
Mournful kindred spake
Dissuasively of peril, and the pang
Of dire sea-sickness, far away from all
Her sympathising sex; and of the life,
So uncongenial to her gentle soul
In California. But she only said,
" My husband will be there."
Brief space was given
For parting words, and then the tossing deck
With slender foot she trod, resting unmoved
Upon her husband's arm, and her blue eye
Rais'd calmly to the skies.
Tempest and blast
And mountain-billow marked their dreary change
On Ocean's face ; yet mid their darkest wrath
'Twas beautiful to see how woman's love
O'ermastered fear, keeping the sunbeam bright
In the transparent heart, to light the brow
With cheering smiles.
Once more upon the land,
Across the dreary wilds of Panama,
The place of skulls, they took their pilgrim way.
Strange hardships came upon them, rugged men
Fell down and died. Yet still her course she held.
Her strength was in the heart.
50 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
The raging main
Again was tempted, ere upon the shore
Of San Francisco, with a motley throng
From every clime, she stood.
Death met her there,
And with cold grasp, his fatal welcome seal'd.
Faintly, her pale lips sigh'd, "The vale is dark,
But Jesus is beside me."
There she lay
Breathless, and wasted as a skeleton,
Yet, on her brow a smile.
Amid the pangs
With which that stricken husband bow'd him down,
Was no remorseful sorrow o'er his haste
To gather gold ? no painful imagery
Of a sweet cottage mid New England's hills
With her, who would have solace'd all his care,
Yet, neath his feet, now found a stranger's grave ?
TEACHINGS OF THE SEA.
Go, muse beside the Sea
Where white-winged navies ride,
While its highest pulse is beating free,
In strong mysterious tide :
Where deep in coral cells
The sunless forests weep,
And many a wandering child of earth
Hath laid him down to sleep.
Go forth upon the Sea
At the first break of morn,
And bless it with the words of prayer
Ere the young day is born.
POEMS FOR THE SEA.
And when the night grows dim,
Beguile the billows wild,
With the holy breath of thine evening hymn,
As the Mother lulls her child.
Go, listen to the Sea
When its thundering breakers roar,
And a meek hearted pupil be
Of their terrific lore.
Hark ! while the tempests lower,
To the lessons of the wave,
" One Voice alone, can curb our power,
One Hand alone, can save."
Go homeward from the Sea,
With a treasure in thy hand,
A stronger trust in Him who curbs
Its might, with reins of sand.
And mid earth's darkest snare,
Safe in thy bosom keep
The pearl-drops thou didst gather there,
The wisdom of the Deep.
Drink, friends ! the parting hour draws nigh,
Drink and forget your care,
The sultry summer-noon is high,
Drink, and your strength repair ;
The farmer with his toil-brown hands,
The soldier, tired of slaughter,
The camel mid the burning sands,
Drink deep the crystal water.
Our father Sun the example gives,
Our mother Earth also ;
He, jocund drinks, above the cloud,
She, thirsting, drinks below :
POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Drink friends, drink deep, before we part,
To loving wife, or daughter,
Or bright-eyed maid who rules your heart,
Drink deep, but only water.
HAIL, distant mountain ! rearing dim
O'er my loved land, thy lofty head,
How welcome is thy sight to him
So long by chart and compass led ;
Speck though thou art, and wrapped in haze,
Right pleasant 'tis on thee to gaze.
I've marked the lordly Teneriffe
Rise with rough forehead from the sea,
Gay songsters warbling round the cliff,
Rich strains of dulcet melody ;
Yet rather would my listening ear
The wild birds of my country hear.
66 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
I've sailed where Chimborazo towers
Amid old Andes' giant chain,
And where the bright Brazilian flowers
Pour living fragrance o'er the plain ;
But sweeter is the clustering vine
That doth my home's lov'd porch entwine.
I've roamed where Himmaleh aspires
With snowy crest o'er Indian vales,
And where perfumed from spicy groves
The freighted vessel fills her sails ;
But dearer far, yon mountain hoar,
Blest herald of my native shore.
THE PROPHET'S VISION.
HE look'd, and from the Temple gate
Where the bright orient glow'd,
Fast by the altar's hallow'd base
A stream like chrystal flow'd.
Bathing the feet, that limpid spring
With gentlest murmur crept,
Then deepening to a bolder flood
In fearless current swept.
Till, spreading out, a river broad
In strong, translucent tide,
58 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Those mighty waters, rushing, roIPd,
And foil'd the swimmer's pride.
Oh ! vision of the glorious fount
Which the meek Hand that fell
. Transpierc'd, on Calvary's fatal cross,
Brought forth a living well,
True symbol of the Gospel's course,
Didst thou that Prophet cheer,
Who erst on Chebar's lonely banks
: Shed the pale captive's tear ?
On that blest river's banks we dwell,
We drink its healing tide,
So, like the trees Ezekiel saw
His vision'd flood beside,
May we with fresh, unfading leaf
Each changeful season dare,
And still the fruits of faith renew
Till Heaven's pure clime we share.
MIDNIGHT THOUGHTS AT SEA.
LIKE a speck mid ocean's foam
Far from native land and home,
Midnight's cloud without a ray,
Darkening o'er our venturous way,
While the mountain wave is rolling,
And the ship's bell faintly tolling,
Helpless, Lord, and weak are we,
Let us turn for strength to Thee.
Blast and surge, contending hoarse,
Drive us on with headlong force,
And the ship, while tempests urge,
Groans and shivers at their scourge ;
POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Yet should wildest tempests swell,
Be thou near, and all is well ;
Saviour ! on this tossing Sea
Let us find repose in Thee.
Countless wrecks are spread below,
Where with daring keel we go ;
Gentle forms, and bosoms brave,
Ocean's floor, like jewels pave;
If with them in briny deep
It should be our lot to sleep,
Saviour ! from the whelming sea
Take our ransomed souls to Thee.
THE ANGEL OF THE WATERS.
FULL flow'd Bethesda's mantling pool
While forth from hall and bower,
Throng'd the wan victims of disease
To test its healing power,
Yet still, in calm repose it lay,
Though many a straining eye
For its first, infant ripple watch'd,
With pain's impatient sigh.
'Tis troubled ! Man of science say,
What moves its mystic tide ?
62 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Doth some strange planet from its throne
Attract yon heaving tide ?
Thou answerest not. The Christian sees
An Angel break its rest,
And bring the renovating flood,
O'er each sad sufferer's breast.
Oh ! if the fever of the heart,
Or palsy of the brain,
Should smite us, Father ! till we find
All earthly helpers vain,
Send forth thine Angel to the stream
That holy health can give ;
And bid him stir its blessed wave,
That we may bathe, and live.
And for our brethren of the Sea,
Who oft neglected pine,
Incite our sympathizing care
And wake a zeal divine,
THE ANGEL OF THE WATERS. 63
Till we, their penury enrich
With Heaven's eternal gem,
And what the Angel did for u?,
Delighted, do for them.
TO THE OCEAN
AH ! let me be thy pupil, mighty Deep !
Yet speak thou gently to me, for I fear
Thy voice of terror, nor desire to learn
Those lessons that do make the mariner
Shrink in his dreams.
My Mother Earth imparts
An easier lore. She talketh of her sons.
Her level'd mountains, and her corn-clad vales,
Town, tower, and temple, and triumphal arch,
All speak of man, and moulder while they speak.
But, of whose architecture, and design,
Tell thine eternal fountains, when they rise
To combat with the clouds, or when they fall '(
POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Of whose strong culture, speak thy sunless plants ?
And groves of coral, which no mortal guest
Hath visited, and liv'd ?
What sculptor wrought
These monuments of amber, and of pearl,
Where sleeps the sea-boy, in a pomp, that earth
Denies her buried kings ?
Who strangely stretch'd
A line of sand to curb thy monstrous tide,
And writing "Hitherto /" bade the mad surge
Respect the silent mandate ?
From whose loom
Came forth thy drapery, that ne'er waxeth old ?
No fallen leaf, or withering floweret marks
Thy sere decadence of autumnal time.
Who hath thy keys, Oh Deep ? Who taketh note
Of all thy wealth ? Who numbereth the host
That spread their tent amid thy cells, and sleep
Unwaken'd, unreturning ? Who doth scan
The secret annal, from Creation lock'd
In thy dark cabinet ?
Still, one reply !
Each breaking billow speaks that One Dread Name
TO THE OCEAN. 67
Which he, who deepest graves within his heart
Is wisest, though the world may call him fool.
Therefore, I bend to thy resounding tides,
And list the echo of thy countless waves,
A lone disciple, if perchance, mysoul
That poor shell-gatherer, on the shores of time,
May by thy lore instructed, learn of God.
The good ship on an iceberg struck
Where northern seas ran high,
And midnight in its ebon veil
Encircled earth and sky,
It struck ! what moment was there then
To waste in sorrow's strife,
When but one bold adventurous rush
Remained 'tween death and life!
70 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
The boat ! the boat ! it launches forth
Upon the mountain wave,
And shrieking throngs, with frantic haste
Essay its power to save ;
A fragile thing, it darkly strives
Amid the wrathful tide,
And deep, unutter'd pangs are theirs
Who leave that vessel's side.
A moonbeam pierced the heavy cloud !
Alas ! what sight was there !
Who stood on that forsaken deck
In calm and mute despair !
A fair, young maiden, just arous'd
From slumber soft and dear,
Stretched her white arms in wild amaze,
But found no helper near.
In sad adieu, her hand she wav'd
As if some friend she blest,
Then closer drew her snowy robe
Around her gentle breast,
THE BROTHER. 71
And upward, to the darkened heavens
Imploring glances cast,
While her rich curls profusely fell,
And floated on the blast.
Then sudden, in the thronging boat,
With agonizing scream,
Up sprang a noble, youthful form
As from a wildering dream,
Oh Sister ! Sister !" echoed loud
His shrill, unearthly cry,
" How dare I bear a brother's name
Yet leave thee thus to die ?"
He plunged, the crested wave he ruled,
He climbed the cloven deck,
And clasped her, as the thundering surge
Swept o'er the sinking wreck.
" Sweet sister, 'tis thy brother's voice,
His cheek is pressed to thine,
One cradle-bed was ours, my love,
Thy last, dread couch be mine.
72 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
The placid Moon with pitying eye,
Look'd lone and silent down,
Encircling them with holy light,
As with a martyr's crown,
Then shrank within a fleecy cloud,
Hoarse shrieked the impetuous main,
The deep sea closed, and where were they ?
Go ask the angel train !
Ah ! dauntless hearts that night were whelmed
Beneath the billowy high,
And temples white with honored years,
And woman's love-lit eye,
And clinging to its mother's breast,
In visions soft and deep,
Unwakened innocence went down
Amid the pearls to sleep.
The eye that saw that iceberg dread
Come drifting darkly down,
Destruction in its wintry breath
And on its monster crown ;
THE BROTHERS. 73
The ear that heard the deadly crash,
And thunder of the wave,
Can never lose that bitter trace
But in the oblivious grave.
The rescued man to listening groups
May tell the mournful tale,
And fond affection clasp his hand,
And childhood's cheek grow pale,
While the sad memory of their fate
Brother and sister dear,
Who with that buried ship went down
Shall wake the pitying tear.
RETURN TO NATIVE LAND.
LAND of birth, whose outline dear,
O'er the morning mist doth peer,.
Blessed hills whose wings outspread
Seemed to follow, as we fled,
When our parting glance was bent
On our country's battlement,
As with white sails set, we sped
Far away, o'er Ocean dread,
How our glad return ye greet
With a smile of welcome sweet !
He who fashioned earth and sea,
Made no hills more fair than ye.
Spires ! that break the rolling tide
Of man's worldliness and pride,
76 POEMS FOE THE SEA.
A 48 xCi^f
Asking with your Sabbath chime
For his consecrated time,
And with holy chant and prayer
Soothing all his woe and care,
Minster and cathedral high
Ne'er have shut ye from mine eye,
With your church-yard's grassy sod,
Where my musing childhood trod,
With your music on the glade,
Whichjthe roving Indian staid,
Who, of yore, at twilight dim,
Starting, caught the white man's hymn,
Hallowed spires ! that fleck the vale,
Heaven's ambassadors ! all hail !
Trees ! with arch of verdure bright,
Gleaming on the gazer's sight,
Have ye met the wintry blast
Bravely, since we saw ye last ?
Was your spring-tide wakening sweet,
With the grass flowers at your feet ?
Nest the birds with breast of gold
Mid your branches, as of old ?
RETURN TO NATIVE LAND.
Pours the thrush his carol fair ?
Glides the crimson oriole there ?
Have ye o'er their callow young
Still your kind protection flung ?
Blessings on ye ! Dews and rain
Fill with sap each healthful vein ;
Blessings on ye ! Wear serene
Nature's coronal of green,
And no woodman's savage blade
Dare your birthright to invade.
Roofs ! that in the vista rise,
Rude, or towering toward the skies,
Not by wealth or taste alone
Are your innate treasures shown,
Tho', perchance, your hearth-stones show
Signs of penury and 'woe,
Yet where'er with peaceful sigh
Sits the mother patiently,
Plying still her needle's care
For the child that slumbers there.
Wheresoe'er in cottage low
Rocks the cradle to and fro,
78 POEMS FOR THE SEA
There the eye of God doth turn,
There the lamp of soul doth burn.
Roofs ! that nurse this deathless light,
Precious are ye in His sight.
Throngs ! I see ye on the strand^
As the steamer nears the land,
Some might fortune's favourites seem,
Borne on pride or pleasure's stream ;
Others, marked by weary care,
Labor's rugged livery wear ;
Ye, who humbly dig the soil,
Brow and hand embrowned by toil,
If ye eat my country's bread,
If to work her weal ye tread,
Faithful even in lowest sphere,
Friends ye are, like kindred dear.
Since I last these scenes surveyed,
Who have in the tomb been laid ?
Who, the bitter tear have shed,
O'er the bosom of the dead ?
RETURN TO NATIVE LAND.
Who beneath the sable pall
Hath the poet's lyre let fall ?
Who that won a nation's trust
Sleep in silence and the dust?
While with faint and trembling fires
Fearfully my heart inquires,
Hears it not an answer swell
" God hath ordered ! all is well !"
Home ! my home ! though earth'and sky
Still conceal thee from mine eye,
Still though envious leagues remain
Ere thy vine-clad porch I gain,
Lightest leaf that wooed the gale,
Frailest plant with petals pale,
That beside thy threshold grew,
Ne'er have faded from my view ;
On my cheek, through cloud and storm,
Still thy parting kiss was warm ;
O'er each dream thine accents free
Stole like angel melody ;
Little footsteps, light as wings,
Hands that swept the tuneful strings,
80 POEMS OF THE SEA.
Lips that touched with filial flame
Syllabled a mother's name,
With their memories, warm and true,
KepMhee ever in my view ;
And when loftier mansions prest
Lures of pleasure on their guest,
Held thee, in thine armour bright
Nearest to me day and night.
Home ! by absence made more dear,
Heaven be praised that thou art near ;
Heaven be praised, that o'er the sea
Oncejmore, I return to thee !
What has been the wanderer's gain ?
Sight of foreign land and main ?
Sight of visioned forms that sweep
O'er the castle's ruined steep?
Sight of haunts to history dear ?
Sight of palace, king, or peer?
No ! the joy that lights the eye
When the native shore draws nigh.
RETURN TO NATIVE LAND.
In the heart a deeper sense
Of its humbling impotence,
On the lip a grateful strain,
This hath been the wanderer's gain.
THE GERANIUM PLANT AT SEA.
HOLD up thy head, thou timid voyager,
Vex'd by the storm-clouds, as they darkly roll,
And by the fiercely-tossing waves, that stir
Thy slender root, and try thy trembling soul,
Sa.d change from thy sweet garden, where the dew
Each morning glistened in thy grateful eye,
And where the roughest guest thy bosom knew,
Was earnest bee, or gadding butterfly,
It grieves me sore, to see thy leaflets fade,
Wearing the plague-spot of the sickening spray,
84 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
And know what trouble I for thee have made,
Yet still bear on, meek partner of my way,
For in thy life, I keep the golden chain,
Of home, and its delights, here on the lonely main.
FAREWELL TO FELLOW VOYAGERS.
WHEN shall we all meet again ?
When, shall we all meet again ?
We, who side by side, so long,
Listen'd to the billows' song,
Saw the Sun, enrob'd in gloom,
Plunging 'mid his ocean-tomb,
And, anon, its bursting floor
To the skies, their king restore ;
Days of hope, and nights of fear
Drew us, heart to heart more near,
And though now serenely fair
Gleams the haven of our prayer,
Still this parting hath its pain,
When, shall we all meet again ?
88 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
When the watch of time is sped,
When its beacon-fires are dead,
When our sails no more are furl'd
From the tempests of the world,
And no more, expanding wide,
Woo its gales of joy or pride,
When those ties the heart that sway,
Pass, like smoking flax away,
When the judgment-seat is set,
When the tribes of earth are met,
When those Books, whose awful scroll
Seal the sentence of the soul,
Ope, for endless bliss, or pain ;
^ Then, shall we all meet again.
THE MOTHER'S BLESSING, ON
HER SAILOR SON.
SON of my love, farewell ! farewell !
On the wide watery plain
I yield theeto a life of toil,
And Him, who rules the main.
And by those pure and speechless joys
When cradled on my breast,
I met thy waking infant smile,
Or 1 ul I'd thy woes to rest,
92 POEMS FOR THE 8EA.
By that deep thrill, when first thy lip
Its lisping utterance tried,
Or when the evening prayer it breathed
Thy little bed beside,
By the strong hope that never dies
Within a mother's heart,
I bless thee, wanderer of the deep,
While tears of anguish start.
What though no gems, or hoarded gold
To swell thy stores, I bring,
A Parent's blessing maketh strong,
Like guardian angel's wing.
Yes thou shalt feel when o'er the wave
Thy bark by storms is driven,
A Parent's blessing maketh glad
Next to the hope of Heaven.
Seek thou that hope to gird thy soul
Amid the tossing brine,
THE MOTHER'S BLESSING. 98
Thy Mother's prayer shall meet thee there,
And intercede with thine.
Oh ! seek a Saviour's pardoning grace,
That so, on land or sea,
In weal or woe, in life or death,
It may be well with thee.
THE SISTER'S FAREWELL.
BROTHER, good bye, your choice is made,
On the great Sea to dwell,
Where mighty ships majestic ride,
And foaming billows swell,
Good bye, beneath the spreading shade
Of our old favorite tree
In places where our childhood play'd
You will remember'd be.
The hearth-stone of our pleasant home
Must lone, and alter'd seem,
And I shall listen to your voice
Even in my sweetest dream.
96 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Yes, I shall miss the merry smile
That oft-times cheer'd my heart,
While far away, mid storms and surge
You bear a venturous part.
Brother, good bye ! yet ne'er forget
Whatever else betide,
That your good conduct is our wealth,
Your stainless name, our pride.
Be firm and honest, kind and true,
In sunshine, or in blast,
And make your duty, your delight,
Where'er your lot is cast.
Oh Brother dear ! Heaven be your guide
Upon the boistrous main,
And bring you to your sister's side,
In happiness again.
TOM Hardy was an honest lad,
His pleasant face made others glad,
Like suns that cloudless shine ;
Aloft he ran with right good will,
The topsail reefed with ready skill,
And snugly clewed the line.
Obedient still at every call,
And friendly to his messmates all,
For others' pain he felt ;
And ever neatest of the crew,
On Sundays, in his jacket blue,
At morning prayers he knelt.
98 POEMS FOR THE SKA.
No draught he took to cheer his mind,
The temperance pledge he early signed,
Nor from that promise roved ;
In every duty free from hlame,
Blow high, blow low, 'twas all the same,
Still happy, and beloved.
But once, upon a sultry shore
The burning fever smote him sore,
And when he shipped again,
Still to this sad disease a prey,
He wasted like the snows away,
And all our care was vain.
So with weak hand, he took the key
From out his chest and gave it me ;
" This to my mother take,
My little all, to her I leave,
And tell her not too much to grieve,
For her lost sea-boy's sake.
TOM HARDY. 99
Here is the Bible that she gave,
It was my compass o'er the wave
When prosperous skies were fair ;
And now, when darksome billows roll,
It is the anchor of my soul,
That drives away despair.
Cut from my temples, when I'm dead
One of these curling locks, he said,
And bear to Mary dear,
Tell her, 1 lov'd her till the last,
But ah ! my breath is failing fast,
The stroke of death is near.
Yet, now. my peace with God is made,
So, not of the last foe afraid,
I dare a watery grave,
For in yon skies, with pierced hand
I see the blest Redeemer stand
My parting soul to save/'
Bright rose the morn, but cold as lead
Lay poor Tom Hardy, pale and dead ;
100 POEMS FOE THE SEA.
Though yet a smile of joy
. Sate on his face, while sad and true
The roughest tar amid the crew
Mourned for the sailor-boy.
Now, sometimes while my watch I keep
At lonely midnight, on the deep,
When all is calm and clear,
I seem to hear his well known voice,
" a Oh, messmate, make your God your choice.
And to His haven steer."
THE HAPPY MARINER.
I AM a happy mariner,
My home is on the sea,
And Mother Gary's chickens,
They are the birds for me.
With swelling breeze, and favoring tide
How glorious is our lot,
And storms that strike a landsman pale,
Scarce stir our blood a jot,
102 THE HAPPY MARINER.
Even, if our sails like ribbons fly,
And the dead-lights long are in,
Hard up the helm ! and keep good heart !
Till skies are bright again.
The Ocean is my garden,
Our vessel ploughs the brine,
And the pleasant fruits that there I reap,]
Are my friends' as well as mine,
My friends, who lead such stupid lives
On land, among the fl >wers,
I'm sure my wages they must need
To cheer their gloomy hours.
My books, they are the fleecy waves,
And when the moonbeams shine,
Methinks, a pencil on their page
Doth write the Name Divine.
Yes, I'm a happy mariner,
If any do me wrong
THE HAPPY MARINER. 103
I'll wish for them a better mind,
And sing my merriest song.
Here, in our small forecastle
"Where there's scarcely room to spare
To stow away the chest and cot,
There's none for spite or care.
And so, all tight from stem to stern
I'd show an honest face,
And have my chart without a blot
Of hatred to my race.
And when my task seems hardest
And storms arouse in might
I'll throw my self-love overboard
To make the cargo light.
So, come, my hearties, one and all,
Good comrade?, true and dear,
Let's do what's right, both day and night,
And keep the log-book clear.
104 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
And ever ask for heavenly grace
At the last billows' shock,
To strike an anchor where 'twill hold
In the Everlasting Rock.
SAILOR'S HYMN, AT PARTING
WHEN the heart at parting bleeds,
As our native land recedes,
And the sternly tossing main
Takes us to its breast again,
Heavenly Father, soothe our woe,
Guide us, wheresoe'er we go.
When the lonely watch we keep,
Silent, on the midnight deep ;
While the boisterous surges hoarse.
Bear us darkly on our course ;
Eye, that nevor slumbers ! shed
Holy influence on our head.
106 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
When the Sabbath's peaceful ray
O'er the Ocean's breast doth play,
Though no throngs assemble there,
No sweet church-bell warns to prayer,
Spirit ! let thy presence be,
Sabbath to the unresting sea.
When the raging billows dark,
Thundering toss our threatened bark,
Thou, who on the whelming wave
Didst the meek disciple save
Thou, who hear'st us when we pray,
Jesus ! Saviour ! be our stay.
When in foreign lands we roam,
Far from kindred and from home,
Stranger eyes our conduct viewing,
Heathen bands our steps pursuing,
Let our conversation be
Fitting those that follow thee.
SAILOR'S HYMN. 107
Should pale death with arrow dread
Make the ocean caves our bed,
Though no eye of love might see
Where that shrouded grave shall be,
Thou ! who hear'st the surges roll,
Deign to save the suppliant soul.
I WEFT TO SEA.
I AM a sailor, rough and bold,
And yet my childhood fair,
Was nurtured in a pleasant home,
By parents' tender care ;
But at their hearth or by their side
I had no mind to be,
E'er sinoe I heard a story told
Of one who went to sea.
I sat in school, but book or rule
No wise instruction brought,
110 POEMS FOE THE SEA.
The snowy sail, and tossing flood
So fill'd my boyish thought,
And even at night, upon my bed,
Strange visions spoke to me, "V
And monsters play'd, and mermaids sung
Wild carols of the sea.
My father bade me learn a trade,
Or till the fallow land,
And told how healthful toil would heap
The silver in my hand ;
But at his (Jeath, alas ! I broke
From all allegiance free,
And though my widowed mother wept,
I left her for the sea.
I've sail'd where arctic oceans spread,
And icy mountains frown,
And the fierce fire of tropic suns
Hath turn'd my breast so brown,
I've roam'd among the Indian isles,
Where grows the spicy tree,
I WENT TO SEA. 1 1 1
And where the broad La Plata rolls
Rich tribute to the sea.
I've climbed the shroud when storms blew loud,
And every star was dead,
And winter in the midnight cloud
Had muffled up her head ^
I've seen our good ship go to wreck,
For such was heaven's decree,
And in an open boat have dar'd
The raging of the sea.
Yet still that Pilot, who the helm
Of this round world doth guide,
Preserved me, when the jaws of death
Were yawning dark and wide ;
Though when the blast was safely past,
Too oft in thoughtless glee
My hard, ungrateful heart forgot
The Ruler of the sea.
But oft my mother's image comes
So pitiful and meek,
112 POEMS FOR THE SEA
As when with streaming eyes she stood
Her last farewell to speak,
When from her pleasant cottage door
I made such haste to flee,
And in my wilful haste forsook
Her kindness for the sea.
That Book divine, which bids us shun
The dread, undying flame,
Doth strictly for our parent-guides,
A filial reverence claim ;
But mother, mother, kind and dear,
How have I honored thee ?
With many a pang thy love was paid,
Before I went to sea.
God give me grace to see thy face,
And soothe thy sorrowing care,
And freely with thy feeble age
My hard-earned pittance share,
And hear thee speak in loving tones
The words so sweet to me,
Thy blessing on the lost and found,
The son who went to sea.
THERE'S a cup that maketh sadness,
Though of mirth it seems the friend ;
To the brain it mounts in madness,
And in folly hath its end.
'Neath its sway the sailor reeleth,
Helpless, abject and forlorn ;
All his good resolves it stealeth,
Every duty bids him scorn ;
Gives the land-sharks power to fleece him,
All his hard-earned wages keep,
114 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
And at last, with scorn release him
From worse shipwreck than the deep.
To his household-hearth it creepeth,
And the fire in winter dies ;
There, a lonely woman weepeth,
While the famished infant cries.
Bloated form and brow it bringeth,
Limbs that totter to and fro,
And like fiery scorpion stingeth,
To an agony of woe.
Round the faltering feet it weaveth
Snares that blind the eyes in gloom,
Sin it sows, and shame receiveth,
Frowns of hate, and deeds of doom.
Bitter words of strife it teacheth,
Striketh kind affections dead ;
Even beyond the grave it reacheth,
To the judgment-bar of dread.
Have we any room to doubt it,
When its evil fruits we see ?
Messmates ! let us do without it,
Break its thraldom and be free.
Hath not life enough of sorrow,
Sickness, anguish, and decay,
That we needs must madly borrow
Thorns to plant its shortening way ?
There's a draught that heaven distilleth,
Pure as crystal from the skies,
Freely, whosoever willeth,
May partake it, and be wise.
THE SAILOR'S SICK CHILD
COMB, Mother, sit beside my bed,
And of my father tell,
On the deep ocean far away,
Where angry waters swell.
I wish that he were with me now,
While sick and faint I lie,
'T were good to hear his loving voice,
And bless him ere I die.
118 POEMS FOE THE SEA.
Mother, it troubles me to see
Those stranger-ladies come,
And urge you so to leave my side,
And work for them, at home ;
Methinks they coldly gaze on me,
And shake their heads and say,
How feeble and how pale I grow,
And waste, and waste away.
^ _J .
And oh, it grieves my heart to think,
From morn to evening shade,
That you so oft for them must toil,
And have from me no aid ;
And then, with tender words, you say,
You wish it were not so,
But I should have no food or fire,
Unless you sometimes go.
When slow the sunset fades away,
And twilight mists appear,
The sound of your returning step
Is music to my ear ;
THE SICK CHILD. 119
How happy are those children dear,
Who, on their couch of pain,
Behold a mother always near,
But still, I'll not complain.
There's nought on earth I love so much
As your kind face to see,
And now, indeed, the time is short
We can together be ;
Still draw me closer to your side,
And to your bosom fold,
For then my cough I do not heed,
Nor feel the winter's cold.
Yet when the storm is loud and wild,
I cover up my head,
And pray Almighty God to save
My father from the dead ;
So, in his lonely midnight watch
Upon the tossing sea,
Perhaps beneath the solemn stars
He will remember me.
120 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
I know I cannot see him more,
I feel it must be so,
But he can find my little grave,
Where early spring flowers blow ;
And you will comfort all his cares,
When I in heaven shall be ;
But mother, dearest ! when I die,
Oh ! be alone with me.
A BIBLE STORY.
THEY told a story to me, when a child,
Ere I could read, that fill'd my heart with awe,
And wondering love, a story of the Sea,
And Him who walked upon it.
Settled on Galilee, and angry winds
Lash'd the rebellious waves. Yet o'er their heads
Toss'd high in maddening fury, Jesus came,
As calm, as tho' the smooth, green earth he trod.
A storm-driven ship was there, and the strain'd eyes
Of the vex'd mariners, were wildly fix'd
On him astonish'd, for they did not know
132 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
The Master, in that hour. Then, his blest voice
Assur'd their fainting hearts, and full of joy,
Peter, with eager footstep, fain would go
To meet his Lord.
The loud and boisterous blast
Swept through his locks, and the cold surge rose high
Around his shuddering breast, and his foot fail'd
Amid the awful tides.
* " Oh save !" he cried,
"Save ! or I perish !'*
Jesus stretch'd his hand
And snatch'd him from the waves. Then on the deck
Amid the glad disciples, safe he stood,
Fill'd with adoring gratitude, while all
Gave praise and glory to the Son of God.
So Peter learn'd it was not given to man
To plant his foot upon the stormy main
And rule its wrath, for in its thundering might
It sweeps him like a noteless weed away.
This Bible story was most sweet to me,
As on my childish ear, from lips revered,
At eventide it fell. And much I mused
A BIBLE STORY. 123
On that Redeemer's power, who made the sea
A peaceful pavement for his feet divine.
And afterwards, on Ocean's awful breast,
When reef, and tempest threatened, or the power
Of the dread iceberg chill'd our veins with awe,
Methought I saw Him walking on the Sea
With hand outstretch'd, the trusting soul to save,
And so, was comforted.
THOUGHTS IN SICKNESS.
OH THOU, whose healing touch
So oft the sick did save,
When thou didst dwell with men below,
And meet affliction's wave,
In weakness and in woe,
I bow my drooping head,
Give thou thy pitying angels charge
To watch my lonely bed.
Far from a mother's love,
Far from a sister's care
126 THOUGHTS IN SICKNESS.
I lift my waiting eyes to Thee,
Regard my lonely prayer.
Be near me, while the hours
Oppress'd with suffering, roll,
And make each pain a teacher, Lord,
To my repentant soul.
Should vigorous health once more
Reanimate my frame,
Inspire me with a purer zeal
To glorify Thy name,
To keep thy just commands,
My humbled heart incline,
And grant that both in life and death
Thy holy will be mine.
[The following incident took place during the
great conflagration in the city of New York, on the
cold night of December 16th, 1836.]
AH ! fearful was the sight !
The fire devouring spread
From roof to roof, from street to street,
And on their treasures fed ;
Hark ! to that Mother's cry '
Amid the tumult wild,
As rushing toward her flame- wrapped home,
She shrieks, " My child ! my child !"
128 THE HERO.
A wanderer from the wave
A sailor marked her woe,
And in his feeling bosom woke
The sympathetic glow,
Quick up the cleaving stairs,
With daring step he flew,
Though sable clouds of stifling smoke
Concealed him from the view ;
Loud was the admiring voice,
Yet mix'd with shuddering fear,
For him, who nobly risk'd his life,
Mov'd by a stranger's tear ;
The blazing timbers fell
Across his dangerous road,
And the far chamber where he groped,
Like reeking oven glow'd.
How high the exulting shout !
When from that mass of flame,
Unhurt, unshrinking, undismayed,
The brave deliverer came,
THE HERO. 129
While in his victor arms
A smiling infant lay,
Pleased with the flash that round his bed
Had wound its glittering ray.
The mother's speechless tears
Forth like a torrent sped,
Yet ere the throng could learn his name
That generous hero fled ;
Not for the praise of man
He wrought this deed of love,
But, on a bright unfading page,
'Tis registered above.
RULER of the sea, and land,
Who the surging main doth hold
In the hollow of Thy hand,
By thy slightest word controlled ;
Thou the mighty winds hast curb'd
Warring in their midnight path,
And our reeling vessel sav'd
From the madness of their wrath ;
Thou from shipwreck and despair
Didst our souls in safety set,
132 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
When all human help was vain,
Can we e'er such love forget ?
E'er that tender mercy grieve
That upheld us when we prayed,
Or the sacred promise break
That in danger's hour we made ?
No. Upon our spirits seal
This memorial of Thy praise,
And the grateful love we feel
Make as lasting as our days.
BURIAL AT SEA
DOWN to the unfathom'd realms,
.Where hidden fountains flow,
Alone, his silent couch to find,
The child of earth must go.
For him no funeral bell
May weeping friends convene,
Nor dust, to kindred dust be laid
Within the church-yard green.
Farewell ! one heavy plunge !
One cleft ,n ocean's floor !
134 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
And then the deaf and sullen surge
Sweeps on, and all is o'er.
We give thee earnest charge,
Oh sad, and solemn deep,
Safe in thy cold and strong embrace
This precious form to keep ;
Till at the trumpet's sound,
Which fills the world with dread,
Thy caverns, and the graves of earth
Shall render up their dead :
Then clothed in glorious light,
May this our friend arise,
And change thy dark, imprisoning cell,
For freedom in the skies.
HOPE IN GOD.
MY hope is in the living God !
Oh may His shield be spread
In every time of need, around
My unprotected head.
His are the Ocean and the Land,
And man's frail, dying race,
And those who walk in pride, His Hand
Is able to abase.
But I have nought of which to boast,
No refuge where to flee,
An atom mid the mighty main ;
Have mercy, Lord, on me.
136 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
When o'er temptation's boiling gulf,
My dangerous course doth lie,
May heavenly wisdom be my guide
And light the darkened sky ;
And if, o'er hidden reefs we steer,
When all around is fair,
Nor chart nor compass give a sign
Of evil lurking there,
Deign Thou, the erring heart to warn
That hath its trust in Thee,
And as thy goodness hath no bound,
Have mercy, Lord on me.
THANKSGIVING DAY AT SEA.
SONS of the boisterous sea,
With joyous hearts we share
The blessings of this happy land,
Which heaven hath made its care ;
Whose glorious flag is borne
High o'er the ocean's breast,
Whose strong-winged eagle proudly makes
Among the stars his nest.
Not with the cup that drains
Our best_resolves away,
138 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
And leaves its poison in our veins,
We keep the feast this day,
But from the fearful cloud
Of dark intemperance free,
We thank the Giver of our joys,
The God of earth and sea ;
And if in faithful love
His precepts we obey,
The whole of life's short voyage may prove
Like this Thanksgiving day.
THE WHALER'S SONG.
THERE she lies ! There she lies !
A mountain on old Ocean's breast.
" Where away ?" Just three points west,
Toward yon waves that boldly rise.
Head the vessel ! Trim the sail !
We must chase that mighty whale.
There she blows ! There she blows !
Man the boats ! for nothing stay !
Such a prize we cannot lose,
Stretch to your oars ! away ! away 1
140 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Grapple closer, careful steer,
Launch the harpoon, laugh at fear,
Plunge it deep, the barbed spear,
Strike the lance, in swift career,
Give her line ! Give her line !
Down she goes through the foaming brine,
Sponge the side, where the flying coil
Mark's the monster's speed and toil ;
But though she dive to the deepest ground,
Where the plummet fails to sound,
'Tis all in vain ! All in vain !
She hath that within her side,
Will surely bring her up again.
Spout ! Spout ! Spout !
The waves are maddening all about,
Every billow on its head
Strangely wears a crest of red ;
How she lashes the seething main,
In her flurry and her pain ;
THE WHALER'S SONG. 141
Take good heed, my hearts of oak,
Lest her terrible flukes, as she tortured lies,
Wildly hurl us to the skies :
But see ! the pride of her strength is broke,
Heavy she lies, as a mass of lead,
The mighty monarch-whale is dead !
Row ! Row ! Row !
In our ship she must go,
Changed by fire to a liquid stream,
Over the broad Pacific's swell,
Round Cape Horn, where the tempests dwell,
Many a night and many a day,
Home with us, she must sail away,
Till we joyful hail once more,
Old Nantucket's treeless shore.
There, when the fair with brilliant eyes
In evening circles sit,
While the shining needle plies
Or the merry laugh replies
To pleasant wit,
POEMS FOR THE SEA.
Let them think, if they will,
Of the hardy tar
On seas afar,
Who risks his life, their lamps to fill.
WHAT COULD THEY DO WITHOUT US ?
THEY say that we, who rule the sea,
Or chase the whales and spear them,
Spin out our yarns so coarse and long
They can't endure to hear them,
And when we take a turn on shore,
They laugh, we understand,
To see us rolling through the streets
Like porpoise on the land.
144 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
But Jack might louder laugh, we guess,
Except he's too polite,
To see those lubbers climb the shrouds
On a dark and stormy night,
Or try with gloved and lily hands
To furl the stiffened sails,
When through a mist of sleet and snow
Old Boreas blows his gales.
How would the world's hard work go on,
If we who plough the main,
Should hold umbrellas o'er our heads
At every squall of rain ?
Or slink away when Neptune frowns,
And breakers roar in scorn,
Or fear to bide the buffet rude
From the fist of old Cape Horn.
So, do us justice, landsmen all,
Even though you seem to flout us,
WHAT CAN THEY DO WITHOUT US ? 145
For if our lingo sounds so strange,
What could you do without us ?
The merchant in his warehouse proud
Whould wait awhile we trow,
Before to sell his cotton bales
He'd rig a boat and row,
And how would all his ladies fret,
For eastern toys and teas,
Unless our sails we sharply set
Across the Indian seas ?
The farmer toils to plant his corn,
And then to hill and hoe it,
An honest-hearted man is he,
His sun-burnt features show it,
Yet when he takes his grain to town,
With loads of golden cheese,
And buys those notions from the shops
His womankind that please,
146 POEMS FOR THE SBA.
Do any of them ever think
What blasts the seamen bore,
To bring their mace and nutmegs home
From a far tropic shore ?
Blow high, blow low, 'tis all the same,
Hot suns or wintry weather,
For with our sailor's knot we bind
Earth's utmost coasts together :
Then do us justice, landsmen dear,
For where's the need to doubt us ?
Since in your inmost hearts you know
You cannot do without us.
TO A RETIRED SEAMAN.
How pleasant, when the toils of life,
And ruder cares have pass'd away,
To turn from troubled floods and gain
The shelter of some quiet bay,
And there refit the shatter'd sails
That time and chance have sorely tried,
And meditate, as peaceful years
Glide on, to meet the eternal tide.
Tis thus with thee, whose course hath been
O'er many a sea and many a shore,
Where battle thunders shook the main
Or winds and waves in conflict roar.
148 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
But now, thy cheerful hearth beside
Thy happier lot it is to see
Domestic comfort flourish fair,
And yield its cherish'd fruits to thee.
Forget not, on thy varied chart
To write His name, who rules thy days,
And from remember'd woes to rear
A lasting monument of praise.
Son of the Sea ! thy glorious choice
Is by thy Saviour's Cross to cling,
So mayst thou in his glory share,
And mid yon skies, no cloud that wear,
The anthem of salvation sing.
Ho ! landsmen, in your sheltered homes,
Of hardship what know ye,
Like us, who dwell amid the blast,
And ride the wrathful sea ?
The green trees shade you from the sun,
You watch the harvests grow,
And taste the fragrance of the gale,
When the first roses blow.
You slumber long on beds of down,
In curtained chambers warm,
LulPd only to a deeper dream
By the descending storm :
150 POEMS FOR THE SEA.
While climbing high mid slippery shrouds
Our midnight path we take,
When the strongest mast like a reed is bow'd,
And the roughest timbers quake.
But do ye ever know the joy
That cheers our ocean-strife,
When o'er the waves, our gallant bark
Glides like a thing of life ?
When gaily toward the wish'd-for port
With favoring wind we stand,
Or first the misty hills descry
Of our own native land ?
Say you there's peril on the deep ?
Well, so there is on land,
And often when you idly sleep,
Some tempter's close at hand.
Yet there's a Guiding Power aloft,
A pole-star mid the spheres,
An Ararat to save the ark
That o'er the deluge steers.
THE HAPPY HOME
THOUGHTS of my happy home
Are pleasant on the Sea,
For there, my best beloved one
I know, remembers me,
And teaches with a glowing cheek
Our babe, his father's name to speak.
When on their love I muse,
I cannot feel alone,
POEMS FOR THE SEA.
It seems as though a diamond shield
Was o'er my bosom thrown,
The eherish'd forms of wife and child
Are sunbeams, though the storm is wild.
And when I pace the deck,
My midnight watch to keep,
I ask the never slumbering Eye
To guard their quiet sleep ;
For them I toil, for them I save,
And gladly dare the mountain wave.
Thoughts of my humble home
My hardest labours cheer,
And if it were a palace proud
It would not be as dear,
For now its little window seems
The light-house of my brightest dreams.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY
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JUL 31 1981
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