Page images



Into the sunshine,

Full of the light, Leaping and flashing

From morn till night;

Into the moonlight,

Whiter than snow, Waving so flower-like

When the winds blow;

Into the starliglit

Rushing in spray, Happy at midnight,

Happy by day;

Ever in motion,

Blithesome and cheery, Still climbing heavenward,

Never aweary;

Glad of all weathers,

Still seeming best, Upward or downward,

Motion thy rest;

Full of a nature

Nothing can tame, Changed every moment,

Ever the same;

Ceaseless aspiring,

Ceaseless content, Darkness or sunshine

Thy element;

Glorious fountain,

Let my heart be Fresh, changeful, constant,

Upward, like thee!



I chatter over stony ways,

In little sharps and trebles, I bubble into eddying bays,

I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret.

By many a field and fallow, And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow

To join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go,

But I go on forever.

I wind about, and in and out,

With here a blossom sailing, And here and there a lusty trout,

And here and there a grayling.

And here and there a foamy flake

Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak

Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow

To join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go,

But I go on forever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,

I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots

That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,

Among my skimming swallows; I make the netted sunbeams dance

Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars

In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;

I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow

To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,

But I go on forever.



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,

His pipe was 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.

“ 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 Northeast;
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 frightened steed,

Then leaped her cable's length.

“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 gleamning snow

On his fixed and glassy eyes.

Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed

That savéd she might be; And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,

On the Lake of Galilee.

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 sides

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 strove and sank,

Ho! ho! the breakers roared !

At daybreak, 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.

Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,

In the midnight and the suiow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,

On the reef of Norman's Woe!



Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:

And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day

The solitary child.

« PreviousContinue »