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The twilight is sad and cloudy,
And like the wings of sea-birds
But in the fisherman's cottage
And a little face at the window
Close, close it is pressed to the window,
As if those childish eyes
To see some form arise.
And a woman's waving shadow
Is passing to and fro, Now rising to the ceiling.
Now bowing and bending low.
What tale do the roaring ocean,
As they beat at the crazy casement,
And why do the roaring ocean,
As they beat at the heart of the mother,
SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT.
Southward with fleet of ice
Sailed the corsair Death; Wild and fast blew the blast,
And the east-wind was his breath.
His lordly ships of ice
Glistened in the sun;
Flashing crystal streamlets run.
His sails of white sea-mist
Dripped with silver rain;
Leaden shadows o'er the main.
Eastward from Campobello
Three days or more seaward he bore,
Alas! the land-wind failed,
And never more, on sea or shore,
He sat upon the deck.
"Do not fear! Heaven is as near,"
In the first watch of the night,
Without a signal's sound,
The fleet of Death rose all around.
The moon and the evening star
Every mast, as it passed,
They grappled with their prize,
As of a rock was the shock;
Southward through day and dark
With mist and rain, to the Spanish Main;
Southward, for ever southward,
And like a dream, in the Gulf-stream
The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
Even at this distance I can see the tides,
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light
Not one alone; from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the oceair s verge, Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.
Like the great giant Christopher it stands
Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave, Wading far out among the rocks and sands,
The night-o'ertaken mariner to save.
And the great ships sail outward and return,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn,
They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze, And eager faces, as the light unveils,
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.
The mariner remembers when a child,
And when, returning from adventures wild,
Steadfast, serene, immoveable, the same
Burns on for evermore that quenchless flame,
It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,
The startled waves leap over it; the storm
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain, And steadily against its solid form
Press the great shoulders of the hurricane.
The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
Of wings and winds and solitary cries, Blinded and maddened by the lignt within,
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.
A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,
It does not near the cry, nor heed the shock,
"Sail on!" it says, "sail on, ye stately ships!
And with your floating bridge the ocean span; Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!"
THE FIRE OP DRIFT-WOOD.
We sat within the farm-house old,
Gave to the sea-breeze. damp and cold,
Not far away we saw the port,—
The strange, old-fashioned, silent town,— The light-house,—the dismantled fort,—
The wooden houses, quaint and brown.
We sat and talked until the night,
Our faces faded from the sight,
We spake of many a vanished scene,
Of what had been, and might have been.
And all that fills the hearts of friends,
Their lives thenceforth have separate ends,
The first slight swerving of the heart,
And leave it still unsaid in part,
The very tones in which we spake
Had something strange, I could but mark; The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.
Oft died the words upon our lips,
Euilt of the -wreck of stranded ships,
And, as their splendour flashed and failed,
We thought of wrecks upon the main,— Of ships dismasted, that were hailed
And sent no answer back again.
The windows, rattling in their frames,—
The ocean, roaring up the beach,— The gusty blast,—the bickering flames,—
All mingled vaguely in our speech;
Until they made themselves a part
Of fancies floating through the brain,— The long-lost ventures of the heart.,
That send no answers back again.
O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned!
They were indeed too much akin,
The thoughts that burned and glowed within.
BY THE FIRESIDE.
There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
But has one vacant chair!
The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead;
Will not be comforted!
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise,
Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapours;
Amid these earthly damps,
May be heaven's distant lamps.