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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,
And the night-wind, bleak and wild, As they beat at the crazy casement,
Tell to that little child ?
And why do the roaring ocean,
And the night-wind, wild and bleak, As they beat at the heart of the mother,
Drive the color from her cheek?
SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT.1
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.
SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT.
His sails of white sea-mist
Dripped with silver rain ; But where he passed there were cast
Leaden shadows o'er the main.
Eastward from Campobello
Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed ; Three days or more seaward he bore,
Then, alas ! the land-wind failed.
Alas! the land-wind failed,
And ice-cold grew the night; And never more, on sea or shore,
Should Sir Humphrey see the light.
He sat upon the deck,
The Book was in his hand ; “Do not fear! Heaven is as near,"
He said, “ by water as by land !”
In the first watch of the night,
Without a signal's sound, Out of the sea, mysteriously,
The fleet of Death rose all around.
The moon and the evening star
Were hanging in the shrouds ; Every mast, as it passed,
Seemed to rake the passing clouds.
They grappled with their prize,
At midnight black and cold !
Southward through day and dark,
They drift in close embrace,
Yet there seems no change of place.
Southward, for ever southward,
They drift through dark and day;
Sinking, vanish all away.
(1.) “When the wind abated and the vessels were near enough, the Admiral was seen constantly sitting in the stern, with a book in his hand. On the 9th of September he was seen for the last time, and was heard by the people of the Hind to say, “We are as near heaven by sea as by land.' In the following night, the lights of the ship suddenly disappeared. The people in the other vessel kept a good look-out for him during the remainder of the voyage. On the 22d of September they arrived, through much tempest and peril, at Falmouth. But nothing more was seen or heard of the Admiral.” BELKNAP's American Biography, i. 203.
The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
And on its outer point, some miles away, The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.
Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base, A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
In the white lip and tremor of the face.