Imágenes de páginas

hand, strong, and skilful exertion, is drawn over the rail and secured. Sometimes, in the vicinity of the Salvages, a halibut takes a hook baited for cod, and is caught. Then follow the struggle of this immense flat fish to escape, and the counter-effort of vigorous arms to haul the fish to the sea's surface and the vessel's side. Presently the captive rises to sight and within reach; and, gaff and tackle being promptly used, is soon on deck.



Half-day or all-day voyaging in pleasure-boats and yachts is one of the delightful diversions of the summer sojourn at Pigeon Cove. One enjoyable sail is around Andrews' Point into Ipswich Bay, passing the indented north shore to Annisquam and Gloucester, by the way of Squam River. Beating into the bay, and then into the river, against the wind, and returning with sails filled before the wind, illustrate common alternations in human life. Another sail is across the bay to the mouth of Ipswich River and Grape Island, or into the Merrimack up to the fair city of Newburyport.


Another is a sail of twenty-one miles to the Isles of Shoals. This voyage, if accomplished in a single day, affords but a brief time for a survey of the cluster of islands, now greatened and glorified by the pen of one who in childhood became familiar with their bold hard features, and also with their warmth and beauty in hollows and nooks; their delicate though unpretentious tokens of tenderness toward hearts needing the sunshine and blessing of smiles, in fragrant shrubs and bright-hued flowers, in mosses of colors unattained by the painter's art, in violets and pimpernels of blue and scarlet sheen unknown to their genera away from the pure atmosphere of the enfolding sea. How much of wonder and enchantment one intelligent and loving mind discerns, where whole generations have overpassed, seeing only barrenness and desolation ! How to the vision unveiled uprise and glisten the dew-besprinkled grass-blades and gold-bedecked mullein-stalks, amid the waste of rough, unshapely rocks and moss-bound mould! And to the same vision how through the darkness and terror of the storm come revealings foretelling the advent of a fair, sweet day, when the whole sky shall be bright; and the earth and the sea, no longer in shadow, shall rejoice for the end of doubt, the

establishment of reverent confidence and faith in the Father! Of course Mrs. Thaxter's “ Wreck of the Pocahontas,” which appeared in the “ Atlantic Monthly,” April, 1868, should follow these reflections: —

“I lit the lamps in the lighthouse tower,

For the sun dropped down and the day was dead;
They shone like a glorious clustered flower,

Ten golden and five red.
Looking across, where the line of coast

Stretched darkly, shrinking away from the sea,
The lights sprang out at its edge, — almost

They seemed to answer me !

O warning lights, burn bright and clear,

Hither the storm comes ! Leagues away
It moans and thunders low and drear, -

Burn till the break of day!
Good night! I called to the gulls that sailed
· Slow past me through the evening sky;
And my comrades, answering shrilly, hailed

Me back with boding cry.

A mournful breeze began to blow,

Weird music it drew through the iron bars,
The sullen billows boiled below,

And dimly peered the stars ;
The sails that flecked the ocean floor

From east to west leaned low and fled;
They knew what came in the distant roar

That filled the air with dread !

Flung by the fitful gust, there beat

Against the window a dash of rain:
Steady as tramp of marching feet

Strode on the hurricane.

It smote the waves for a moment still,

Level and deadly white for fear;
The bare rock shuddered, — an awful thrill

Shook even my tower of cheer.

Like all the demons loosed at last,

Whistling and shrieking, wild and wide, The mad wind raged, and strong and fast

Rolled in the rising tide.

And soon in ponderous showers the spray,

Struck from the granite, reared and sprung, And clutched at tower and cottage gray,

Where overwhelmed they clung

Half drowning to the naked rock;

But still burned on the faithful light, Nor faltered at the tempest's shock,

Through all the fearful night.

Was it in vain? That knew not we.

We seemed in that confusion vast, Of rushing wind and roaring sea,

One point whereon was cast

The whole Atlantic's weight of brine.

Heaven help the ship should drift our way! No matter how the light might shine

Far on into the day.

When morning dawned, above the din

Of gale and breaker boomed a gun! Another! We, who sat within,

Answered with cries each one.

Into each other's eyes with fear

We looked through helpless tears, as still One after one, near and more near,

The signals pealed, until

The thick storm seemed to break apart,

To show us, staggering to her grave, The fated brig. We had no heart

To look, for naught could save.

One glimpse of black hull heaving slow,

Then closed the mists o'er canvas torn And tangled ropes, swept to and fro

From masts that raked forlorn.

Weeks after, yet ringed round with spray,

Our island lay, and none might land; Though blue the waters of the bay

Stretched calm on either hand.

And when at last from the distant shore

A little boat stole out, to reach Our loneliness, and bring once more

Fresh human thought and speech,

We told our tale, and the boatmen cried,

''Twas the Pocahontas, – all were lost! For miles along the coast the tide

Her shattered timbers tost.'

Then I looked the whole horizon round,

So beautiful the ocean spread About us, o'er those sailors drowned !

*Father in heaven,' I said,

A child's grief struggling in my breast,

‘Do purposeless thy creatures meet Such bitter death? How was it best

These hearts should cease to beat ?

O wherefore! Are we naught to Thee?

Like senseless weeds that rise and fall Upon thine awful sea, are we

No more then, after all ?'

« AnteriorContinuar »