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And ever the fitful gusts between
It was the sound of the trampling surf
The breakers were right beneath her bows,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
But the cruel rocks they gored her side
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach
To see the form of a maiden fair
Lashed close to a drifting mast.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
Romance Christ save us all from a death like this
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
A Greyport Legend
They ran through the streets of the seaport town;
The cold sea-fog that comes whitening down
Ho, Starbuck, and Pinckney, and Tenterden,
Run for your shallops, gather your men, Scatter your boats on the lower bay!"
Good cause for fear! In the thick midday
All adrift in the lower bay!
Said a hard-faced skipper, "God help us all!
Whether in sea or heaven she bide!"
And she lifted a quavering voice and high, Wild and strange as a sea-bird's cry, Till they shuddered and wondered at her side.
The fog drove down on each laboring crew,
Veiled each from each and the sky and shore;
And they felt the breath of the downs
O'er leagues of clover and cold gray stone, But not from the lips that had gone before.
They came no more. But they tell the tale
That, when fogs are thick on the harbor reef, The mackerel-fishers shorten sail;
For the signal they know will bring relief,
It is but a foolish shipman's tale,
But still, when the mists of doubt prevail,
We hear from the misty troubled shore The voice of the children gone before, Drawing the soul to its anchorage!
Romance and Reality
The Glove and the Lions
King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
The nobles filled the benches, with the ladies in their pride,
And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed :
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
Valour and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
Ramp'd and roar'd the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another,
Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
The bloody foam above the bars came whisking
De Lorge's love o’erheard the king,—a beauteous Romance
With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which
always seem'd the same:
She thought, "The Count, my lover, is brave as brave can be;
He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
I'll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine."
She dropp'd her glove, to prove his love, then look'd at him and smiled;
He bowed, and in a moment leapt among the lions wild:
His leap was quick, return was quick, he has regain'd his place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"Well done!" cried Francis, "bravely done!" and he rose from where he sat:
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that."