Images de page


The mid-day watch was set, beneath the blaze of light, When there came a cry from the tall mast-head, “A sail! a sail, in sight!"

And o'er the far hori'zon a snowy speck appeared,

And every eye was strained to watch the vessel as she neared.


There was no breath of air, yet she bounded on her way,
And the dancing waves around her prow were flashing into spray.
She answered not their hail, alongside as she passed:
There were none who trod her spacious deck; not a seaman on
the mast;


No hand to guide her helm: yet on she held her course; She swept along that waveless sea, as with a tempest's fōrce : A silence, as of death, was o'er that vessel spread

She seemed a thing of another world, the world where dwell the dead.


She passed away from sight, the deadly calm was o'er,

And the spell-bound ship pursued her course before the breeze once more;

And clouds across the sky obscured the noonday sun,

And the winds arose at the tempest's call, before the day was done. 6.

Midnight-and still the storm raged wrathfully and loud,
And deep in the trough of the heaving sea labored that vessel

proud :

There was darkness all around, save where lightning flashes keen Played on the crests of the broken waves, and lit the depths between.


Around her and below, the waste of waters roared,

And answered the crash of the falling masts as they cast them overboard.

At every billow's shock her quivering timbers strain;

And as she rose on a crested wave, that strange ship passed again.


And o'er that stormy sea she flew before the gale,

Yet she had not struck her lightest spar, nor furled her loftiest sail. Another blinding flash, and nearer yet she seemed,

And a pale blue light along her sails and o'er her rigging gleamed.


But it showed no seaman's form, no hand her course to guide; And to their signals of distress the winds alone replied.

The Phantom Ship passed on, driven o'er her pathless way, But helplessly the sinking wreck amid the breakers lay.


The angry tempèst ceased, the winds were hushed to sleep,
And calm and bright the sun again shōne out upon the deep.
But that gallant ship no more shall roam the ocean free ;
She has reached her final haven, beneath the dark blue sea.


And many a hardy seaman, who fears nor storm nor fight,
Yet trembles when the Phantom Ship drives past his watch at


For it augurs death and danger: it bodes a watery grave, With sea-weeds for his pillow-for his shroud, the wandering wave.




MARINER sat in the shrouds one night,
The wind was piping free;

Now bright, now dimmed was the moonlight pale,
And the phosphor gleamed in the wake of the whale,
As it floundered in the sea;

The scud was flying athwart the sky,

The gathering winds went whistling by,

And the wave, as it towered then fell in spray,
Looked an emerald wall in the moonlight ray.

2. The mariner swayed and rocked on the mast,
But the tumult pleased him well:
Down the yawning wave his eye he cast,
And the monsters watched, as they hurried past,
Or lightly rose and fell,-

For their broad, damp fins were under the tide,
And they lashed, as they passed, the vessel's side,
And their filmy eyes, all huge and grim,
Glared fiercely up, and they glared at him.

3. Now freshens the gale, and the brave ship goes Like an uncurbed steed ǎlong; A sheet of flame is the spray she throws,

As her gallant prow the water plows;
But the ship is fleet and strong;

The topsails are reefed, and the sails are furled,
And onward she sweeps o'er the watery world,
And dippeth her spars in the surging flood;
But there cometh no chill to the mariner's blood.

4. Wildly she rocks, but he swingèth at ease, And holds him by the shroud;

And, as she careens to the crowding breeze,
The gaping deep the mariner sees,
And the surging heareth loud.
Was that a face, looking up at him
With its pallid cheek, and its cold eyes dim ?
Did it beckon him down? Did it call his name?
Now rollèth the ship the way whence it came.

5. The mariner looked, and he saw, with dread,
A face he knew too well;

And the cold eyes glared, the eyes of the dead,
And its long hair out on the waves was spread-
Was there a tale to tell?

The stout ship rocked with a reeling speed—
And the mariner groaned, as well he need-
For ever down, as she plunged on her side,
The dead face gleamed from the briny tide.

6. Bethink thee, mariner, well of the past:
A voice calls loud for thee;
There's a stifled prayer, the first, the last;
The plunging ship on her beam is cast-
Oh, where shall thy burial be?

Bethink thee of oaths, that were lightly spoken;
Bethink thee of vows, that were lightly broken ;

Bethink thee of all that is dear to thee,
For thou art ǎlōne on the raging sea.

7. Alone in the dark, alone on the wave
To buffet the storm alone;

To struggle aghast at thy watery grave,

To struggle and feel there is none to save!
God shield thee, helpless one!

The stout limbs yield, for their strength is past;
The trembling hands on the deep are cast;
The white brow gleams a moment mōre,
Then slowly sinks-the struggle is o'er.

8. Down, down, where the storm is hushed to sleep,
Where the sea its dirge shall swell;
Where the amber-drops for thee shall weep,
And the rose-lipped shell its music keep;
There thou shalt slumber well.

The gem and the pearl lie heaped at thy side;
They fell from the neck of the beautiful bride,
From the strong man's hand, from the maiden's brow,
As they slowly sunk to the wave below.

9. A peopled home is the ocean-bed;

The mother and child are there:
The fervent youth and the hoary head,
The maid with her floating locks outspread,
The babe with its silken hair :
As the water movèth they slightly sway,
And the tranquil light on their features play:
And there is each cherished and beautiful form,
Away from decay, and away from the storm.


ELIZABETH OAKES SMITH, the accomplished writer, whose maiden name was Prince, was born near Portland, Maine. She early showed remarkable skill in composition. When sixteen years of age she was married to Mr. Scba Smith, author, who in 1839 removed to New York, where they still reside. Her first published book was entitled "Riches without Wings." In 1844 appeared "The Sinless Child, and other Poems," and since, a number of other works, some of which have passed through many editions.



H, where is the knight or the squire so bold,
As to dive to the howling charybdis' below?—
I cast into the whirlpool a goblet of gold,


And o'er it already the dark waters flow :
Whoever to me may the goblet bring,
Shall have for his guerdon that gift of his king."
2. He spoke, and the cup from the terrible steep,
That rugged and hoary, hung over the verge
Of the endless and measureless world of the deep,

Swirled into the maelstrom that maddened the surge.
"And where is the diver so stout to go—
I ask ye again-to the deep below?"

3. And the knights and the squires that gathered around, Stood silent-and fixed on the ocean their eyes; They looked on the dismal and savage profound,

And the peril chilled back every thought of the prize.
And thrice spoke the monarch-"The cup to win,
Is there never a wight who will venture in ?"

4. And all as before heard in silence the king

Till a youth, with an aspect unfearing but gentle,
'Mid the tremulous squires, stept out from the ring,
Unbuckling his girdle, and doffing his mantle;
And the murmuring crowd, as they parted asunder,
On the stately boy cast their looks of wonder.

5. As he strode to the marge of the summit, and gave One glance on the gulf of that merciless main; Lo! the wave that for ever devours the wave,

Casts roaringly up the charybdis again;
And, as with the swell of the far thunder-boom,
Rushes foamingly fōrth from the heart of the gloom.

'Cha ryb' dis, one of the two rocks, Scylla and Charybdis, described by Homer as lying near together, between Italy and Sicily; both formidable to ships which had to pass between them. One contained an

immense fig-tree, under which dwelt Charybdis, who thrice every day swallowed down the waters of the sea, and thrice threw them up again. Guerdon, (ger ́don), recompense; reward.


« PrécédentContinuer »