The Wreck At Sea
by Hannah Flagg Gould
The struggle is over! The storm-cloud at last
Has emptied itself, and the fury is past!
The ship is a ruin! The mariners wait
Their summons to enter eternity's gate.
The remnant of canvass that flaps in the wind,
Their signal of woe, they may soon leave behind
To give its last flutter above the wild surge,
As all it betokens the deep shall immerge.
They see rising round them a chill, restless grave,
While Death loudly calls them from out the hoarse wave.
Come to me! come! ye have no where to flee,
But down in the waters for quiet with me!
My thin, winding arms, ever naked and cold,
Have nothing to warm them but what they infold.
My being unlawful I have to sustain
By feeding on life, that from others I drain!
The sweet buds of childhood, youth's beautiful bloom,
And age's ripe clusters I pluck and consume.
I traverse the world by the light that I steal
Alone from the eyes that in darkness I seal!
In ocean's black chambers I welcome the forms
That rush to my kingdom, through shipwreck and storms.
The babe never prattles or climbs on the knee
Of him, who is low in the cold, deep sea.
The eye of his widow grows sunken and dim,
With looking and waking and weeping for him.
The parent's fond heart slowly bleeds for the son,
Till I, for my throne, a new trophy have won!
Come! and the mourners away on the shore
Shall never behold you, or hear of you more!
Hush! hush! thou pale monarch! a voice from above!
It chides thee -- its tones are of mercy and love.
Away! king of terrors! In silence retire.
Though high is thy throne, there is one that is higher!
The sinking have looked from the billows that swell
Around them, to him, who the surges can quell.
And He, who before has the tempest allayed,
And said to the mariner,
Be not afraid!
Is now walking over the waters, to tread
Upon the white spray that is pluming thy head!
A sail! ho! a sail in the moment of need!
On yonder mad breakers she's riding with speed.
A rescue! it comes in the light little boat,
That's lowered and manned o'er the perils to float.
While life for the perishing, hope for despair,
And joy and reward for affection are there,
With rocking and tossing, as onward she steers,
And shooting and plunging, the wreck as she nears,
One moment, and then the last wave will be crossed!
Yet all is too late if that unit be lost!
The helper and helpless, while panting to meet,
Have sent forth their voices each other to greet.
And when did those voices go out on the air,
An import so great, such an errand to bear?
Emotions too mighty for sound to convey,
Or, long for the spirit to feel in the clay --
A pulse never known in their bosoms before,
Is each proving now, at the dash of the oar.
And sweet to their hearts will the memory be
Of these clasping hands on the wild, deep sea!
Source:Poems By Miss H. F. Gould. Volume 2.
Hilliard, Gray, & Co., Boston