Letitia Elizabeth Landon


The Wreck

by Letitia Elizabeth Landon

The moonlight fell on the stately ship;
It shone over sea and sky;
And there was nothing but water and air
To meet the gazing eye.

Bright and blue spread the heaven above,
Bright and blue spread the sea;
The stars from their home shone down on the wave,
Till they seemed in the wave to be.

With silver foam like a cloud behind,
That vessel cut her way;
But the shadow she cast, was the sole dark thing
That upon the waters lay.

With steps of power, and with steps of pride,
The lord of the vessel paced
The deck, as he thought on the wave below,
And the glorious heaven he faced

One moment's pause, and his spirit fell
From its bearing high and proud;
But yet it was not a thought of fear
That the seaman's spirit bowed:

For he had stood on the deck when washed
With blood, and that blood his own;
When the dying were pillowed upon the dead,
And yet you heard not a groan --

For the shout of battle came on the wind,
And the cannon roared aloud;
And the heavy smoke hung round each ship,
Even like its death-shroud.

And he had guided the helm, when fate
Seemed stepping every wave,
And the wind swept away the wreath of foam,
To show a yawning grave.

But this most sweet and lighted calm,
Its blue and midnight hour,
Wakened the hidden springs of his heart
With a deep and secret power.

Is there some nameless boding sent,
Like a noiseless voice from the tomb? --
A spirit note from the other world,
To warn of death and doom!

He thought of his home, of his own fair land,
And the warm tear rushed to his eye;
Almost with fear he looked around,
But no cloud was on the sky.

He sought his cabin, and joined his band --
The wine-cup was passing round;
He joined in their laugh, he joined in the song,
But no mirth was in the sound.

Peaceful they sought their quiet sleep,
In the soft and lovely night;
But, like life, the sea was false, and hid
The cold dark rock from sight.

At midnight there came a sudden shock,
And the sleepers sprang from bed;
There was one fierce cry of last despair --
The waves closed over head.

There was no dark cloud on the morning sky,
No fierce wind on the morning air;
The sun shone over the proud ship's track,
But no proud ship was there!


The Poetical Works Of Miss Landon
Copyright 1853
Phillips, Sampson, And Co.
110 Washington Street