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“I loved the child,—and I took his hand,

And made him kneel, and pray
T'hat the crime, for which the calm was sent,

Might be purged clean away.

“ For I thought that God would hear his prayer,

And set the vessel free ;
For a dreadful thing it was to lie

Upon that charnel sea.

“ Yet I told him not wherefore he prayed,

Nor why the calm was sent ;
I would not give that knowledge dark

To a soul so innocent.

“ At length I saw a little cloud

Arise in that sky of flame; A little cloud,—but it

And blackened as it came.

grew, and


“ And we saw the sea beneath its track

Grow dark as the frowning sky:
And water-spouts, with a rushing sound,

Like giants, passed us by.

“ And all around, 'twixt sky and sea,

A hollow wind did blow; And the waves were heaved from the ocean depths,

And the ship rocked to and fro.

“ I knew it was that fierce death calm

Its horrid hold undoing;
And I saw the plagues of wind and storm
Their missioned work pursuing.

" There was a yell in the gathering winds,

A groan in the heaving sea; And the captain rushed from the hold below,

But he durst not look on me.

" He seized each rope with a madman's haste,

And he set the helm to go; And every sail he crowded on

As the furious winds did blow.

“ And away they went, like autumn leaves

Before the tempest's rout; And the naked masts with a crash came down,

And the wild ship tossed about.

“ The men to spars and splintered boards

Clung, till their strength was gone; And I saw them from their feeble hold

Washed over, one by one.

· And ’mid the creaking timber's din,

And the roaring of the sea,
I heard the dismal, drowning cries,

Of their last agony.

“ There was a curse in the wind that blew,

A curse in the boiling wave; And the captain knew that vengeance came

From the old man's ocean grave.

“ And I heard him say, as he sate apart,

In a hollow voice and low, • 'Tis a cry of blood doth follow us,

And still doth plague us so !'

“ And then those heavy iron chests,

With desperate strength took he, And ten of the strongest mariners

Did cast them into the sea.

“ And out from the bottom of the sea,

There came a hollow groan ; The captain by the gunwale stood,

And he looked like icy stone,And he drew in his breath with a gasping sob,

And a spasm of death came on.

“ And a furious boiling wave rose up,

With a rushing, thundering roar; I saw the captain fall to the deck,

But I never saw him more.

“ Two days before, when the storm began,

We were forty men and five; But ere the middle of that night

There were but two alive.

“ The child and I, we were but two,

And he clung to me in fear;
Oh! it was pitiful to see
That meek child in his misery,

And his little prayers to hear !

At length, as if his prayers were heard,

'Twas calmer,-and anon The clear sun shone, and warm and low, A steady wind from the west did blow,

And drove us gently on.

“ And on we drove, and on we drove,

That fair young child and I;
But his heart was as a man's in strength,

And he uttered not a cry.

“There was no bread within the wreck,

And water we had none;
Yet he murmured not, and cheered me

When my last hopes were gone:
But I saw him waste, and waste away,

And his rosy cheek grow wan.

“Still on we drove, I knew not where,

For many nights and days;
We were too weak to raise a sail,

Had there been one to raise.

“Still on we went, as the west wind drove,

On, on, o'er the pathless tide; And I lay in a sleep, 'twixt life and death,

And the child was at my side.

“ And it chanced, as we were drifting on

Amid the great South Sea, An English vessel passed us by,

That was sailing cheerily; Unheard by me, that vessel hailed

And asked what we might be.

“The young child at the cheer rose up,

And gave an answering word, And they drew him from the drifting wreck

As light as is a bird.

“ They took him gently in their arms,

And put again to sea : · Not yet! not yet!' he feebly cried,

• There was a man with me.'

“ Again unto the wreck they came,

Where, like one dead, I lay, And a ship-boy small had strength enough

To carry me away.

Oh, joy it was when sense returned,

That fair, warm ship to see ;
And to hear the child within his bed

Speak pleasant words to me!

“I thought at first that we had died,

And all our pains were o'er, And in a blessed ship of Heaven

Were sailing to its shore.

“ But they were human forms that knelt

Beside our bed to pray ;
And men, with hearts most merciful,

Did watch us night and day.

66 'Twas a dismal tale I had to tell,

Of wreck and wild distress; But, even then, I told to none

The captain's wickedness.


For I loved the boy, and I could not cloud

His soul with a sense of shame; 'Twere an evil thing, thought I, to blast A sinless orphan's name !

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