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THE twilight is sad and cloudy,
But in the fisherman's cottage
Close, close it is pressed to the window,
And a woman's waving shadow
Now bowing and bending low.
What tale do the roaring ocean,
And why do the roaring ocean,
And the night-wind, wild and bleak, As they beat at the heart of the mother, Drive the colour from her cheek?
SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT.
SOUTHWARD with fleet of ice
Wild and fast blew the blast,
And the east-wind was his breath.
His lordly ships of ice
Glistened in the sun;
On each side, like pennons wide,
His sails of white sea-mist
But where he passed, there were cast
Eastward from Campobello
Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed;8
Alas! the land-wind failed,
And ice-cold grew the night;
He sat upon the deck,
The Book was in his hand;
In the first watch of the night,
The fleet of Death rose all around.
The moon and the evening star
Were hanging in the shrouds;
Seemed to rake the passing clouds.
They grappled with their prize,
Southward through day and dark
With mist and rain, to the Spanish Main;
Southward, for ever southward,
They drift through dark and day
THE rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base,
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
Not one alone; from each projecting cape
Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.
Like the great giant Christopher it stands
And the great ships sail outward and return,
They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.
They come forth from the darkness, and their sails Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils,
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.
The mariner remembers when a child,
On his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink; And when, returning from adventures wild, He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.
Steadfast, serene, immoveable, the same
It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace;
The startled waves leap over it; the storm
Press the great shoulders of the hurricane.
The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,
"Sail on!" it says, "sail on, ye stately ships!
THE FIRE OF DRIFT-WOOD.
WE sat within the farm-house old,
Not far away we saw the port,
The strange, old-fashioned, silent town,The light-house,-the dismantled fort,The wooden houses, quaint and brown.
We sat and talked until the night,
Our voices only broke the gloom.
We spake of many a vanished scene,
And all that fills the hearts of friends,
The first slight swerving of the heart,
That words are powerless to express,
And leave it still unsaid in part,
Or say it in too great excess.
The very tones in which we spake
Had something strange, I could but mark;
The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.
Oft died the words upon our lips,
Euilt of the wreck of stranded ships,
And, as their splendour flashed and failed,
The windows, rattling in their frames,-
Until they made themselves a part
O flames that glowed! O hearts that yearned!
The drift-wood fire without that burned,
BY THE FIRESIDE.
THERE is no flock, however watched and tended,
There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,
The air is full of farewells to the dying,
The heart of Rachel, for her children crying,
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise,
But oftentimes celestial benedictions
Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapours;
Amid these earthly damps,
What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers,
May be heaven's distant lamps.