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THE SKELETON IN ARMOUR.
When on the white-sea strand,
With twenty horsemen.
" Then launched they to the blast,
When the wind failed us ;
Laugh as he hailed us.
“ And as to catch the gale
Round veered the flapping sail, Death! was the helmsman's hail,
Death without quarter ! Mid-ships with iron keel Struck we her ribs of steel; Down her black hulk did reel
Through the black water!
“As with his wings aslant,
Sails the fierce cormorant,
With his prey laden ;
Bore I the maiden.
“ Three weeks we westward bore, And when the storm was o'er, Cloud-like we saw the shore
Stretching to lee-ward;
There for my lady's bower
Stands looking sea-ward.
“ There lived we many years ;
Time dried the maiden's tears;
She was a mother ;
On such another !
“Still grew my bosom then,
Still as a stagnant fen !
The sun-light hateful!
0, death was grateful !
“ Thus, seamed with many scars
Bursting these prison bars,
My soul ascended !
-Thus the tale ended.
* In Scandinavia this is the customary salutation when drinking a health. I have slightly changed the orthography of the word, in order to preserve the correct pronunciation.
It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea;
To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day, And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
The skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his mouth, And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.
Then up and spake an old Sailor,
Had sailed the Spanish Main, “I pray thee, put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane.
“ Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see !”
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind,
A gale from the North-east; The snow fell hissing in the brine,
And the billows frothed like yeast.
Down came the storm, and smote amain
The vessel in its strength ; She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
Then leaped her cable's length.
“Come hither! come hither ! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so ;
That ever wind did blow."
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
Against the stinging blast;
And bound her to the mast.
THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS.
“O father! I hear the church-bells ring,
And he steered for the open sea.
“O father! I hear the sound of guns,
O say, what may it be?” “Some ship in distress, that cannot live
In such an angry sea !”
“O father! I see a gleaming light,
O say, what may it be?”
A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face turned to the skies, The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
That saved she might be; And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow, Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
Towards the reef of Norman's Woe.
And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land ;
On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.
The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
Like icicles from her deck.