Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook

"The Shipwreck" by John Wilson


The Shipwreck
Her giant form
O'er wrathful surge, thro blackening storm,
Majestically calm, would go
Mid the deep darkness white as snow!
But gentler now, the small waves glide
Like playful lambs o'er a mountainside.
So stately her bearing, so proud her array,
The main she will traverse forever & ever aye
Many ports will exult at the gleam of her mast.
Hush! hush! thou vain dreamer! This hour is 
her last.
Five hundred souls in one instant of dread
Are hurried o'er the deck;
And fast the miserable ship
Becomes a lifeless wreck.
Her keel hath struck on a hidden rock,
Her planks are torn asunder,
And down comes her masts with a reeling shock,
And a hideous crash like thunder.
Her sails are draggled in the brine
That gladdened late the skies,
And her pendant that kissed the fair moonshine
Down many a fathom lies.
Her beauteous sides whose rainbow hues
Gleamed softly from below,
And flung a warm and sunny flush
O'er the wreaths of murmuring snow
To the coral rocks are hurrying down,
To sleep amid colors as bright as their own.
Oh! many a dream was in the ship
An hour before her death;
And sights of home with sighs disturbed
The sleeper's long-drawn breath.
Instead of the murmur of the sea,
The sailor heard the humming tree,
Alive thro' all its leaves,
The hum of the spreading sycamore
That grows before his cottage-door,
And the swallows' song in the eaves.
His arms enclosed a blooming boy,
Who listened with tears of sorrow & joy
To the dangers his father had passed;
And his wife - by turns she wept & smiled,
As she looked on the father of her child
Returned to her heart at last.
He wakes at the vessel's sudden call,
And the rush of waters is in his soul.
Astounded the reeling deck he paces,
Mid hurrying forms and ghastly face
The whole ship's crew are there.
Wailing around and overhead,
Brave spirits stupied or dead,
And madness and despair.
Now is the ocean's bosom bare,
Unbroken as the floating air;
The ship hath melted quite away,
Like a struggling dream at break of day.
No image meets my wandering eye,
But the new risen sun, and the sunny sky.
Tho' the night-shades are gone, yet a vapor dull
Bedims the waves so beautiful;
While a low and melancholy moan
Mourns for the glory that hath flown.

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