A gallant ship! and trim and tight,
Across the deep she speeds away,
While mantled with the golden light
The sun throws back, at close of day.
And who, that sees that stately ship
Her haughty stem in ocean dip,
Has ever seen a prouder one
Illumined by a setting sun?
The breath of summer sweet and soft,
Her canvass swells, while, wide and fair,
And floating from her mast aloft,
Her flag plays off on gentle air.
And as her steady prow divides
The waters to her even sides,
She passes like a bird, between
The peaceful deep and sky serene.
And now grave twilight's tender veil
The moon, with shafts of silver, rends;
And down on billow, deck and sail
Her placid lustre gently sends.
The stars, as if the arch of blue
Were pierced to let the glory through,
From their bright world look out and win
The thoughts of man to enter in.
And, many a heart that's warm and true
That noble ship bears on with pride;
While 'mid the many forms, are two
Of passing beauty, side by side.
A fair young mother standing by
Her bosom's lord, has fixed her eye
With his, upon the blessed star
That points them to their home afar.
Their thoughts fly forth to those, who there
Are waiting now, with joy to hail
The moment that shall grant their prayer,
And heave in sight their coming sail.
For, many a time the changeful queen
Of night has vanished, and been seen
Since o'er a foreign shore to roam,
They passed from that dear, native home.
The babe, that on its father's breast,
Has let its little eyelids close,
The mother bears below to rest,
And sinks with it in sweet repose.
The while a sailor climbs the shroud,
And in the distance spies a cloud:
Low, like a swelling seed it lies
From which the towering storm shall rise.
The powers of air are now about
To muster from their hidden caves;
The winds unchained come rushing out,
And into mountains heap the waves.
Upon the sky the darkness spreads!
The tempest on the ocean treads;
And yawning caverns are its track
Amid the waters wild and black.
Its voice—but, who shall give the sounds
Of that dread voice?—The ship is dashed
In roaring depths—and now, she bounds
On high, by foaming surges lashed.
And how is she the storm to bide?
Its sweeping wings are strong and wide!
The hand of man has loss control
O'er her!—his work is for the soul!
She's in a scene of nature's war.
The winds and waters are at strife;
And both with her, contending for
The brittle thread of human life
That she contains; while sail and shroud
Have yielded; and her head is bowed.
Then, who that slender thread shall keep,
But He, whose finger moves the deep?
A moment—and the angry blast
Has done its work and hurried on.
With broken cables, shivered mast;
With riven sides, and anchor gone,
Behold the ship in ruin lie,
While from the waves a piercing cry
Surmounts the tumult high and wild,
And sounds to heaven, 'My child! my child!'
The mother in the whelming surge
Lifts up her infant o'er the sea,
While lying on the awful verge
Where time unveils eternity—
And calls to Mercy from the skies,
To come and rescue, while she dies,
The gift that, with her fleeting breath,
She offers from the gates of death.
It is a call for Heaven to hear.
Maternal fondness sends above
A voice, that in her Father's ear
Shall enter quick, for God is love.
In such a moment, hands like these
Their Maker with their offering sees.
And for the faith of such a breast
He will the blow of death arrest!
The moon looks pale from out the cloud,
While Mercy's angel takes the form
Of him, who, mounted on the shroud,
Was first to see the coming storm.
The SAILOR has a ready arm
To bring relief and cope with harm.
Though rough his hand, and nerved with steel,
His heart is warm and quick to feel.
And see him, as he braves the frown,
That sky and sea each other give!
Beheld him where he plunges down,
That child and mother yet may live,
And plucks them from a closing grave!
They're saved! they're saved! the maddened wave
Leaps foaming up to find its prey
Snatched from its mouth and borne away.
They're saved! they're saved! but where is he,
Who lulled his fearless babe to sleep?
A floating plank on that wild sea
Has now his vital spark to keep!
But, by the wan, affrighted moon,
Help comes to him; and he is soon
Upon the deck with living men
To clasp that smiling boy again.
And now can He, who only knows
Each human breast, behold alone
What pure and grateful incense goes
From that sad wreck to his high throne.
The twain whose hearts are truly one
Will early teach their prattling son
Upon his little heart to bear
The SAILOR to his God, in prayer:—
'O, Thou, who in thy hand dost hold
The winds and waves, that wake or sleep,
Thy tender arms of mercy fold
Around the seamen on the deep!
And when their voyage of life is o'er,
May they be welcomed to the shore,
Whose peaceful streets with gold are paved;
And angels sing, "They're saved! they're saved!"'