Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
VII. The Sea
The Storm
George Alexander Stevens (1710–1784)
 
CEASE, rude Boreas, blustering railer!
  List, ye landsmen, all to me,
Messmates, hear a brother sailor
  Sing the dangers of the sea;
 
From bounding billows, first in motion,        5
  When the distant whirlwinds rise,
To the tempest-troubled ocean,
  Where the seas contend with skies.
 
Hark! the boatswain hoarsely bawling,
  By topsail sheets and halyards stand!        10
Down top-gallants quick be hauling!
  Down your stay-sails, hand, boys, hand!
 
Now it freshens, set the braces,
  Quick the topsail sheets let go;
Luff, boys, luff! don’t make wry faces,        15
  Up your topsails nimbly clew.
 
Round us roars the tempest louder,
  Think what fear our minds inthralls!
Harder yet, it yet blows harder,
  Now again the boatswain calls.        20
 
The topsail yard point to the wind, boys,
  See all clear to reef each course;
Let the fore sheet go, don’t mind, boys,
  Though the weather should be worse.
 
Fore and aft the sprit-sail yard get,        25
  Reef the mizzen, see all clear;
Hands up! each preventive brace set!
  Man the fore yard, cheer, lads, cheer!
 
Now the dreadful thunder ’s roaring
  Peal on peal contending clash,        30
On our heads fierce rain falls pouring,
  In our eyes blue lightnings flash.
 
One wide water all around us,
  All above us one black sky;
Different deaths at once surround us:        35
  Hark! what means that dreadful cry?
 
The foremast ’s gone, cries every tongue out,
  O’er the lee twelve feet ’bove deck;
A leak beneath the chest-tree ’s sprung out,
  Call all hands to clear the wreck.        40
 
Quick the lanyards cut to pieces;
  Come, my hearts, be stout and bold;
Plumb the well,—the leak increases,
  Four feet water in the hold!
 
While o’er the ship wild waves are beating,        45
  We our wives and children mourn;
Alas! from hence there ’s no retreating,
  Alas! to them there ’s no return!
 
Still the leak is gaining on us!
  Both chain-pumps are choked below:        50
Heaven have mercy here upon us!
  For only that can save us now.
 
O’er the lee-beam is the land, boys,
  Let the guns o’erboard be thrown;
To the pumps call every hand, boys,        55
  See! our mizzen-mast is gone.
 
The leak we ’ve found, it cannot pour fast;
  We ’ve lighted her a foot or more;
Up and rig a jury foremast,
  She rights! she rights, boys! we ’re off shore.        60
 
 
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