Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Verses to the Shearwater—On the Morning after a Storm at Sea
By Richard Alsop (1761–1815)
 
WHENCE 1 with morn’s first blush of light
  Com’st thou thus to greet mine eye,
Whilst the furious storm of night
  Hovers yet around the sky?
 
On the fiery tossing wave,        5
  Calmly cradled dost thou sleep,
When the midnight tempests rave,
  Lonely wanderer of the deep?
 
Or from some rude isle afar,
  Castled ’mid the roaring waste,        10
With the beams of morning’s star,
  On lightning pinion dost thou haste?
 
In thy mottled plumage drest,
  Light thou skimm’st the ocean o’er,
Sporting round the breaker’s crest        15
  Exulting in the tempest’s roar.
 
O’er the vast-rolling watry way
  While our trembling bark is borne,
And joyful peers the lamp of day,
  Lighting up the brow of morn;        20
 
As through yon cloud its struggling beams
  Around a partial lustre shed,
And mark at fits with golden gleams
  The mountain billow’s surging head;
 
Whilst the long lines of foamy white,        25
  At distance o’er the expanse so blue,
As domes and castles spiring bright,
  Commingling, rise on fancy’s view—
 
From wave to wave swift skimming light,
  Now near, and now at distance found,        30
Thy airy form, in ceaseless flight,
  Cheers the lone dreariness around.
 
Through the vessel’s storm-rent sides,
  When the rushing billows rave;
And with fierce gigantic strides,        35
  Death terrific walks the wave,
 
Still on hovering pinion near,
  Thou pursuest thy sportive way;
Still uncheck’d by aught of fear,
  Calmly seek’st thy finny prey.        40
 
Far from earth’s remotest trace,
  What impels thee thus to roam?
What hast thou to mark the place
  When thou seek’st thy distant home?
 
Without star or magnet’s aid,        45
  Thou thy faithful course dost keep;
Sportive still, still undismay’d,
  Lonely wanderer of the deep!
 
Note 1. This piece, we believe, had never before been printed. [back]
 
 
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