Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Plunderer’s Grave
By Lucius M. Sargent (1786–1867)
 
          SNOW 1 hides the green mountain,
          Beneath its white billow;
          And chill’d is the fountain,
          And leafless the willow:
          The tempest, loud swelling,        5
          Now drives along, dreary;
          Before the storm, yelling,
          The sea-mew flies, weary,
And, cowering, seeks shelter, from ocean’s wild roar.
          While billows are bounding,        10
          O’er rude rocks, surrounding
The long sandy beach, and the craggy lee-shore.
          Where now does the bark ride,
          The wild water braving?
          Where now, o’er the dark tide,        15
          The gay streamer waving?
          And where now, so fearless,
          The mariner, helming,
          ’Mid clouds, dark and cheerless,
          And ocean o’erwhelming?        20
Where now is the heart of that mariner brave?
          That bark is dismasted!
          That mariner blasted!
That streamer has drunken the wild water-wave!
 
          O’er breakers, loud crashing,        25
          The waves fiercely bound her;
          While rude billows, dashing,
          In riot, roll round her.
          Go, helmsman, mid ocean,
          Thine arm now must save thee!        30
          Oh! kiss with devotion,
          The pledge, that she gave thee,
Who ne’er may behold thee, her sailor, again!
          Think of her, who is dearest,
          When danger is nearest,        35
Then plunge thy bold form, in the rough, rolling main!
 
          Now tall waves dash o’er him,
          Ah! vainly contending;
          Hope sinks fast, before him;
          His struggles are ending.        40
          Now, waves, gently growing,
          Seem rising to save him;
          Now, o’er the beach, flowing,
          More softly they lave him:
His motionless corse, on the lone shore, they lay.        45
          Rude waves, loudly roaring,
          Along the strand, pouring,
Now bear him again, o’er the watery way!
          Again rise the surges;
          Again they restore him:        50
          Again the wave urges
          Its refluence o’er him!
          Who, reckless of danger,
          Now braves, ’mid the ocean?
          How wild looks the stranger!        55
          How frantic his motion!
He rescues the corse, from the rough rolling wave!
          The strand, for its pillow,
          From out the salt billow,
He rescues the corse—but it is not to save!        60
 
          There stands, dark and lonely,
          The plunderer’s dwelling;
          He seeks the strand only
          When sea-mews are yelling.
          When, ’mid the storm howling,        65
          No star is seen beaming,
          The wretch then is prowling;
          The false fire is gleaming,
To lead the poor mariner, on to his doom!
          When waves bear him, senseless,        70
          He robs the defenceless,
And plunges the corse, in the billowy tomb!
          The foul hearted demon,
          The sailor despoiling,
          Now rends, from the seaman,        75
          The fruit of his toiling!
          O’er wild ocean, braving,
          Hard earn’d was the treasure,
          Through tempest, loud raving;
          Though toiling was pleasure,        80
For her, who was dear, to the mariner bold.
          The fierce hand, unsparing,
          Now rudely is tearing
The poor humble garb from the corse that is cold!
          The pledge of devotion        85
          Thine arm still is wearing!
          That pledge, ’mid the ocean,
          Gave heart to thy daring.
          When eyes, brightly beaming,
          Have ever beset thee;        90
          When false fears were dreaming,
          Thy girl would forget thee;
It brighten’d thy love, and it solaced thy fears:
          For, the girl, who was dearest,
          When danger was nearest,        95
There bound the fair pledge, and bedew’d it with tears.
 
          The eye of the demon
          Glares, horrid, in pleasure;
          Poor, heart-sunken seaman!
          He grasps at thy treasure!        100
          And shall he bereave thee?
          Thy darling pledge sever?
          And cruelly leave thee?
          No, mariner, never!
The tall wave indignantly rolls to the shore!        105
          The arm of the Thunderer
          Seizes the plunderer!
Floods overwhelm him! he rises no more!
 
          The refluent billow
          Now leaves the beach, waveless;        110
          The flood is the pillow
          Of mariner, graveless.
          But, mark the wave, stranding,
          More boldly aspiring;
          The mariner landing,        115
          Then slowly retiring!
The plunderer comes not along with the tide!
          The shark is heard, dashing,
          Amid the wave, splashing!
The froth of the billow with crimson is dyed!        120
          While chill blasts are blowing,
          Who, o’er the corse, gazes?
          His garb, round it, throwing,
          The sailor he raises.
          From winds, cold and storming,        125
          The stranger has borne him;
          The blaze, kindly warming,
          To life, shall return him:
The stranger shall aid him, the stranger defend.
          His pulse now is flowing,        130
          His bosom is glowing;
He ne’er shall forget the poor mariner’s friend.
 
          The white winter billow
          Has left the green mountain;
          Now leaves dress the willow;        135
          Now ripples the fountain.
          Where tempests were swelling,
          Soft breezes are sweeping,
          The sea-mew, late yelling,
          Is, ’neath the rock, sleeping;        140
The sailor is far from the rough rolling main.
          The girl, that was dearest,
          When danger was nearest,
Now holds to her bosom, her sailor again!
 
Note 1. Sargent, of Boston, gave to the world in 1813, the poem of Hubert and Ellen, with other pieces. He is also the author of a translation of the Culex of Virgil, which was published with the text in 1807. We believe he has not on any recent occasion come before the public as a poet. [back]
 
 
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