The Relic on the Rocks.

The lustrous moon through the winterly night1
Glides with the stateliest pomp of a queen,2
Over filmy cloudlets of pearly white,3
And a cold calm sea of transcendent sheen :4
The gleam of her robe is reflected there,5
And lights up her path like a mermaid’s hair ;6
Sheds over the tremulous sleeping sea,7
A vision of beauty and pure delight,8
And softens with fingers of fantasie9
The grim grey cliffs’ inaccessible height,10
Till the soul is lost in a dreamy mist,11
And all seemeth lovely the moon hath kissed.12
But something hides in a rift of the rock,13
Near a yawning cavern’s ominous gloom,14
Which the shimmering moonbeams dare not mock15
With their lightsome touch, for it tells of doom ;16
In its silence filling the air with sound,17
And the swirl of a tempest all around.18
A something with ribs, and a broken back,19
Skeleton ribs that are gaunt and grim,20
Lying alone in the shadow so black,21
A wreck, nevermore to be taut and trim ;22
Nevermore answer to breeze or to blast,23
With a floating pennon, or straining mast.24
Lying there, rotting, by night and by day,25
Under that cruel and pitiless crag ;26
Only the curlew to watch its decay,27
Only the seaweed for pennon and flag : —28
Nothing but timber and cordaga, ’tis true ;29
Only a boat—but the boat had a crew !30