BETA

A ship sails in a tempest. Half of the moon peeks through dark clouds to illuminate the ship. In the distance, the beam of a lighthouse is dim but visible. Birds fly among the waves on the right. Full-page illustration.

ON SEEING A SHIP,

WHICH HAD BEEN INDUCED TO ALTER HER COURSE BY FALSE
LIGHTS, DASHED TO PIECES ON THE ROCKS OF SCILLY, AT
MIDNIGHT, IN DECEMBER, 1813.

Fierce the winter tempest blew,1
The moon in clouds was shrouded ;2
Through the surge a frigate flew ;3
Her deck with men was crowded.4
For their harbour right they stood ;5
When three watch-lights dimly gleam,6
Glancing rays along the flood,7
Broad upon the larboard beam.8
Bear away !” the helmsman cries ;9
Rocks and dangers lie ahead :” —10
With the storm the frigate flies,11
By Destruction’s demon led.12
Deeper night the heaven o’ercasts ;13
Brighter shine those trait’rous fires14
Louder roar the threat’ning blast ;15
Death with haste the ship inspires.16
Scarce the seamen drew their breath ;17
Silent was that gallant crew ;18
As if spirits whisper’d death,19
And each man his fate foreknew.20
Opening clouds unveil the skies ;21
Crags and shoals begird her round,22
Raving surfs recoiling rise,23
Then rush up the broken ground.24
Lighted by the pale moon-ray,25
Balanced on a mountain-wave ;26
Wreathed with foam and winged spray,27
High she trembled o’er her grave.28
Screams are mingled with the wind ;29
Granite reefs one crash resound ;30
No track of death the eye can trace—31
Nought but foam and billows round !32