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