Farewell, farewell, thou gallant ship!
thy course will soon be o’er;
There are mournful hearts on board thee, there are breaking hearts on
The mother mourned her sailor boy, the maiden mourned her love;
And one, on deck, was musing on a cottage, near the Dove:
But his features were unmoved, as if all feeling lay congealed;
They little knew how soft a heart that manly form concealed.
Beware, beware, thou gallant ship! there’s
many a rock ahead,
And the mist is mantling round thee, like a shroud around the dead.
The listless crew lay idly grouped, and idly flapped the sail,
And the sea-bird pierced the vapour with a melancholy wail.
So hushed the scene, they little deemed that danger was at hand,
Till they heard the distant breakers as they rolled upon the strand.
The winds were roused, the mist cleared
off, the mighty tempest rose,
And cheeks were blanched that never yet had paled before their foes:
For the waves that heaved beneath them bore them headlong to the rock,
And face to face with death they stood, in terror of the shock.
A crash was heard—the ocean yawned—then foamed upon the deck,
And the gallant Drake, dismasted, on the waters lay a wreck!
On that rock they’ve found a refuge;
but the waves that dash its side
They know, must sweep them from it at the flowing of the tide.
With the giant crags before them, and the boiling surge between,
There was one alone stood dauntless midst the horrors of the scene.
They watched the waters rising, each with aspect of dismay;
They looked upon their fearless chief, and terror passed away.
There’s a gallant seaman battling
with the perils of the main;
They saw the waves o’erwhelm him thrice, but thrice he rose again.
He bears a rope around him that may link them with the beach:
One struggle more, thou valiant man! the shore’s within thy reach.
Now blest be He who rules on high; though some may die tonight,
There are more will live to brave again the tempest and the fight.
They gathered round their gallant chief,
they urged him to descend,
For they loved him as their father, and he loved them as a friend.
’Nay, go ye first, my faithful crew; to love is to obey,—
’Gainst the cutlass or the cannon would I gladly lead the way;
But I stir not hence till all are safe, since danger’s in the rear;
While I live, I claim obedience; if I die, I ask a tear.’
With a smile to cheer the timid, and a
hand to help the weak,
There was firmness in his accents, there was hope upon his cheek.
A hundred men are safe on shore, but one is left behind;
There’s a shriek is mingling wildly with the wailing of the wind.
The rope has snapped! Almighty God! the noble and the brave
Is left alone to perish at the flowing of the wave.