Successful Recitations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about Successful Recitations.

On Saturday it was we saw
The English cliffs appear,
And fore and aft from man and boy
Uprang one mighty cheer;
While many a rough-and-ready hand
Dashed off the gathering tear.

We saw the heads of Dorset rise
Fair in the Sabbath sun. 
We marked each hamlet gleaming white,
The church spires one by one. 
We thought we heard the church bells ring
To hail our voyage done!

“Only an hour from Spithead, lads: 
Only an hour from home!”
So sang the captain’s cheery voice
As we spurned the ebbing foam;
And each young sea-dog’s heart sang back,
“Only an hour from home!”

No warning ripple crisped the wave,
To tell of danger nigh;
Nor looming rack, nor driving scud;
From out a smiling sky,
With sound as of the tramp of doom,
The squall broke suddenly,

A hurricane of wind and snow
From off the Shanklin shore. 
It caught us in its blinding whirl
One instant, and no more;—­
For ere we dreamt of trouble near,
All earthly hope was o’er.

No time to shorten sail—­no time
To change the vessel’s course;
The storm had caught her crowded masts
With swift, resistless force. 
Only one shrill, despairing cry
Rose o’er the tumult hoarse,

And broadside the great ship went down
Amid the swirling foam;
And with her nigh four hundred men
Went down in sight of home
(Fletcher and I alone were saved)
Only an hour from home!



(September 13, 1852.)

     A mist was driving down the British Channel,
          The day was just begun,
     And through the window-panes, on floor and panel,
          Streamed the red autumn sun.

     It glanced on flowing flag and rippling pennon,
          And the white sails of ships;
     And, from the frowning rampart, the black cannon
          Hailed it with feverish lips.

     Sandwich and Romney, Hastings, Hythe, and Dover,
          Were all alert that day,
     To see the French war-steamers speeding over,
          When the fog cleared away.

     Sullen and silent, and like couchant lions,
          Their cannon through the night,
     Holding their breath, had watched, in grim defiance,
          The sea-coast opposite.

     And now they roared at drum-beat from their stations
          On every citadel;
     Each answering each, with morning salutations,
          That all was well.

     And down the coast, all taking up the burden,
          Replied the distant forts,
     As if to summon from his sleep the Warden
          And Lord of the Cinque Ports.

     Him shall no sunshine from the fields of azure,
          No drum-beat from the wall,
     No morning gun from the black fort’s embrasure
          Awaken with its call!

Project Gutenberg
Successful Recitations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.