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Friday, April 12, 2013

The Sea-Bird by Samuel Griswold Goodrich


Samuel Griswold Goodrich (August 19, 1793 – May 9, 1860) was an American author, better known under the pseudonym Peter Parley. Goodrich was associated with his brother Charles A. Goodrich in writing books for the young. His series, beginning in 1827 under the name of Peter Parley, embraced geography, biography, history, science and miscellaneous tales. Of these he was the sole author of only a few, but in 1857 he wrote that he was the author and editor of about 170 volumes, and that about seven millions had been sold.

The Sea-Bird

Far, far o'er the deep is my island throne,
Where the sea-gull roams and reigns alone;
Where nought is seen but the beetling rock,
And nought is heard but the ocean-shock,
And the scream of birds when the storm is nigh,
And the crash of the wreck, and the fearful cry
Of drowning men, in their agony.
I love to sit, when the waters sleep,
And ponder the depths of the glassy deep,
Till I dream that I float on a corse at sea,
And sing of the feast that is made for me.
I love on the rush of the storm to sail,
And mingle my scream with the hoarser gale.
When the sky is dark, and the billow high,
When the tempest sweeps in its terror by,
I love to ride on the maddening blast
To flap my wing o'er the fated mast,
And sing to the crew a song of fear,
Of the reef and the surge that await them here.

When the storm is done and the revel is o'er,
I love to sit on the rocky shore,
And tell to the ear of the dying breeze,
The tales that are hushed in the sullen seas;
Of the ship that sank in the reefy surge,
And left her fate to the sea-gull's dirge:
Of the lover that sailed to meet his bride,
And his story gave to the secret tide:
Of the father that went on the trustless main,
And never was met by his child again:
Of the hidden things which the waves conceal,
And the sea-bird's song can alone reveal.

I tell of the ship that hath found a grave
Her spars still float on the restless wave,
But down in the halls of the voiceless deep,
The forms of the brave and the beautiful sleep.
I saw the storm as it gathered fast,
I heard the roar of the coming blast,
I marked the ship in her fearful strife,
As she flew on the tide, like a thing of life.
But the whirlwind came, and her masts were wrung,
Away, and away on the waters flung.
I sat on the gale o'er the sea-swept deck,
And screamed in delight o'er the coming wreck:
I flew to the reef with a heart of glee,
And wiled the ship to her destiny.
On the hidden rocks like a hawk she rushed,
And the sea through her riven timbers gushed:
O'er the whirling surge the wreck was flung,
And loud on the gale wild voices rung.
I gazed on the scene I saw despair
On the pallid brows of a youthful pair.
The maiden drooped like a gentle flower,
When lashed by the gale in its quivering bower:
Her arms round her lover she wildly twined,
And gazed on the sea with a wildered mind.
He bent o'er the trembler, and sheltered her form,
From the plash of the sea, and the sweep of the storm;
But woe to the lover, and woe to the maid,
Whose hopes on the treacherous deep are laid!
For the Sea hath a King whose palaces shine,
In lustre and light down the pearly brine,
And he loves to gather in glory there,
The choicest things of the earth and air.
In his deep saloons with coral crowned,
Where gems are sparkling above and around,
He gathers his harem of love and grace,
And beauty he takes to his cold embrace.
The winds and the waves are his messengers true.
And lost is the wanderer whom they pursue.
They sweep the shore, they plunder the wreck,
His stores to heap, and his halls to deck.
Oh! lady and lover, ye are doomed their prey
They come! they come! ye are swept away!
Ye sink in the tide, but it cannot sever
The fond ones who sleep in its depths for ever!

Wild! wild was the storm, and loud was its roar,
And strange were the sights that I hovered o'er:
I saw the babe with its mother die;
I listened to catch its parting sigh;
And I laughed to see the black billows play
With the sleeping child in their gambols gay.
I saw a girl whose arms were white,
As the foam that flashed on the billows' height;
And the ripples played with her glossy curls,
And her cheek was kissed by the dancing whirls;
But her bosom was dead to hope and fear,
For she shuddered not as the shark came near.
I poised my foot on the forehead fair
Of a lovely boy that floated there;
I looked in the eyes of the drowning brave,
As they upward gazed through the glassy wave;
I screamed o'er the bubbles that told of death,
And stooped as the last gave up his breath.
I flapped my wing, for the work was done
The storm was hushed, and the laughing sun
Sent his gushing light o'er the sullen seas
And I tell my tale to the fainting breeze,
Of the hidden things which the waves conceal,
And the sea-bird's song can alone reveal!

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