The Song of the Wreck

The wind blew high, the waters raved,
     A ship drove on the land,
A hundred human creatures saved
     Kneel’d down upon the sand.
Three—score were drown’d, three—score were thrown
     Upon the black rocks wild,
And thus among them, left alone,
     They found one helpless child.
A seaman rough, to shipwreck bred,
     Stood out from all the rest,
And gently laid the lonely head
     Upon his honest breast.
And travelling o’er the desert wide
     It was a solemn joy,
To see them, ever side by side,
     The sailor and the boy.
In famine, sickness, hunger, thirst,
     The two were still but one,
Until the strong man droop’d the first
     And felt his labours done.
Then to a trusty friend he spake,
     “Across the desert wide,
O take this poor boy for my sake!”
     And kiss’d the child and died.
Toiling along in weary plight
     Through heavy jungle, mire,
These two came later every night
     To warm them at the fire.
Until the captain said one day,
     “O seaman good and kind,
To save thyself now come away,
     And leave the boy behind!”
The child was slumbering near the blaze:
     “O captain, let him rest
Until it sinks, when God’s own ways
     Shall teach us what is best!”
They watch’d the whiten’d ashy heap,
     They touch’d the child in vain;
They did not leave him there asleep,
     He never woke again.
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