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Nor holy bell, nor pastoral bleat
In former days within the vale;
Flapp'd in the bay the pirate's sheet;
Curses were on the gale;
Rich goods lay on the sand, and murder'd men;
Pirate and wrecker kept their revels then.
But calm, low voices, words of grace,
Now slowly fall upon the ear;
A quiet look is in each face,
Subdued and holy fear:
Each motion 's gentle ; all is kindly done-
Come, listen, how from crime this isle was won.
Twelve years are gone since Matthew Lee
Held in this isle unquestion’d sway,
A dark, low, brawny man was he-
His law—“ It is my way.”
Beneath his thickset brows a sharp light broke
From small gray eyes; his laugh a triumph spoke.
Cruel of heart, and strong of arm,
Loud in his sport, and keen for spoil,
He little reck'd of good or harm,
Fierce both in mirth and toil;
Yet like a dog could fawn, if need there were ;
Speak mildly, when he would, or look in fear.
of the storm,
And by the lightning's sharp, red glare,
Were seen Lee's face and sturdy form;
His axe glanced quick in air. Whose corpse at morn is floating in the sedge? “ There's blood and hair, Matt, on thy axe's edge.”
“ Nay, ask him yonder ; let him tell,
I make the brute, not man, my mark.
Who walks these cliffs, needs heed him well!
Last night was fearful dark.
Think ye the lashing waves will spare or feel!
An ugly gash!—these rocks—they cut like steel."
He wiped his axe ; and turning round,
Said with a cold and harden'd smile,
“The hemp is saved—the man is drown'd.
Wilt let him float awhile,
Or give him christian burial on the strand ?
He 'll find his fellows peaceful ’neath the sand."
Lee's waste was greater than his gain.
“I'll try the merchant's trade,” he thought.
“ The trouble's less to kill, than feign;
Things sweeter robb’d than bought.
But, yet, to circumvent them at their arts !"
Mann'd, and his spoils and cargo-Lee departs.
'Tis fearful, on the broad-back'd waves,
To feel them shake, and hear them roar :-
Beneath, unsounded, dreadful caves-
Around, no cheerful shore.
Yet 'midst this solemn world what deeds are done!
The curse goes up, the deadly sea-fight 's won,-
And wanton talk and laughter heard,
Where speaks God's deep and awful voice.
Look on that lonely ocean bird !
Pray ye, when ye rejoice! " Leave prayers to priests,” cries Lee: “ I'm ruler here ! These fellows know full well whom they're to fear!"
The ship works hard; the seas run high;
Their white tops flashing through the night,
Give to the eager, straining eye,
A wild and shifting light.
“ Hard at the pumps !—The leak is gaining fast!-
Lighten the ship :--The devil rode that blast!!!
Ocean has swallow'd for its food
Spoils thou didst gain in murderous glee;
Matt, could its waters wash out blood,
It had been well for thee.
Crime fits for crime. And no repentant tear
Hast thou for sin ?-_-Then wait thine hour of fear.
The sea has like a plaything toss d
That heavy hull the livelony night.
The man of sin--he is not lost:
Soft breaks the morning light.
Torn spars and sail,—her cargo in the deep-
The ship makes port with slow and laboring sweep.
Within a Spanish port she rides.
Angry and sour'd, Lee walks her deck.
“Then peaceful trade a curse betides?
And thon, good ship, a wreck!
Ill luck in change !--Ho! cheer ye up, my men!
Rigg’d, and at sea, we'll to old work again!"
A sound is in the Pyrenees !
Whirling and dark, comes roaring down
A tide, as of a thousand seas,
Sweeping both cowl and crown.
On field and vineyard thick and red it stood.
Spain's streets and palaces are full of blood ;
And wrath and terror shake the land ;
The peaks shine clear in watchfire lights ;
Soon comes the tread of that stout band
Bold Arthur and his knights.
Awake ye, Merlin! Hear the shout from Spain!
The spell is broke !-Arthur is come again !--
Too late for thee, thou young, fair bride;
The lips are cold, the brow is pale,
That thou didst kiss in love and pride.
He cannot hear thy wail,
Whom thou didst lull with fondly murmur'd sound-
His couch is cold and lonely in the ground.
He fell for Spain-her Spain no more;
For he was gone who made it dear;
And she would seek some distant shore,
At rest from strife and fear,
And wait amidst her sorrows till the day,
His voice of love should call her thence away.
Lee feign’d him grieved, and bow'd him low.
’T would joy his heart could he but aid
So good a lady in her wo,
He meekly, sinoothly said.
With wealth and servants she is soon aboard,
And that white steed she rode beside her lord.
The sun goes down upon the sea;
The shadows gather round her home.
“How like a pall are ye to me!
My home, how like a tomb!
0! blow, ye flowers of Spain, above his head.-
Ye will not blow o'er me when I am dead.”
And now the stars are burning bright;
Yet still she looks towards the shore
Beyond the waters black in night.
6 I ne'er shall see thee more ! Ye're many, waves, yet lonely seems your flow, And I'm alone-scarce know I where I go.”
Sleep, sleep, thou sad one, on the sea!
The wash of waters lulls thee now;
His arm no more will pillow thee,
'Thy hand upon his brow.
He is not near, to hush thee, or to save.
The ground is his—the sea must be thy grave.
The moon comes up—the night goes on.
Why in the shadow of the mast,
Stands that dark, thoughtful man alone ?
Thy pledge, man; keep it fast!
Bethink thee of her youth and sorrows, Lee:
Helpless, alone-and, then, her trust in thee!
When told the hardships thou hadst borne,
Her words were to thee like a charm.
With uncheer'd grief her heart is worn.-
Thou wilt not do her harm !
He looks out on the sea that sleeps in light,
And growls an oath—“It is too still tonight!
He sleeps; but dreams of massy gold,
And heaps of pearl. He stretch'd his hands.
He hears a voice_“Ili man, withhold.”'
A pale one near him stands;
Her breath comes deathly cold upon his cheek;
Her touch is cold. He wakes with piercing shriek.
He wakes; but no relentings wake
Within his angry, restless soul.
" What, shall a dream Matt's purpose shake ?
The gold will make all whole.
Thy merchant's trade has nigh unmann'd thee, lad!
What, balk thy chance because a woman's sad?”
He cannot look on her mild eyem
Her patient words his spirit quell:
Within that evil heart there lie
The hates and fears of hell.
His speech is short; he wears a surly brow.
There's none will hear her shriek. What fear ye now?
The workings of the soul ye
Ye fear the power that goodness hath;
Ye fear the Unseen One, ever near,
Walking his ocean path. From out the silent void there comes a cry“Vengeance is mine! Lost man, thy doom is nigh!"
Nor dread of ever-during wo,
Nor the sea's awful solitude,
Can make thee, wretch, thy crime forego.
Then, bloody hand—to blood !
The scud is driving wildly over head ;-
The stars burn dim; the ocean moans its dead.
Moan for the living—moan our sins,–
The wrath of man, more fierce than thine.
Hark! still thy waves !—The work begins-
He makes the deadly sign.
The crew glide down like shadows. Eye and hand
Speak fearful meanings through that silent band.
They're gone. The helmsman stands alone;
And one leans idly o'er the bow.
Still as a tomb the ship keeps on;
Nor sound nor stirring now.
Hush, hark! as from the centre of the deep-
Shrieks—fiendish yells! they stab them in their sleep.
The scream of rage, the groan, the strife,
The blow, the gasp, the horrid cry,
The panting, stifled prayer for life,
The dying's heaving sigh,