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152

THE PLEASURE BOAT.

The sun-light falling on her sheet,
It glitters like the drift

Sparkling in scorn of summer's heat,
High up some mountain rift.

The winds are fresh; she's driving fast

Upon the bending tide,

The crinkling sail, and crinkling mast,
Go with her side by side.

Why dies the breeze away so soon?
Why hangs the pennant down?
The sea is glass; the sun at noon,
-Nay, lady, do not frown;

For, see, the winged fisher's plume
Is painted on the sea:
Below, a cheek of lovely bloom.
-Whose eyes look up at thee?

She smiles; thou needs must smile on her.
And, see, beside her face

A rich, white cloud that doth not stir.-
What beauty, and what grace!

And pictured beach of yellow sand,
And peaked rock, and hill,
Change the smooth sea to fairy land.—
How lovely and how still!

From that far isle the thresher's flail

Strikes close upon the ear;

The leaping fish, the swinging sail

Of yonder sloop sound near,

PENTUCKET.

BY JOHN G. WHITTIER.

How sweetly on the wood-girt town
The mellow light of sunset shone !
Each small, bright lake, whose waters still
Mirror the forest and the hill,

Reflected from its waveless breast,

The beauty of a cloudless west,
Glorious as if a glimpse were given
Within the western gates of Heaven,
Left, by the spirit of the star
Of sunset's holy hour, ajar!

Beside the river's tranquil flood

The dark and low-wall'd dwellings stood,
Where many a rood of open land
Stretch'd up and down on either hand,
With corn-leaves waving freshly green
The thick and blacken'd stumps between;
Behind, unbroken, deep and dread,
The wild, untravel'd forest spread,
Back to those mountains, white and cold,
Of which the Indian trapper told,
Upon whose summits never yet
Was mortal foot in safety set.

Quiet and calm, without a fear
Of danger darkly lurking near,
The weary labourer left his plough-
The milk-maid carol'd by her cow-
From cottage-door and household hearth
Rose songs of joy or tones of mirth.

154

PENTUCKET.

At length the murmur died away,
And silence on that village lay.—
So slept Pompeii, tower and hall,
Ere the quick earthquake swallow'd all,
Undreaming of the fiery fate

Which made its dwellings desolate.

Hours pass'd away. By moonlight sped
The Merrimac along his bed.
Bathed in the pallid lustre, stood

Dark cottage-wall, and rock and wood,
Silent, beneath that tranquil beam,
As the hush'd grouping of a dream.
Yet on the still air crept a sound—
No bark of fox-no rabbit's bound-
No stir of wings-nor waters flowing-
Nor leaves in midnight breezes blowing.

Was that the tread of many feet,
Which downward from the hill-side beat?
What forms were those which darkly stood
Just on the margin of the wood?—
Charr'd tree-stumps in the moonlight dim,
Or paling rude, or lifeless limb?

No-through the trees fierce eyeballs glow'd,
Dark human forms in moonshine show'd,
Wild from their native wilderness,
With painted limbs and battle-dress!

A yell, the dead might wake to hear,
Swell'd on the night air, far and clear→
Then smote the Indian tomahawk
On crashing door and shattering lock-
Then rang the rifle-shot-and then

The shrill death-scream of stricken men

PENTUCKET.

Sunk the red axe in woman's brain,
And childhood's cry arose in vain—
Bursting through roof and window came,
Red, fast, and fierce, the kindled flame;
And blended fire and moonlight glared
Over dead corse and weapons bared.

The morning sun look'd brightly through
The river-willows, wet with dew.
No sound of combat fill'd the air,

No shout was heard,-nor gun-shot there:
Yet still the thick and sullen smoke
From smouldering ruins slowly broke;
And on the green sward many a stain,
And, here and there, the mangled slain,
Told how that midnight bolt had sped,
Pentucket, on thy fated head!

E'en now, the villager can tell
Where Rolfe beside his hearth-stone fell,
Still show the door of wasting oak
Through which the fatal death-shot broke,
And point the curious stranger where
De Rouville's corse lay grim and bare→→
Whose hideous head, in death still fear'd,
Bore not a trace of hair or beard-
And still, within the churchyard ground,
Heaves darkly up the ancient mound,
Whose grass-grown surface overlies
The victims of that sacrifice.

155

ODE TO THE MOON.

BY ROBERT M. BIRD.

O MELANCHOLY Moon,

Queen of the midnight, though thou palest away
Far in the dusky west, to vanish soon
Under the hills that catch thy waning ray,
Still art thou beautiful beyond all spheres,
The friend of grief, and confidant of tears.

Mine earliest friend wert thou;

My boyhood's passion was to stretch me under

The locust tree, and, through the checker'd bough, Watch thy far pathway in the clouds, and wonder

At thy strange loveliness, and wish to be

The nearest star to roam the heavens with thee.

Youth grew; but as it came,

And sadness with it, still, with joy, I stole

To gaze, and dream, and breathe perchance the name That was the early music of my soul,

And seem'd upon thy pictured disk to trace

Remember'd features of a radiant face.

And manhood, though it bring

A winter to my bosom, cannot turn

Mine eyes from thy lone loveliness; still spring
My tears to meet thee, and the spirit stern
Falters, in secret, with the ancient thrill—
The boyish yearning to be with thee still.

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