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Nor holy bell, nor pastoral bleat
Rich goods lay on the sand, and murder'd men;
But calm, low voices, words of grace,
Each motion's gentle; all is kindly done-
Twelve years are gone since Matthew Lee
A dark, low, brawny man was he—
Beneath his thickset brows a sharp light broke
Cruel of heart, and strong of arm,
Yet like a dog could fawn, if need there were ;
Amidst the uproar of the storm,
And by the lightning's sharp, red glare,
Whose corpse at morn is floating in the sedge?
"Nay, ask him yonder; let him tell,
Who walks these cliffs, needs heed him well!
Think ye the lashing waves will spare or feel!
He wiped his axe; and turning round,
"The hemp is saved-the man is drown'd.
Or give him christian burial on the strand?
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.
"T is fearful, on the broad-back'd waves,
Around, no cheerful shore.
Yet 'midst this solemn world what deeds are done!
And wanton talk and laughter heard,
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,
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;
It had been well for thee.
Crime fits for crime. And no repentant tear
The sea has like a plaything toss'd
Torn spars and sail,—her cargo in the deep—
Within a Spanish port she rides.
Angry and sour'd, Lee walks her deck.
Ill luck in change!-Ho! cheer ye up, my men!
A sound is in the Pyrenees!
On field and vineyard thick and red it stood.
And wrath and terror shake the land;
Awake ye, Merlin! Hear the shout from Spain!
Too late for thee, thou young, fair bride;
Whom thou didst lull with fondly murmur'd sound-
He fell for Spain-her Spain no more;
And wait amidst her sorrows till the day,
Lee feign'd him grieved, and bow'd him low.
He meekly, smoothly 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;
My home, how like a tomb!
O! 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;
Ye 're many, waves, yet lonely seems your flow,
Sleep, sleep, thou sad one, on the sea!
He is not near, to hush thee, or to save.
The moon comes up-the night goes on.
Stands that dark, thoughtful man alone?
Bethink thee of her youth and sorrows, Lee:
When told the hardships thou hadst borne,
He looks out on the sea that sleeps in light,
He sleeps; but dreams of massy gold,
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?
Thy merchant's trade has nigh unmann'd thee, lad!
He cannot look on her mild eye-
The hates and fears of hell.
His speech is short; he wears a surly brow.
The workings of the soul ye fear ;
From out the silent void there comes a cry-
Nor dread of ever-during wo,
Can make thee, wretch, thy crime forego.
The scud is driving wildly over head ;—
Moan for the living-moan our sins,-
The crew glide down like shadows. Eye and hand
They're gone. The helmsman stands alone;
Still as a tomb the ship keeps on;
Nor sound nor stirring now.
Hush, hark! as from the centre of the deep-
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,