The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside recitation entitled 'A Ship Sinking'

Transcription

A SHIP SINKING.

(PROFESSOR WILSON)

John Wilson, late Professor of Moral Philosa by in the
University of Edinburgh, was born in Paisloy in 1785. He
died in Edinburgh in 1854.    Of his poems, the best known
are The Isle of Palms, and City of the Player; and of his
prose works, Recreations of Christopher North, and \ill/octes
Ambrosianic.
This Popular Reeitation can always be had at poet's Bax.
        ?Her giant form,
O'er wrathful surge, through blackening storm,
Majestically calm, would go
'Mid the deep darkness white as snow,
But gently now the small waves glide,
Like playful lambs o'er a moantain's side.
So stately her bearing, so proud array,
The main she will traverse for ever and aye.
Many ports will exult at the gleam of her mast.
?Hush, hush, thou vain dreamer, this hour is her last:
        Five hundred souls, in one instant of dread,
Are hurried o'er the deck;
And fast the miserable ship
Becomes a lifeless wreck!
Her keel bath struck on a hidden rock,
Her planks are torn asunder,
And down comes her mast with a reeling shock,
And a hideous crash, like thunder!
Her sails are draggled in the brine,
That gladdened late the skies;
And her pendant, that kissed the fair moonshine,
Down many a fathom lies.
Her beautous sides, whose rainbow hues
Gleamed softly from below,
And flung a warm and sunny flush
O'er the wreaths of murmuring snow,
To the coral rocks are hurrying down,
To sleep amid colours as bright as their own.
        Oh! many a dream was in the ship
An hour before her death;
And sights of home, with sighs, disturbed
The sleeper's long drawn breath.
Instead of the murmur of the sea,
The sailor heard the humming-tree,
Alive through all its leaves,?
The hum of the spreading sycamore
That grows before his cottage door,
And the swallow's song in the eaves;?
His arms enclosed a blooming boy,
Who listened, with tears of sorrow and joy,
To the dangers his father had passed;
And his wife?by turns she wept and smiled,
As she looked on the father of her child
Returned to her heart at last!
?He wakes, at the vessel's sudden roll?
And the rush of waters is in his soul!
Astounced, the reeling deck he paces,
'Mid hurrying forms and ghastly faces; ?
The whole ship's crew is there!
Wailings around and overhead?
Brave spirits stupified or dead--
And madness and despair!
        Now is the ocean's bosom bare,
Unbroken as the floating air;
The ship hath melted quite away,
Like a struggling dream at break of day.
No image meets my wandering eye,
But the new-risen sun and the sunny sky;
Though the night-shades are gone, yet a vapour dull
Bedims the waves so beautiful;
While a low and melancholy moan
Mourns for the glory that hath flown!

previous pageprevious          
Probable period of publication: 1880-1900   shelfmark: RB.m.143(045)
Broadside recitation entitled 'A Ship Sinking'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland