June 8 - 14, 2014: Issue 166

Calmly the pale Moon kissed the tide.
The sea-breeze on in silence swept;
No angry billow burst In pride,
But all in seeming stillness slept;
A night almost for each too fair,
We see not oft, it's likeness there.

I stood across our noble bay,
The light breeze fairly filled the sail;
All thoughts of Earth had passed away,
And memory e'en began to full ;
A calm oblivion all o'espread,
And as in slumber bowed the bend.

A change came o'er my spirits dream,
I laid upon the open wave ;
There was no light, no fitfull gleam,
No voice to guide, no hand to save;
And dark the Sea, and dark the Sky,
In mingled chaos, seemed to lie.

But list, I heard a rushing sound,
A livid light is flashing o'er;
I raised my head, lo ! all around.
No eye beheld that sight before ;
A countless fleet, on, on, they came,
Of every Nation, Age, and Name.

I know them by the batter'd hull,
And by the see-weed shackled mast;
'The 'varied ensign floating dull,
As on in dark array they past ;
I knew them for old Ocean's own,
Though once they were of Earth' alone.

There lay the galley barque of Rome,
The Argosy of ancient Spain;
All that have never found a home,
'Excepting in the dreary main;
There swept the stately ship of war,
Whoso battle shout shall sound no more.

There cameo the frigate in her pride,
The rod blood gushed from either tier;
And swiftly sailing by her side,
The long, low, fierce, black, Buccaneer
With mutter'd oath and curses hoarse,
At every yard-arm swung a corse.

There lay the battle-blasted bark,
Where fire's ravages had told;
And crowding by her bulwarks dark,'
The forms that once were stern and bold;
Their bony fingers grasp the gun,
And o'er the rotting cordage run.

 The famine-perished too, were there.
In every hand a human bone;
In every skull, by time worn bare,
The mocking sea-worm reigned alone;
Across the broken deck they strode,
Grim tenants of a foul abode.

And there the Demon slaver lay,
Her very scuppers running blood,
She founder'd in the rescue fray,
The fiend and victim in the flood;
High 'o'er her Spanish flag was borne,
Britannia's Banner, battle torn.

On, on, they came in mighty line,
A hundred, hundred, thousand sail;
As countless as the mountain pine.
To follow them the eye must fail.
On, on, they came, a ghastly band,
At every helm a spectre, hand.

On, on, they swept, but fading fast,
Still, still, more indistinct they grow;
The sinking sail, the falling mast,
As all to their dark haven drew;
And loud arose an angry moan,
As Ocean gathered back her own.

In terror on my feet I sprung,
Right in the Moon's pale wake I lay ;
Still in my ear the thunder rung,
Yet all was 'silence in the bay;
Save only that a brisker gale,
Was rumbling in my tiny sail.

And as I turned my head to home,
I cast an anxious look behind; -
Expecting in each burst of foam,,
 Some spectre follower to find— „
Still as I held my way alone,
I thought upon tho Ocean's Own?
February 11, 1836.

Original Poetry. (1836, February 16). The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36854526

How little those who love the land
Of Ocean's grandeur know—
The angry wave's assembling;
The storm-cloud's lurid glow
When like a vexed leviathan,
The hurricane goes forth,
And scatters o'er the troubled tea
Memorials of its wrath.

How little care the mariners,
Wild dwellers of the deep,
The furious tempest cradles them,
The rude waves rock to sleep;
When billows, like an avalanche,
Their forms in fury rear,
They gaze upon their majesty
Without a thought of fear.

A ship lay on the Indian sea,
As fell in gloom the night,
And there had been a day of storms,
Though there the breeze was light.
Upon the mast, the wanton sail
As if in dalliance hung;
And listlessly, and lazily,
The slackened cordage swung.

The watch had gathered by the mast,
In mute attention bound;
The merry tale, and jocund song,
The little band went round;—
And each, as to his turn it came,
Some wondrous legend told,
Of the storm, the breeze, the battle.
The beauteous, and the bold.

And one had told a tale of love,
And ill requited care,
And every anxious list'ner Thought
Upon the absent fair —
And one a song of battle sung,
A spirit stirring strain;
While every man right joyously,
The chorus joined amain.

Then next the second officer,
A rude and sullen man,
The seamen bore him little love,
This savage tale began :—
When master of an Indian brig,
Tis five years since and more,
Along the coast of some lone isle,
In this same sea we bore:

And as the evening's glowing shades
Were fading into night,
From the far land a small canoe
Approached in rapid flight ;
And there were none to manage her,
Save one who plied the oar,
And one fair girl, whose beauteous face,
Sad signs of sorrow wore.

And as they near'd my vessel's side
I stood upon the deck,
I saw the raven tresses lie
Upon that lovely neck,
Some demon whispered in my ear,
Seize ! seize ! the proffered prize,
And then I felt, my mind within,
Unbidden thoughts arise.

They told how they, in sudden haste,
An enemy had flown,
And they had with them store of gold —
I marked it for my own.
I seiz'd the treasure and the girl,
Twas all I cared to save ;
Then left without a sail or oar,
The man upon the -wave.

His look I never can forget,
His words of wild despair :
The maiden tore in frantic grief
Her long dishevell'd hair.
But though the bonds the body bound,
They could not curb the soul,
And ere another sun had set,
It spurned the earth's controul.

And ever since, upon my head
Hath laid a heavy curse,
And still my fallen fortunes have
But alter'd for the worse.
Then marvel not, in future,
At the cloud upon my brow;
Those forms are still before mine eye,
I see them even now.

He ceas'd— a fiendish laugh arose,
Dim through the darkness seen;—
Still dripping from the deep, there stood
A man of noble mien,
In his strong right hand, firmly grasp'd,
A glancing blade he bore ;
While his fierce, curled, and parted lip,
A smile of triumph wore.

And in a wild barbaric tone
Some hurried words he spoke,
Like sounds arising from the tomb
They on the silence broke : —
He rush'd upon the mariner,
And dealt a deadly blow :
With one deep hollow groan he fell
And one convulsive throe.

Then swift upon the taffrall
With an arrow's speed he sprang
And loud the lonely deck along
His shout of triumph rang.
But ere a hand was rais’d to stay,
He plunged Into the wave :
That unexpected deed of death
Had paralyzed the brave.

They gather'd round the fallen man
In terror and dismay:
Without a motion, or a word,
Or sign of life he lay
And in his breast so firmly fixed,
The fatal weapon stay'd ;
The strongest in that company,
Could not withdraw the blade.

Then like an ambushed enemy,
Arose the furious gale
It bent the tall and sturdy mast,
And filled the straining sail.
A bow, as if in courtesy,
The noble vessel gave,
Then like a startled antelope
Sprung o'er the rising wave.

And at morning's early dawn,
Far on the quarter lay,
But hard in chace, with press of sail,
A proa of Malay;
Yet still the strong gale slackened not,
The good ship held her own,
And ere the sun was on the wave
She rode her course alone.

And often on the watch they tell
That strange mysterious tale,
And it hath filled with fear the bold,
And blanch' d the rough cheek pale.
And many who unmoved have stood
The battle and the wreck,
Have heard it told with trembling
Upon the lonely deck.
October 5, 1836.

THE MIDNIGHT WATCH. (1836, October 11). The Australian(Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article36853678

The Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 - 1848) was a weekly English language newspaper published in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The paper was first published on Thursday 14 October 1824. It was founded by Robert Wardell and William Charles Wentworth.

The last issue of the paper appeared on Thursday 28 September 1848. Publication of the paper ceased due to "... the large amount of unpaid subscriptions which we are unable to collect, without proceeding to compulsory measures..."