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Right off the sandy Cape of May

The breeze blows, soft and free;
Scarce in the sedge it makes a sigh,

Or ripple on the sea,
To break the purple sheen of morn,

That glows athwart the sea.
Three mariners tramp along the beach,-

They tramp, and will not stay;
They've left a body in the surf,

For the sea to wash away ;-
The body of a fair young maid,

For the sea to wash away.

One carries in his hand a scarf,

Another a belt of gold,
And the third a silver and pearl caskét:

They are three mariners bold;
But they think of the body in the surf,

And their hearts grow faint and cold.

Gay was the day when the gallant ship

The Narrows neared so fast;
When they saw the hills of Jersey,

They deemed their danger past ;-
The danger of the faithless sea,-

They thought 'twas surely pas!.
Full freighted with a precious charge,

From England, swift, they came,
A jewelled heiress, proud and fair,

Who bore a princely name :
And noble was the mien she bore

grace that princely name.
Bright, on the deck, the


maid stood;
So rare her beauty shone,
When, shouting glad, all hailed the land



They looked on her alone : The land it was a blessed sight,

But they looked on her alone.

Set was the sun, and night begun,

When music on the sea,
With song that cheers brave marineers,

Made mirth and jollity :
In feast and dance they sped the hours;

Then slept, while slept the sea.

At midnight stroke the sea awoke,

For the storm had waked before And with a sudden rage came forth,

Which the deep sea uptore : The gallant ship went all awreck

That dreadful blast before.

Upsprang the captain and the crew,

“We sink! we sink !" they cried, They nothing heard, they nothing knew

While from the vessel's side
Three oarsmen bold the life-boat pulled: -

And they took one beside.
Black was the sky, and fierce the cry

Of tempest and of sea,
No man could hark, no man could mark

The boat and its oarsmen three,
When the fair maid they hurried away

Out over the raging sea.
Swift from the cabin they'd hurried her,

Swift to the vessel's side,
With stifling hands they silenced her,

And wicked threats beside:
The boat was lowered, and, stoutly oared,

She swept the foaming tide.
Out over the sea the mariners three

The life-boat pulled away;
And they saw the ship before them,

Sink down amid the spray ;-
They saw the black ship sinking,

All in a shroud of spray.
Fast in the bottom of the boat

The prize lay bound and still :
The sea burst o'er, behind and before,

An hour it had its will;
An hour the raging tempest blew,

Then fled, and all was still :

All save the moaning of the deep,

And a murmur far away, Where heaves the brine its


Right on the Cape of May,
Where the proud sea beats sullenly

The sandy cape of May.
The mariners three, right lustily,

Pulled toward the land amain :
The boat did make a snowy wake

Athwart the briny plane;
And rising soon, a red round moon

Shone out, along the main.
Right through a rift of inky cloud

The moon shone on the sea, And showed the land, and showed the boat,

And showed the oarsmen three ;---
They cursed her with a pirate's curse

The lusty oarsmen three.
O woe! for mariners, whose hearts

To fiends of hell are sold,
For lust of flesh, for lust of will,

For lust of ruddy gold;
Their dreadful deeds, (which God well beeds),

Be for a warning told !

They saw the land, which lay at hand,

They saw the white surf line, A cottage on the leafy shore,

A window's cheerful shine ;--For now the purple sheen of morn

Came gleaming o'er the brine.

Bound in the bottom of the boat,

The lovely prize lay still;
The mariners looked, the mariners longed,

(The devil would have his will); Each claimed her with a dreadful oath,

And swore to have his will.

The mariners looked, the mariners longed,

But the land it was too near;
They saw the cottage on the shore,

And felt a deadly fear;
They cast it in the plunging deep,

The prize they held so dear.
Slowly the boat slid up the strand

And the sea rolled up the prize; And they thought the dead raised up its head,

With drowned and glassy eyes. The fiend stepped after as they went And cursed them with those

eyes. Swiftly they tramped along the beach,

They tramped and would not stay, They cursed themselves, they cursed their deed,

They cursed the body that lay, All weltering left, amid the surf,

For the sea to wash away.


Slow by my cottage door he went,

His beard was long and hite,
And as he turned, his eye-balls burned

With a strange and dreadful light,
I could not bear the horrid glare

And shunned it with my sight.

It was a hoary mariner;

I bid him welcome in :
Against the poor to shut the door,"

Thought I, “is sure a sin.
So be he man, or be he fiend,

I'll bid him welcome in."

Still by my cottage door he stood,

And shivered with the cold,
"I may not be under roof tree,"

He said, “though I be old;
Though I be poor, no good man's door

May keep me from the cold.”
“Old man,” I said, "God keep thy head

From tempest and from scath."
"Ah! me!” cried he, “ He keepeth me,

Against his day of wrath;
They went before; I follow, sore;

The fiend no mercy hath.”
"Old man! old man! thou'rt mad,” I said,

“With hunger and with cold.” "Ah! ha!" cried he. "A jovial three !

We were three mariners bold; But when we saw it under the surf,

Our hearts grew faint and cold."

“What saw ye in the surf, old man ?!!

“The body! the body!” he cried, And fixed his glassy eyes on mine,

Like one whose soul has died, And in its stead a frightful fiend

Doth for a soul abide.

“ Hal and Jack, they went before;

By their own hands they died : I follow fast, I follow sore,

The fiend goes at my side, He follows for the evil deed,

The deed of wicked pride.

“Black was the night, and shrill the gale,

No man could hear or see,-
And when the blessed morning came,

We drowned her in the sea.
Drowned! drowned! in the salt, salt, deep,

All weltering lies she.
"O God! It was the fairest maid!

Her smile was like the day.
The seamen's hearts beat gallantly,

When she by them would stay.
The ship, they swore, made never before

So many leagues the day.

"The Narrows neared, the land we cheered;

The day was still and bright;
High loomed the hills of Jersey, while

We lay becalmed till night;
Then Jack he muttered in our ears,

• There'll be a storm to-night.'

A storm! cried Hal, then let it blow.

By Jove, though hell go loose,
I've got a venture in my head :

Let fools go dance and bouse;
Let fools go dance, I'll try a chance,

Go you, now, and carouse!"

" Stung by the jeer, we bent our ear.

"When comes the gale,' he said,
• You two shall lower the life-boat, while

I snatch her from her bed.
She hath a silver and pearl caskét,

And a belt of gold so red.

6. Take you the silver and pearl casket,

Take you the belt of gold,
Give me the girl, I ask no more;

For I to the devil am sold,
And cleverly he hath carried me,

Through many a deed as bold.

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