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THE WRECK OF RIVERMOUTH.
RIVERMOUTH Rocks are fair to see,
By dawn or sunset shone across,
To dry their fringes of gold-green moss:
And fair are the sunny isles in view
East of the grisly Head of the Boar, And Agamenticus lifts its blue
Disk of a cloud the woodlands o'er; And southerly, when the tide is down, 'Twixt white sea-waves and sand-hills brown, "The beach-birds dance and the gray gulls wheel Over a floor of burnished steel.
Once, in the old Colonial days,
Two hundred years ago and more, A boat sailed down through the winding ways
Of Hampton River to that low shore, Full of a goodly company Sailing out on the summer sea, Veering to catch the land-breeze light, With the Boar to left, and the Rocks to right.
In Hampton meadows, where mowers laid
Their scythes to the swaths of salted grass, “Ah, well-a-day! our hay must be made!”
A young man sighed, who saw them pass.
“ Fie on the witch!” cried a merry girl,
As they rounded the point where Goody Cole Sat by her door with her wheel atwirl,
A bent and blear-eyed poor old soul.
"Oho!” she muttered, “ye're brave to-day!
But I hear the little waves laugh and say, "The broth will be cold that waits at home;
For it's one to go, but another to come!'” “She's cursed,” said the skipper, “speak her fair:
I'm scary always to see her shake
And nose like a hawk, and eyes like a snake.”
They dropped their lines in the lazy tide,
Drawing up haddock and mottled cod;
They heard not the feet with silence shod.
Up to the dimmed and wading sun;
“ Yet there is time for our homeward run."
The skipper hauled at the heavy sail:
“God be our help!” he only cried,
Smote the boat on its starboard side.
Goody Cole looked out from her door:
The Isles of Shoals wero drowned and gone,
Scarcely she saw the Head of the Boar
Toss the foam from tusks of stone. She clasped her hands with a grip of pain, The tear on her cheek was not of rain: " They are lost,” she muttered, “ boat and crew Lord, forgive me! my words were true!"
Suddenly seaward swept the squall;
The low sun smote through cloudy rack; The Shoals stood clear in the light, and all
The trend of the coast lay hard and black. But far and wide as eye could reach, No life was seen upon wave or beach; The boat that went out at morning never Sailed back again into Hampton River.
O mower, lean on thy bended snath,
Look from the meadows green and low:
The waves are singing a song of woe!
O Rivermouth Rocks, how sad a sight
Ye saw in the light of breaking day! Dead faces looking up cold and white
From sand and sea-weed where they lay. The mad old witch-wife wailed and wept, And cursed the tide as it backward crept: “Crawl back, crawl: bạck, blue water-snake! Leave your dead for the hearts that break!
Solemn it was in that old day.
In Hampton town and its log-built church, Where side by side the coffins lay
And the mourners stood in aisle and porch. In the singing-seats young eyes were dim, The voices faltered that raised the hynın, And Father Dalton, grave and stern, Sobbed through his prayer and wept in turn.
But his ancient colleague did not pray,
Because of his sin at fourscore years : He stood apart, with the iron-gray
Of his strong brows knitted to hide his tears. And a wretched woman, holding her breath In the awful presence of sin and death, Cowered and shrank, while her neighbors thronged To look on the dead her shame had wronged. Apart with them, like them forbid,
Old Goody Cole looked drearily round, As two by two, with their faces hid,
The mourners walked to the burying-ground. She let the staff from her clasped hands fall: “Lord, forgive us! we're sinners all!"
And the voice of the old man answered her: “ Amen!” said Father Bachiler.
So, as I sat upon Appledore
In the calm of a closing summer day,
In purple mist of cloudland lay,
And the sunset paled, and warmed once more
With a softer, tenderer after-glow;
And sails in the distance drifting slow.
THE MAIDS OF ATTITASH.
In sky and wave the white clouds swam,
Through gaps of leafy green
When, in the shadow of the ash
In the warm summer weather,
They sat and watched in idle mood
The beach the keen light smote,
Swan flocks of lilies shoreward lying,
Hardhack, and virgin's bower,
And white-spiked clethra-flower. With careless ears they heard the plash And breezy wash of Attitash,
The wood-bird's plaintive cry,
The locust's sharp reply. And teased the while, with playful hand, The shaggy dog of Newfoundland,
Whose uncouth frolic spilled
Their baskets berry-filled.
Tossed back her queenly head,
And, lightly laughing, said, “No bridegroom's hand be mine to hold That is not lined with yellow gold;
I tread no cottage-floor;
I own no lover poor.
Not foul with kitchen smirch,
The other, on whose modest head
With look for home-hearths meet,