Page images
PDF
EPUB

The second day was at an end,

And night came slowly down, But still upon the distant coast

They saw a lighted town.

Then darkness settled on the ship,

And o'er the ocean crept,
And, ere the middle of the night,

All but the seamen slept.

Oh! many went to sleep that night,

On whom no inorn shall rise ; And many closed their eyelids then,

To waken in the skies !

And many hearts beat true and warm

For those they ne'er should save; And many hopes were buried then,

Beneath the green sea wave.

A heavy fog came stealing down,

Aud o'er the waters spreadSo thick, the steersman scarce could see

A dozen yards ahead.

There was a moment, and no more,

No warning crossed the sea,-
An Indiaman, with crowded sails,

Bore down upon their lee !

No time to tack, to give her room,

No time to wake the men ;
The mighty vessel ran them down,

Then bore away again!

The eddying waves closed o'er the wreck,

Then rolled on as before;
And that ship’s company went down,

To sail the sea no more!

A fisherman upon the beach,

At early break of day, Observed an object on the tide

That rolled within the bay.

'Twas not the seaweed's heavy mass

Which clogged the billows' swell; 'Twas not the wood of rifted wreck

That floated on so well.

The fisherman strode boldly in,

And, ere it reached the strand, He seized upon a floating form,

And bore it to the land.

It was a child-a little girl

Of some ten years or more, That here the cold, remorseless wave,

Was casting on the shore !

And pitiful the look he bent

On that young form so fair; And tenderly he wiped the face,

And wrung the heavy hair.

“ I'll take her home to Margaret,

And see what she can do ; If life is in the body yet,

She's sure to bring it to.”

Within his dwelling on the beach

He laid the body down; And every means the good wife used

That she bad heard or known.

The youthful limbs were barely hid

By clothing for the night; And heavy lay the closed lids

On eyes that once were bright.

The soft round cheek was cold and blue,

That erst was like the rose That opens in the early dew, When morning zephyr blows.

The sweet young mouth was tightly closed.

As if 'twere closed in pain;
Oh! will the warm blood ever tinge

Those livid lips again?

But Margaret's patience wearied not;

She feels the warmth return,The little heart begins to move,

The breath she can discern.

And do we say—“Thy cares forego,

And let the floweret die;
The tender bud, though blighted now,

Will blossom in the sky:

The storms of life may beat it down,

And sin may yet prevail ; Or poverty, with cruel hand,

May crush that flower so frail:

Oh ! let it die ?”—but so said not

The heart of Margaret;
Her cheerful hope, like jewel bright,

In simple faith was set.

Life was to her a sacred gift,

A high and priceless thing,
To which the blessed Son of God

Did free salvation bring.

That grace came not to her in vain;

She heard the heavenly voice, That often now within her soul

Said, “Margaret, rejoice !"

The living stream that healed her heart,

Descending from above, Left not a barren soil behind,

But rich in fruits of love.

The weeping stranger told her tale

To no unfeeling ear,-
Her little brothers all were drowned,

And both her parents dear.

And she had no relations left,

Now they were in the sea ; They all had left their pleasant homes

Upon the banks of Dee.

“ Fear not, my lamb,” said Margaret,

“I will your mother be; And you shall be as merry here

As on the banks of Dee.

Here's Marianne, and Isabel,

And John, and little Jane;
And you shall be their sister dear,

And think 'tis home again.”

The little orphan raised her lips

To kiss good Margaret's cheek ; But grief lay heavy on her heart,

And words she could not speak.

But ere that many weeks had flown

Her sorrow died away,
And little Jessie sang as blithe

As merry birds in May.

Down to the fisher's lowly cot

The busy neighbours came :“If you take in that friendless child,

I think you'll be to blame.

I'd send her to the Union House,

And there I'd let her be.”—
Said Margaret, “ The Lord has sent

That little one to me.

I should not, of myself, have thought

A thing like this to do ; But if God laid it out for me,

Why, he will bring me through."--

“ You know," another kindly said,

“You have already four; And though you're decent, honest folks,

Still you are reckoned poor.”—

“And we are poor, and very poor,

I know," said Margaret; “But God can show my husband where

To cast his fishing-net.

For He who made the fish, you know,

Can guide them as they swim ;The widow and the orphan child

Hold promises from Him."

“ Well, you must please yourself, of course ;

But, in my humble thought,
You're taking on yourselves more care

Than working-people ought.”

“ It may be so I know," she said,

“But still I am content; I have a feeling in my mind

That we shall not repent.

If your sweet darling, little Bell,

Should ever have the lot
To be shipwrecked and cast away,

And no friend near the spot,-

« PreviousContinue »