By what rude waves hast thou been tossed,
To gain this quiet beach?
What wide-spread waters hast thou crossed,
This peaceful shore to reach?
An awful secret dost thou tell
About the yawning deep,
That, while her billows war and swell,
They most profoundly keep.
Thou speakest of one whose weary frame
Has sought repose on thee;
But not of kindred, home, or name,
Sad outcast of the sea!
Thou giv’st no record of his birth,
No token of the clime,
Where he was last a child of earth,
Or when he passed from time.
And who must now, on some far shore,
Await the coming sail
Of him, they will behold no more
Till mortal sight shall fail?
For fearful things dost thou present
Before the spirit’s view;
The parting bark! the canvass rent!
The helpless, dying crew!
Of one dread scene the fatal whole,
In thought, I hear and see.
It chills my blood—it makes my soul
Grow sick to look at thee.
‘The seas must render up their dead!’
Is all thou dost reply;
While o’er thee, cold and restless bed,
The tide rolls proud and high!
The guilty deep is taking back
The witness of her wrath,
To bury it with every track
That marks its troubled path!