''The Stormy Petrel''

WHERE the gray crags beat back the northern main,
And all around, the ever restless waves,
Like white sea-wolves, howl on the lonely sands,
Clings a low roof, close by the sounding surge.
If, in your summer rambles by the shore,
His spray-tost cottage you may chance espy,
Enter and greet the blind old mariner.
Full sixty winters he has watched beside
The turbulent ocean, with one purpose warmed :
To rescue drowning men. And round the coast —
For so his comrades named him in his youth —
They know him as “ The Stormy Petrel ” still.
Once he was lightning-swift, and strong; his eyes
Peered through the dark, and far discerned the wreck
Plunged on the reef. Then with bold speed be flew,
The life-boat launched, and dared the smiting rocks.
’T is said by those long dwelling near his door,
That hundreds have been storm-saved by his arm ;
That never was be known to sleep, or lag
In-doors, when danger swept the seas. His life
Was given to toil, his strength to perilous blasts.
In freezing floods when tempests hurled the deep,
And battling winds clashed in their icy caves,
Scared housewives, waking, thought of him, and said,
“ ‘ The Stormy Petrel ’ is abroad to-night,
And watches from the cliffs.”
He could not rest
When shipwrecked forms might gasp amid the waves,
And not a cry be answered from the shore.
Now Heaven has quenched his sight; but when be bears
By his lone hearth the sullen sea-winds clang,
Or listens, in the mad, wild, drowning night,
As younger footsteps hurry o’er the beach
To pluck the sailor from his sharp-Hinged death,—
The old man starts, with generous impulse thrilled,
And, with the natural habit of his heart,
Calls to his neighbors in a cheery tone,
Tells them he ’ll pilot toward the signal guns,
And then, remembering all his weight of years,
Sinks on his couch, and weeps that he is blind.