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III.

THE BUILDING OF THE SHIP.

[The form of this poem was perhaps suggested by Schiller's Song of the Bell, which, tracing the history of a bell from the first finding of the metal to the hanging of the bell in the tower, so mingles the history of human life with it that the Bell becomes the symbol of humanity. Schiller's poem introduced a new artistic form which has since been copied more than once, but nowhere so successfully as in The Building of the Ship. The changes in the measure mark the quickening or retarding of the thought. The reader will be interested in watching these changes and observing the fitness with which the short lines express the quicker, inore sudden, or hurried action, while the longer ones indicate lingering, moderate action or reflection. The Building of the Ship is the first in a series of poems collected under the general title, By the Seaside, and published in a volume entitled. The Seaside and the Fireside, Boston, 1850.]

“Builo me straight, O worthy Master!

Staunch and strong, a goodly vessel,
That shall laugh at all disaster,

And with wave and whirlwind wrestle I"

5 The merchant's word

Delighted the Master heard;
For his heart was in his work, and the heart
Giveth grace unto every Art.

A quiet smile played round his lips,
10 As the eddies and dimples of the tide

Play round the bows of ships,:
That steadily at anchor ride.
And with a voice that was full of glee,

He answered, “ Ere long we will launch
15 A vessel as goodly, and strong, and staunch,

As ever weathered a wintry sea!”
And first with nicest skill and art,
Perfect and finished in every part,

A little model the Master wrought,
20 Which should be to the larger plan

What the child is to the man,
Its counterpart in miniature;
That with a hand more swift and sure

The greater labor might be brought
25 To answer to his inward thought.

And as he labored, his mind ran o'er
The various ships that were built of yore,
And above them all, and strangest of all

Towered the Great Harry, crank and tall, 29. The Great Harry was a famous ship built for the Eng. lish navy in the reign of King Henry VII. Henry found the small navy left by Edward IV. in a very weak condition and he undertook to reconstruct it. The most famous ship in Edward's navy was named Grace à Dieu, and Henry named his Harry Grace à Dieu, but she was more generally named as the Great Harry. On the accession of Henry VIII, her name was changed to the Regent, but when a few years afterward she was ournt in an engagement with the French, the ship built in her place resumed the old name and became a second Great Harry

30 Whose picture was hanging on the wall,

With bows and stern raised high in air,
And balconies hanging here and there,
And signal lanterns and flags afloat,

And eight round towers, like those that frown 35 From some old castle, looking down

Upon the drawbridge and the moat.
And he said with a smile, “ Our ship, I wis,
Shall be of another form than this !"

It was of another form, indeed;
40 Built for freight, and yet for speed,

A beautiful and gallant craft;
Broad in the beam, that the stress of the blast,
Pressing down upon sail and mast,

Might not the sharp bows overwhelm; 45 Broad in the beam, but sloping aft

With graceful curve and slow degrees,
That she might be docile to the helm,
And that the currents of parted seas,

Closing behind, with mighty force,
50 Might aid and not impede her course.

In the ship-vard stood the Master,

With the model of the vessel,
That should laugh at all disaster,

And with wave and whirlwind wrestle! It was this ship that the poet describes. She was a thousand tons burden, which was regarded as an immense size in those days, and her crew and armament were oat of all proportion, as we should think now. She carried seven hundred men, and a hundred and twenty-two guns, but of these most were very small. Thirty-four were eighteen pounders, and were called culverins. There were also demi-culverins, or nine pounders, while the rest only carried one or two pounds and were variously named falcons, falconets, serpentines, sabinets.

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