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“ I have sailed right over the spot,” he said, “ With a good stiff breeze behind,

а When the sea was blue, and the sky was clear, You can follow my course by these pinholes

here, And never a rock could find.”

And then he swore a dreadful oath,

He swore by the Kingdoms Three,
That, should he meet the Carmilhan,
He would run her down, although he ran

Right into Eternity!

All this, while passing to and fro,

The cabin-boy had heard ;
He lingered at the door to hear,
And drank in all with greedy ear,

And pondered every word.

He was a simple country lad,

But of a roving mind. “Oh, it must be like heaven,” thought he, “ Those far-off foreign lands to see,

And fortune seek and find !”

But in the fo'castle, when he heard

The mariners blaspheme,
He thought of home, he thought of God,
And his mother under the churchyard sod,

And wished it were a dream.

One friend on board that ship had he;

’T was the Klaboterman,

Who saw the Bible in his chest,
And made a sign upon his breast,

All evil things to ban.


The cabin windows have grown blank

As eyeballs of the dead;
No more the glancing sunbeams burn
On the gilt letters of the stern,

But on the figure-head;

On Valdemar Victorious,

Who looketh with disdain
To see his image in the tide
Dismembered float from side to side,

And reunite again.

“ It is the wind,” those skippers said,

“That swings the vessel so; It is the wind; it freshens fast, 'T is time to say farewell at last,

'T is time for us to go.”

They shook the captain by the hand,

“Good luck! good luck!” they cried ; Each face was like the setting sun, As, broad and red, they one by one

Went o'er the vessel's side.

The sun went down, the full moon rose,

Serene o'er field and flood; And all the winding creeks and bays And broad sea-meadows seemed ablaze,

The sky was red as blood.

The southwest wind blew fresh and fair,

As fair as wind could be ; Bound for Odessa, o'er the bar, With all sail set, the Valdemar

Went proudly out to sea.

The lovely moon climbs up the sky

As one who walks in dreams; A tower of marble in her light, A wall of black, a wall of white,

The stately vessel seems.

Low down upon the sandy coast

The lights begin to burn; And now, uplifted high in air, They kindle with a fiercer glare,

And now drop far astern.


The dawn appears, the land is

The sea is all around;
Then on each hand low hills of sand
Emerge and form another land ;

She steereth through the Sound.

Through Kattegat and Skager-rack

She flitteth like a ghost;
By day and night, by night and day,
She bounds, she flies upon her way

Along the English coast.

Cape Finisterre is drawing near,

Cape Finisterre is past; Into the open ocean stream

She floats, the vision of a dream

Too beautiful to last.

Suns rise and set, and rise, and yet

There is no land in sight;
The liquid planets overhead
Burn brighter now the moon is dead,

And longer stays the night.


And now along the horizon's edge

Mountains of cloud uprose,
Black as with forests underneath,
Above, their sharp and jagged teeth

Were white as drifted snows.

Unseen behind them sank the sun,

But flushed each snowy peak A little while with rosy light, That faded slowly from the sight

As blushes from the cheek.

Black grew the sky, — all black, all black;

The clouds were everywhere; There was a feeling of suspense In nature, a mysterious sense

Of terror in the air.

And all on board the Valdemar

Was still as still could be ;
Save when the dismal ship-bell tolled,
As ever and anon she rolled,

And lurched into the sea.

The captain up and down the deck

Went striding to and fro;
Now watched the compass at the wheel,
Now lifted up his hand to feel

Which way the wind might blow.

And now he looked up at the sails,

And now upon the deep;
In every fibre of his frame
He felt the storm before it came,

He had no thought of sleep.

Eight bells ! and suddenly abaft,

With a great rush of rain,
Making the ocean white with spume,
In darkness like the day of doom,

On came the hurricane.

The lightning flashed from cloud to cloud,

And rent the sky in two; A jagged flame, a single jet Of white fire, like a bayonet,

That pierced the eyeballs through.

Then all around was dark again,

And blacker than before; But in that single flash of light He had beheld a fearful sight,

And thought of the oath he swore.

For right ahead lay the Ship of the Dead,

The ghostly Carmilhan ! Her masts were stripped, her yards were bare

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