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And on her bowsprit, poised in air,
Sat the Klaboterman.
Her crew of ghosts was all on deck
Or clambering up the shrouds; The boatswain's whistle, the captain's hail Were like the piping of the gale,
And thunder in the clouds.
And close behind the Carmilhan
There rose up
from the sea, As from a foundered ship of stone, Three bare and splintered masts alone :
They were the Chimneys Three.
And onward dashed the Valdemar
And leaped into the dark;
A denser mist, a colder blast,
A little shudder, and she had passed
Right through the Phantom Bark.
She cleft in twain the shadowy hulk,
But cleft it unaware ;
As when, careering to her nest,
The sea-gull severs with her breast
The unresisting air.
Again the lightning flashed ; again
They saw the Carmilhan,
Whole as before in hull and spar;
But now on board of the Valdemar
Stood the Klaboterman.
And they all knew their doom was sealed;
They knew that death was near ; Some prayed who never prayed before, And some they wept, and some they swore,
And some were mute with fear.
Then suddenly there came a shock,
And louder than wind or sea A cry
burst from the crew on deck, As she dashed and crashed, a hopeless wreck,
Upon the Chimneys Three.
The storm and night were passed, the light
To streak the east began;
The cabin-boy, picked up at sea,
Survived the wreck, and only he,
To tell of the Carmilhan.
WHEN the long murmur of applause
That greeted the Musician's lay
Had slowly buzzed itself away,
And the long talk of Spectre Ships
That followed died upon their lips
And came unto a natural pause,
“ These tales you tell are one and all
Of the Old World," the Poet said, “ Flowers gathered from a crumbling
Dead leaves that rustle as they fall;
Let me present you in their stead
Something of our New England earth,
A tale, which, though of no great worth,
Has still this merit, that it yields
A certain freshness of the fields,
A sweetness as of home-made bread.”
The Student answered : “ Be discreet ;
For if the flour be fresh and sound,
And if the bread be light and sweet,
Who careth in what mill ’t was ground,
Or of what oven felt the heat,
Unless, as old Cervantes said,
You are looking after better bread
Than any that is made of wheat ?
You know that people nowadays
To what is old give little praise;
All must be new in
They want hot bread, or something worse,
Fresh every morning, and half baked ;
The wholesome bread of yesterday,
Too stale for them, is thrown away,
Nor is their thirst with water slaked.”
As oft we see the sky in May
Threaten to rain, and yet not rain,
The Poet's face, before so gay,
Was clouded with a look of pain,
But suddenly brightened up again;
And without further let or stay
He told his tale of yesterday.
“May 24, 1871. Finished a new tale for the second day of Wayside Inn; a New England story, Lady Wentworth.” The story was begun on the 22d. A few days later Mr. Longfellow made an excursion to Portsmouth with Mr. James T. Fields, and wrote of it to Mr. Greene: “I had a most successful day with Fields at his native town, and saw sundry curious old houses ; among them the Wentworth house, which I was anxious to see, having already described it in a poem. I found it necessary to change only a single line, which was lucky.”
ONE hundred years ago, and something more,
In Queen Street, Portsmouth, at her tavern door,
Neat as a pin, and blooming as a rose,
Stood Mistress Stavers in her furbelows,
Just as her cuckoo-clock was striking nine.
Above her head, resplendent on the sign,
The portrait of the Earl of Halifax,
In scarlet coat and periwig of flax,
Surveyed at leisure all her varied charms,
Her cap, her bodice, her white folded arms,
And half resolved, though he was past his prime,
And rather damaged by the lapse of time,
To fall down at her feet, and to declare
The passion that had driven him to despair.
For from his lofty station he had seen
Stavers, her husband, dressed in bottle-green,
Drive his new Flying Stage-coach, four in hand,
Down the long lane, and out into the land,
And knew that he was far upon
way To Ipswich and to Boston on the Bay!
Just then the meditations of the Earl
Were interrupted by a little girl,
Barefooted, ragged, with neglected hair,
Eyes full of laughter, neck and shoulders bare,
A thin slip of a girl, like a new moon,
Sure to be rounded into beauty soon,
A creature men would worship and adore,
Though now in mean habiliments she bore
A pail of water, dripping through the street,
And bathing, as she went, her naked feet.
It was a pretty picture, full of
The slender form, the delicate, thin face ;
The swaying motion, as she hurried by ;
The shining feet, the laughter in her eye,
That o'er her face in ripples gleamed and glanced,
As in her pail the shifting sunbeam danced :
And with uncommon feelings of delight
The Earl of Halifax beheld the sight.
Not so Dame Stavers, for he heard her say
These words, or thought he did, as plain as day:
“ O Martha Hilton! Fie! how dare you go
About the town half dressed, and looking so!”
At which the gypsy laughed, and straight replied :
“No matter how I look; I yet shall ride
In my own chariot, ma'am.” And on the child
The Earl of Halifax benignly smiled,
As with her heavy burden she passed on,
Looked back, then turned the corner, and was gone.
What next, upon that memorable day,
Arrested his attention was a gay
And brilliant equipage, that flashed and spun,