Poetess Tradition

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The Storm               TEI-encoded version

"The Storm"

Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington

[In The Keepsake for 1834 (London, UK: Longman, etc., 1833), p. 289: ]

     Day fades away, and low'ring clouds now fly
     In troubled haste, athwart the frowning sky;
     That angry sky, whose fearful gleams show Death
     Waiting his prey, in yawning graves beneath.
5     The foaming billows rise from the vast deep,
     Lashing the reeling vessel, till they sweep
     The drowning victims from its shatter'd deck,
     And leave the late proud ship -- a sinking wreck.
     See the poor mariner, with frantic grasp,
10     Struggling for life, some chain or cordage clasp,
     While booming surges strike his shrinking form,
     And shrieks of torture mingle with the storm.
     Hark to that cry of anguish and despair,
     Borne for a moment on the murky air,
15     Now hush'd for ever in the dread abyss,
     The world of waves, o'er which the wild winds hiss.
     Were there not womens' tones in that death wail,
     That rose above the tempest's furious gale?
     And saw ye not the madden'd mother press
20     Close to her breast, with agonised caress,
     Her slumb'ring infant, doom'd to wake no more,
     Hush'd to death's sleep by ocean's sullen roar?
     Poor, hapless infant, child of sin and shame,
     Whose birth destroy'd for e'er a mother's fame!
25     Yet whom she loved as mothers only love: --
     For whom she quell'd her pride, and vainly strove
     To earn a scanty pittance; till bereft
     Of food and hope, she stain'd her hand with theft.
     Exiled from home, and all she once held dear,
30     Yet she despair'd not, for her child was near;
     And as she clasp'd it to her anxious breast,
     Pray'd that its fate might be than hers more blest.
     See, see! that angry wave has swept them o'er
     The vessel's side, and closer than before
35     She clasps her child, and holds it high to save;
     Vain effort -- both have found a wat'ry grave!
     And there are forms of beauty floating round;
     Ah! wo is me that crime or sin had found
     Temples so fair -- But let us not reveal
40     Sins o'er which mighty Death has set his seal;
     Let words of pity only pass the lip,
     When talking of the hapless Convict-Ship.

Date: 1833 (Coding Revisions: 12/30/2005). Author: Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (Coding Revisions: Laura Mandell).
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