Subter Undis by Henry Halloran

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"We soon shall see the angels," the Angel-mother said,
And on her child's enquiring eyes her hand she softly laid;
And looking, with the glance of faith, beyond that fearful scene,
She saw their gracious looks of love, -- and sister-pitying mien.

The waves, like wolves, were leaping up around that fated fold,
Yet gentle hearts sustained the weak, and comforted the bld, --
Into each other's eyes they cast that calm and holy light,
Which guides, e'en more than cluster'd suns, amidst the darkest night.

Aye! He is walking on the waves, and surely they can see,
The footsteps of the Lord of Love, who chid the raging sea;
"Why are ye fearful?" once again, in soften'd acents stole
Upon the quicken'd nerves, and passed, in comfort, to the soul!

Oh! gallant ones! Oh! gentle ones! for many a year to come,
In sorrowing hearts, this tale of woe, wil make joy's utterance dumb;
And upraised hands, and streaming eyes, in midnight hours record,
The love -- the passionate grief, -- dear friends! -- with which ye are deplored.

In a private note which accompanied these verses, the following touching passage occurs: "On board the ill-fated London was a lady named Mrs. Owen.  It is represented that the last words which she was heard to speak were addressed to her little child, and that they were these: 'We soon shall see the angels, dear, of whom I have so often told you.'  Every incident connected with the dread catastrophe and sublime example presented by the London possesses, and must long possess, a peculiar interest..."

First published in The Sydney Mail, 7 April 1866

Note: the shipwreck referred to above is probably that of the SS London which sank in the Bay of Biscay, en route to Melbourne, on 11 January 1866.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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