The Last by Henry Parkes

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A beautiful ship o'er the waters career'd
(For a part in the East the bold mariners steer'd),
And queen-like she stood in the sun's dying light;
But she struck on a reef, and went down in the night!   

A storm gathered fast as the darkness set in,
And the ocean grew wroth, as a thing that felt sin;
Not a star its mild light through the stormy night shed,
And the waves and the winds seemed to mingle o'er head.

Majestic the beautiful ship met the storm,
But her fate on that reef was prepared by the worm!   
In the dead of the night she was riven asunder,
With a shock more terrific and wild than the thunder.

There were friends in the hulk as her timbers were starting,
But they felt not a pang of affection in parting;
For the grasp of the tempest o'erpower'd them instead,
Like the pressing of death to the infidel's bed!

And those suppliant eyes, when they thought to meet Heaven,
In the gulf of the sea by a demon were driven;
And the horrible shriek which went up in despair,
With the howl of the wind, died away in the air!

There are hearts far away that shall sorrow in vain,
Long hoping, but, ah they will come not again;
Nor a rover of all who return shall unfold
The tale which those fond hearts so throb to hear told!  

First published
in The Australasian Chronicle, 7 August 1841;
and later in
Stolen Moments: A Short Series of Poems by Henry Parkes, 1842.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 7, 2012 8:40 AM.

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