Eliza Lee Follen

Cohasset shore, July, 1831

Hushed was the ocean's stormy roar,
Still as an infant's joy:
There sat upon the rocky shore
A father and his boy.
Far off they saw a gallant ship;
It came from foreign lands:
The boy began to dance and skip,
And clap his little hands.
Her wished-for port is near at hand;
The ship is hastening on;
They hear the birds sing on the land;
Her voyage is nearly done.
The boy's glad notes, his shouts of glee,
The rocks with music fill;
But now he cries, "See, father, see!
The ship is standing still."
Her masts are trembling from the shock;
Her white sails all descend:
The ship has struck upon a rock;
Her voyage is at an end.
The sailors hurry to and fro;
All crowded is the deck:
She struggles hard---she's free---O no!
She is indeed a wreck.
The boy's young heart is full of grief:
"Father! what will she do?
Let's take the boat to her relief;
Oh! quickly let us go."
They went---and many a stronger hand
Its ready succor gave:
They brought the crew all safe to land,
And the cargo tried to save.
The night comes on, the night is dark,
More dark the billows seem;
They break against the ship, and, hark!
The seamew's mournful scream.
The boy upon his pillow lies;
In sweet repose he sinks;
And, as he shuts his weary eyes,
On the poor ship he thinks.
The sun shines o'er the watery main,
As it did the day before;
The father and his son again
Are seated on the shore.
With the western wind full many a boat
Their white sails gayly fill;
They lightly 'o'er the blue waves float;
But the gallant ship is still.
The sailors now the mournful wreck
Of masts and rigging strip:
The waves are playing o'er the deck
Of the sad and ruined ship.
A crow upon the top branch stood
Of a lone and blasted tree:
He seemed to look upon the flood
With a gloomy sympathy.
The boy now looks up at the bird,
The sinking vessel now;
He does not speak a single word,
But a shade is on his brow.
Now slowly comes a towering wave,
And sweeps with triumph on;
It bears her to her watery grave,---
The gallant ship is gone.
Hushed is the ocean's stormy roar,
Still as an infant's joy:
The father sits upon the shore
In silence with his boy.

COMMENT: This ballad of shipwreck is unusual for its genre in several ways: (1)
there is apparently no loss of life, and even loss of property is mitigated by the
seamen's work of dismantling whatever parts they could; (2) Follen articulates no
moral---the moralizing of the event appears to takes place in the minds of the
witnessing father and son, but the reader can only guess what they are thinking.