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THE PHANTOM SHIP

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


In Mather's Magnalia Christi,
Of the old colonial time,
May be found in prose the legend
That is here set down in rhyme.

A ship sailed from New Haven,
And the keen and frosty airs,
That filled her sails in parting
Were heavy with good men's prayers.

"O Lord! If it be thy pleasure"-
Thus prayed the old divine-
"To bury our friends in the ocean,
Take them, for they are thine!"

But Master Lamberton muttered,
And under his breath said he,
"This ship is so crank and walty
I fear our grave she will be!"

And the ships that came from England
When the winter months were gone,
Brought no tidings of this vessel!
Nor of Master Lamberton.

This put the people to praying
That the Lord would let them hear
What in his greater wisdom
He had done to friends so dear.

And at last our prayers were answered:
It was in the month of June
An hour before sunset
Of a windy afternoon.

When, steadily steering landward,
A ship was seen below,
And they knew it was Lamberton, Master,
Who sailed so long ago.

On she came with a cloud of canvas,
Right against the wind that blew,
Until the eye could distinguish
The faces of the crew.

Then fell her straining top mast,
Hanging tangled in the shrouds,
And her sails were loosened and lifted,
And blown away like clouds.

And the masts, with all their rigging,
Fell slowly, one by one,
And the hulk dialated and vanished,
As a sea-mist in the sun!

And the people who saw thus marvel
Each said unto his friend,
That this was the mould of thier vessel,
And thus her tragic end.

And the pastor of the village
Gave thanks to God in Prayer,
That, to quiet their troubled spirits,
He had sent this Ship of Air.


LAMBERTON PAGE

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