Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PHANTOMS ALL, by HARRIET PRESCOTT SPOFFORD



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PHANTOMS ALL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Come, all you sailors of the southern waters
Last Line: The navy of old spain!
Subject(s): Ghosts; Supernatural


COME, all you sailors of the southern waters,
You apparitions of the Spanish main,
Who dyed the jewelled depths blood-red with slaughters,
You things of crime and gain!

Come, caravel and pinnace, on whose daring
Rose the low purple of a new world's shore;
Come from your dreams of desperate seafaring
And sun your sails once more.

Build up again your stately height, storm-harried
Santa Maria, crusted with salt stains;
Come quick, you black and treacherous craft that carried
Columbus home in chains!

And out of all your angry flames and flashes,
Proud with a pride that only homeward yearned,
Swim darkly up and gather from your ashes,
You ships that Cortes burned!

Come, prows, whence climbing into light deific
Undazzled Balboa planted o'er the plain,
The lonely plain of the unguessed Pacific,
The standard of great Spain.

In Caribbean coves, dark vanished vessels,
Lurking and hiding thrice a hundred years,
Figure again your mad and merry wrestles,
Beaks of the buccaneers!

Come, you that bore through boughs of dripping blossom,
Ogeron with his headsman and his priest,
Where Limousin with treasure in his bosom
Dreamed, and in dreaming ceased.

Barks at whose name to-day the nursling shivers,
Come, with the bubble-rafts where men swept down
Along the foam and fall of mighty rivers
To sack the isthmian town!

Through dusky bayous known in old romances
In one great furtive squadron move, you host
That took to death and drowning those free-lances,
The Brethren of the Coast!

Come, Drake, come, Hawkins, to your sad employer,
Come, L'Olonnois and Davila, again,
Come, you great ships of Montbar the Destroyer,
Of Morgan and his men!

Dipping and slipping under shadowy highlands,
Dashing in haste the swifter fate to meet,
Come from your wrecks on haunted keys and islands,
Cervera's valiant fleet!

Galleons, and merchantmen, and sloops of story,
O silent escort, follow in full train
This passing phantom of an ancient glory,
The Navy of Old Spain!





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