Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE PEEL LIFE-BOAT, by THOMAS EDWARD BROWN



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THE PEEL LIFE-BOAT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Of charley cain, the cox
Last Line: Rolling in upon the dead lee-shore.
Alternate Author Name(s): Brown, T. E.
Subject(s): Disasters; Shipwrecks


OF Charley Cain, the cox,
And the thunder of the rocks,
And the ship St. George --
How he balked the sea-wolf's gorge
Of its prey --
Southward bound from Norraway;
And the fury and the din,
And the horror and the roar,
Rolling in, rolling in,
Rolling in upon the dead lee-shore!

See the Harbour-master stands,
Cries -- "Have you all your hands?"
Then, as an angel springs
With God's breath upon his wings,
She went;
And the black storm robe was rent
With the shout and with the din. . . .

And the castle walls were crowned,
And no woman lay in swound,
But they stood upon the height
Straight and stiff to see the fight,
For they knew
What the pluck of men can do:
With the fury and the din. . . .

"Lay aboard her, Charley lad!"
"Lay aboard her! -- Are you mad?
With the bumping and the scamper
Of all this loose deck hamper,
And the yards
Dancing round us here like cards,"
With the fury and the din. . . .

So Charley scans the rout,
Charley knows what he's about,
Keeps his distance, heaves the line --
"Pay it out there true and fine!
Not too much, men!
Take in the slack, you Dutchmen!"
With the fury and the din. . . .

Now the hauser's fast and steady,
And the traveller rigged and ready.
Says Charley -- "What's the lot?"
"Twenty-four." Then like a shot --
"Twenty-three,"
Says Charley, "'s all I see" --
With the fury and the din. . . .

"Not a soul shall leave the wreck,"
Says Charley, "till on deck
You bring the man that's hurt."
So they brought him in his shirt --
O, it's fain
I am for you, Charles Cain --
With the fury and the din. . . .

And the Captain and his wife,
And a baby! Odds my life!
Such a beauty! Such a prize!
And the tears in Charley's eyes.
Arms of steel,
For the honour of old Peel
Haul away amid the din. . . .

Sing ho! the seething foam!
Sing ho! the road for home!
And the hulk they've left behind,
Like a giant stunned and blind
With the loom
And the boding of his doom --
With the fury and the din. . . .

"Here's a child! don't let it fall!"
Says Charley, "Nurse it, all!"
O the tossing of the breasts!
O the brooding of soft nests,
Taking turns,
As each maid and mother yearns
For the babe that 'scaped the din. . . .

See the rainbow bright and broad!
Now, all men, thank ye God,
For the marvel and the token,
And the word that He hath spoken!
With Thee,
O Lord of all that be,
We have peace amid the din,
And the horror and the roar,
Rolling in, rolling in,
Rolling in upon the dead lee-shore.





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