by: William Allingham (1824-1889)

      he plunging storm flies fierce against the pane,
      And thrills our cottage with redoubled shocks;
      The chimney mutters and the rafters strain;
      Without, the breakers roar along the rocks.

      See, from our fire and taper-lighted room,
      How savage, pitiless, and uncontrolled
      The grim horizon shows its tossing gloom
      Of waves from unknown angry gulphs uprolled,

      Where, underneath that black portentous lid,
      A long pale space between the night and sea
      Gleams awful: while in deepest dark hid
      All other things in our despair agree.

      What strength of Man is able to contend
      With brutal raging elements like these?
      Here all his pride of conquest has an end;
      His so-called slaves can crush him when they please.

      But lo! what star amid the thickest dark
      A soft and unexpected dawn has made?
      O welcome Light-House, 'tis thy steady spark,
      Piercing the turmoil and the deathly shade!

      By such a glimpse o'er the distracted wave
      Full many a soul tonight is repossest
      Of courage and of order, strong to save;
      And like effect it works within my breast.

      Three faithful men have set themselves to stand
      Against all storms that from the sky can blow;
      Where peril must expect no aiding hand,
      And tedium no relief may hope to know.

      Nor shout they, passing brothers to inform
      What weariness they feel, or what affright;
      But tranquilly in solitude and storm
      Abide from month to month, and show their Light.

      "The Light" is reprinted from Poems. William Allingham. London: Chapman and Hall, 1850.




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