THE SONG OF THE WRECK
by: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
- HE wind blew high, the waters
- A ship drove on the land,
- A hundred human creatures saved
- Kneel'd down upon the sand.
- Threescore were drown'd, threescore were thrown
- Upon the black rocks wild,
- And thus among them, left alone,
- They found one helpless child.
- A seaman rough, to shipwreck bred,
- Stood out from all the rest,
- And gently laid the lonely head
- Upon his honest breast.
- And travelling o'er the desert wide
- It was a solemn joy,
- To see them, ever side by side,
- The sailor and the boy.
- In famine, sickness, hunger, thirst,
- The two were still but one,
- Until the strong man droop'd the first
- And felt his labors done.
- Then to a trusty friend he spake,
- "Across the desert wide,
- Oh, take this poor boy for my sake!"
- And kiss'd the child and died.
- Toiling along in weary plight
- Through heavy jungle, mire,
- These two came later every night
- To warm them at the fire.
- Until the captain said one day
- "O seaman, good and kind,
- To save thyself now come away,
- And leave the boy behind!"
- The child was slumbering near the blaze:
- "O captain, let him rest
- Until it sinks, when God's own ways
- Shall teach us what is best!"
- They watch'd the whiten'd, ashy heap,
- They touch'd the child in vain;
- They did not leave him there asleep,
- He never woke again.
POEMS BY CHARLES DICKENS
"The Song of the Wreck"
is reprinted from The Poems and Verse of Charles Dickens.
Ed. F.G. Kitton. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1903.