The Haunted Beach Or Power Of Conscience On A Murderer





BY MRS. ROBINSON.





Upon a lonely desert beach,

Where the white foam was scatter'd,

A little shed uprear'd its head,

Though lofty barks were shatter'd.

The sea-weeds gath'ring near the door,

A sombre path display'd;

And, all around, the deaf'ning roar

Re-echo'd on the chalky shore,

By the green billows made.



Above, a jutting cliff was seen,

Where sea-birds hover'd craving;

And, all around, the craggs were bound

With weeds--for ever waving.

And, here and there, a cavern wide

Its shad'wy jaws display'd;

And near the sands, at ebb of tide,

A shiver'd mast was seen to ride,

Where the green billows stray'd.



And often, while the moaning wind

Stole o'er the summer ocean,

The moonlight scene was all serene,

The waters scarce in motion;

Then, while the smoothly slanting sand

The tall cliff wrapp'd in shade,

The Fisherman beheld a band

Of spectres, gliding hand in hand,

Where the green billows play'd.



And pale their faces were as snow,

And sullenly they wandered;

And to the skies, with hollow eyes,

They look'd, as though they ponder'd.

And sometimes, from their hammock shroud,

They dismal howlings made,

And while the blast blew strong and loud

The clear moon marked the ghastly crowd,

Where the green billows play'd!



And then, above the haunted hut,

The curlews screaming hover'd;

And the low door, with furious roar,

The frothy breakers cover'd.

For in the Fisherman's lone shed,

A murder'd man was laid,

With ten wide gashes in his head;

And deep was made his sandy bed,

Where the green billows play'd.



A shipwreck'd mariner was he,

Doom'd from his home to sever,

Who swore to be, thro' wind and sea,

Firm and undaunted ever;

And when the waves resistless roll'd,

About his arm he made

A packet rich of Spanish gold,

And, like a British sailor bold,

Plung'd where the billows play'd!



The spectre band, his messmates brave,

Sunk in the yawning ocean,

While to the mast he lash'd him fast,

And brav'd the storm's commotion:

The winter moon upon the sand

A silv'ry carpet made,

And mark'd the sailor reach the land,

And mark'd his murd'rer wash his hand,

Where the green billows play'd.



And, since that hour, the Fisherman

Has toil'd and toil'd in vain;

For all the night the moony light

Gleams on the spectred main!

And when the skies are veil'd in gloom,

The murd'rer's liquid way

Bounds o'er the deeply yawning tomb,

And flashing fires the sands illume,

Where the green billows play!



Full thirty years his task has been,

Day after day, more weary;

For Heav'n design'd his guilty mind

Should dwell on prospects dreary.

Bound by a strong and mystic chain,

He has not pow'r to stray;

But, destin'd mis'ry to sustain,

He wastes, in solitude and pain,

A loathsome life away.





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