John Pierpont Poems >>
A Birthday In Scio

I landed there on the day of my birth,—
The day that the city was swept from the earth;
Though thirteen years had floated away
On the stream of time since that bloody day.

There had been a strong southeaster blowing,
The night before and afternoon;
And the clouds, as night came on, were throwing
So much of mystery round the moon,
That,—what above, and what below,—
Things looked so squally, all on board
Concurred in thinking Captain Ford
Spoke wisely; when he said, "No, no;
I shall put in, and try to keep
Where the ladies, who 're aboard, may sleep."

So I 'd slept on board, the night before,
In the snug little port; while, round the isle,
The breakers thundered on the shore,
Like a line of sea-dogs, chafed and hoar,
Bounding and barking for many a mile.
Yet, though, "outside," those dogs might prowl,
We lay where the wave was "calm as a clock";
And, though afar off we could hear the dogs howl,
And sometimes their nearer and hoarser growl,
I could sleep, and I did sleep, "like a rock."

But morning came!—an April morn;
And, though the winds were felt no more,
The waters still were landward borne,
And still the waves came combing o'er,
And fringed with foam the eastern shore;
And there rolled along so heavy a swell,
Between the Island and Tshesm