Mary Robinson ( )

The Haunted Beach

Upon a lonely desart Beach
Where the white foam was scatterd,
A little shed upreard its head
Though lofty Barks were shatterd.
The Sea-weeds gathring near the door,
A sombre path displayd;
And, all around, the deafning roar,
Re-echod on the chalky shore,
By the green billows made.

Above, a jutting cliff was seen
Where Sea Birds hoverd, craving;
And all around, the craggs were bound
With weeds--for ever waving.
And here and there, a cavern wide
Its shadwy jaws displayd;
And near the sands, at ebb of tide,
A shiverd mast was seen to ride
Where the green billows strayd.

And often, while the moaning wind
Stole oer the Summer Ocean;
The moonlight scene, was all serene,
The waters scarce in motion:
Then, while the smoothly slanting sand
The tall cliff wrappd in shade,
The Fisherman beheld a band
Of Spectres, gliding hand in hand--
Where the green billows playd.

And pale their faces were, as snow,
And sullenly they wanderd:
And to the skies with hollow eyes
They lookd as though they ponderd.
And sometimes, from their hammock shroud,
They dismal howlings made,
And while the blast blew strong and loud
The clear moon markd the ghastly croud,
Where the green billows playd!

And then, above the haunted hut
The Curlews screaming hoverd;
And the low door with furious roar
The frothy breakers coverd.
For, in the Fishermans lone shed
A MURDERD MAN was laid,
With ten wide gashes in his head
And deep was made his sandy bed
Where the green billows playd.

A Shipwreckd Mariner was he,
Doomd from his home to sever;
Who swore to be thro wind and sea
Firm and undaunted ever!
And when the wave resistless rolld,
About his arm he made
A packet rich of Spanish gold,
And, like a British sailor, bold,
Plungd, where the billows playd!

The Spectre band, his messmates brave
Sunk in the yawning ocean,
While to the mast he lashd him fast
And bravd the storms commotion.
The winter moon, upon the sand
A silvry carpet made,
And markd the Sailor reach the land,
And markd his murdrer wash his hand
Where the green billows playd.

And since that hour the Fisherman
Has toild and toild in vain!
For all the night, the moony light
Gleams on the specterd main!
And when the skies are veild in gloom,
The Murdrers liquid way
Bounds oer 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 Heavn designd, his guilty mind
Should dwell on prospects dreary.
Bound by a strong and mystic chain,
He has not powr to stray;
But, destind misry to sustain,
He wastes, in Solitude and Pain--
A loathsome life away.

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Ode to Valour
  2. Sonnet 9. Ye, Who in Alleys Green
  3. Stanzas Written under an Oak in Windsor Forest
  4. The Confessor, a Sanctified Tale
  5. To Cesario

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