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Poem by George Pope Morris


The Main-Truck; or, A Leap for Life


    A Nautical Ballad

OLD Ironsides at anchor lay,
   In the harbor of Mahon;
A dead calm rested on the bay --
   The waves to sleep had gone;
When little Jack, the captain's son,
   With gallant hardihood,
Climbed shroud and spar -- and then upon
   The main-truck rose and stood!

A shudder ran through every vein --
   All eyes were turned on high!
There stood the boy, with dizzy brain,
   Between the sea and sky!
No hold had he above -- below,
   Alone he stood in air!
At that far height none dared to go --
   No aid could reach him there.

We gazed -- but not a man could speak! --
   With horror all aghast
In groups, with pallid brow and cheek,
   We watched the quivering mast.
The atmosphere grew thick and hot,
   And of a lurid hue,
As, riveted unto the spot,
   Stood officer and crew.

The father camon on deck -- He gasped,
   "O, God, Thy will be done!"
Then suddenly a rifle grasped,
   And aimed it at his son!
"Jump far out, boy, into the wave!
   Jump, or I fire!" he said:
"That only chance your life can save!
   Jump -- jump, boy!" -- He obeyed.

He sank -- he rose -- he lived -- he moved --
   He for the ship struck out!
On board we hailed the lad beloved
   With many a manly shout.
His father drew, in silent joy,
   Those wet arms round his neck,
Then folded to his heart the boy,
   And fainted on the deck! 



George Pope Morris


George Pope Morris's other poems:
  1. Thy Will Be Done
  2. Life in the West
  3. Janet McRea
  4. The Flag of Our Union
  5. A Legend of the Mohawk


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