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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Alec. Dunham’s Boat

By Charles Henry Webb (1834–1905)

[Born in Rouse’s Point, N. Y., 1834. Died in New York, N. Y., 1905. From Vagrom Verse. 1889.]

THERE she lies at her moorings,

The little two-master,

Answering not now

The call of disaster.

Loose swings the rudder,

Unshipped the tiller;

Crossing the Bar so

One sea would fill her!

Foresail and mainsail

In loose folds are lying;

Naked the mast-heads—

No pennon flying;

Seaweed and wreck

Alike may drift past her;

There lies the pilot-boat—

Where is her master?

Lantern at Great Point,

Brightly it burns;

Beacon on Brant Point

The signal returns.

Far out to sea

Sankoty flashes;

White on the shore

The crested wave dashes.

Strident No’th-easter

And smoky Sou’-wester

Call for the pilot-boat,

Eager to test her.

And a ship on the Bar,

Just where the waves cast her!

Moored lies the pilot-boat—

Where is her master?

Oh, barque driving in,

God send that you lee get,

Past Tuckernuck shoals,

The reefs of Muskeget.

There go minute guns;

Now faster and faster—

But no more to their aid

Flies the little two-master.

For the pilot one night

Left his boat as you see her—

Light moored, that at signal

He ready might free her.

But not from her moorings

Came the pilot to cast her,

Though a signal he answered—

One set by the Master.

Gone, say you, and whither?

Do you ask me which way

Went good pilot as ever

Brought ship into bay?

Who shall say how he cast off,

If to starboard or larboard?

But of one thing I’m sure—

The pilot’s safe-harbored!