Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

New England: Gloucester, Mass.

A Waif

By H. C. L. Haskell


Rich in its regal beauty lay

Over headland and beach and sea,

And the voice of the waves sang dreamily

A sweet, low tale to the listening ear;

A tale, as if never a breath of fear

Or shadow of sorrow could cloud the blue,

Or darken the sunlight glinting through

The mellow air. It was fair, I ween,

That autumn sunlight, that harbor scene,

As over the waves, that golden day,

A trim bark sailed on its voyage away.

Gloucester town

Lies where the winter sunbeams down

On its roofs and spires are shining bright,

On the tall masts showing slim and bare,

On Stage Head Battery, and where

Gleams the tower of Ten Pound Island light;

But never again to Gloucester town,

Around the Point and up to the town,

Will the good bark glide, that sailed away

In the dreamy hush of that autumn day.

There are those who ’ll wait and watch and weep,

And gaze afar o’er the heaving deep,

And wish for the loved to come once more,—

For the bark to sail for Cape Ann’s shore.

Ah! none may know in the sea-girt town

How or when that stanch bark went down;

For those who within her sailed the main

Never will come to port again.

Father of goodness and mercy, be

With those who mourn for the lost at sea.