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

Middle States: Shrewsbury, N. J.

A Wreck in Shrewsbury Inlet

By Henry Morford (1823–1881)

  • The Liverpool packet-ship North America, wrecked in Shrewsbury Inlet about 1842, remained many years in sight. Some of her timbers were rediscovered in 1875 or 1876.

  • THE OCEAN sands are round her keel;

    The ocean surge is rolling past;

    The sea-bird’s wing will whirl and wheel

    In circles round her broken mast;

    There is no mortal hand to scare

    The crow and sea-gull from her deck;

    No spirit, but the sailor’s prayer,

    Keeps watch above the noble wreck.

    Is she not desolate?—old ship,

    Left to the surges’ wild career,—

    No more her noble prow to dip

    In the wide waters, blue and clear?—

    No more to bear the snowy sail

    Home from old England’s far-off shores;

    No more to breast the northern gale,

    With strong men on her oaken floors?

    Is there no struggle with the storm?

    No struggle, that the noble steed

    Heaves when, with life-blood still so warm,

    He falls in fight, his last to bleed?

    Fights not the old ship wind and tide,

    As in old days, when tempests came

    And the rough waves that swept her side

    Shook not her iron strength of frame?

    So fights she not? Ah, gallantly!

    And slow each plank is rent away

    As if each atom scorned to be

    The first-won trophy of decay.

    The sea-bird on her broken mast,

    The frayed rope swinging from her prow,

    She waits her doom of wave and blast,

    Content to perish, ne’er to bow!