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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


The Death-Race

By Robert Stephen Hawker (1803–1875)

WATCH ye, and ward ye! a ship in sight,

And bearing down for Trebarra Height,

She folds her wings by that rocky strand:

Watch ye, and ward ye, a boat on land!

Hush! for they glide from yonder cave

To greet these strangers of the wave;

Wait! since they pace the seaward glen

With the measured tread of mourning men.

“Hold! masters, hold! ye tarry here,

What corse is laid on your solemn bier?

Yon minster-ground were a calmer grave

Than the roving bark or the weedy wave!”

“Strong vows we made to our sister dead

To hew in fair France her narrow bed;

And her angry ghost will win no rest

If your Cornish earth lie on her breast.”

They rend that pall in the glaring light:

By St. Michael of Carne! ’t was an awful sight!

For those folded hands were meekly laid

On the silent breast of a shrouded maid.

“God speed, my masters, your mournful way!

Go, bury your dead where best ye may:

But the Norroway barks are over the deep,

So we watch and ward from our guarded steep.”

Who comes with weapon? who comes with steed?

Ye may hear far off their clanking speed;

What knight in steel is thundering on?

Ye may know the voice of the grim Sir John.

“Saw ye my daughter, my Gwennah bright,

Borne out for dead at the deep of night?”

“Too late! too late!” cried the warder pale,

“Lo! the full deck, and the rushing sail!”

They have roused that maid from her trance of sleep,

They have spread their sails to the roaring deep;

Watch ye, and ward ye! with wind and tide,

Fitz-Walter hath won his Cornish bride.