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

New England: Block Island (Manisees), R. I.

The Island

By Richard Henry Dana (1787–1879)

(From The Buccaneer)

THE ISLAND lies nine leagues away.

Along its solitary shore,

Of craggy rock and sandy bay,

No sound but ocean’s roar,

Save where the bold, wild sea-bird makes her home,

Her shrill cry coming through the sparkling foam.

But when the light winds lie at rest,

And on the glassy, heaving sea,

The black duck, with her glossy breast,

Sits swinging silently,

How beautiful! no ripples break the reach,

And silvery waves go noiseless up the beach.

And inland rests the green, warm dell;

The brook comes tinkling down its side;

From out the trees the sabbath bell

Rings cheerful, far and wide,

Mingling its sounds with bleatings of the flocks,

That feed about the vale amongst the rocks.

Nor holy bell nor pastoral bleat

In former days within the vale;

Flapped in the bay the pirate’s sheet;

Curses were on the gale;

Rich goods lay on the sand, and murdered men;

Pirate and wrecker kept their revels then.