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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Holland: Scheveningen

The Village of Scheveningen

By Charles Swain (1801–1874)

A STARTLING sound by night was heard,

From the Scheveningen coast;

Like vultures in their clamorous flight,

Or the trampling of a host.

It broke the sleepers’ heavy rest,

With harsh and threatening cry;

Storm was upon the lonely sea!

Storm on the midnight sky!

The slumberers started up from sleep,

Like spectres from their graves;

Then—burst a hundred voices forth:

“The waves!—the waves!—the waves!”

The strong-built dikes lay overthrown:

And on their deadly way,

Like lions, came the mighty seas,

Impatient for their prey!

Like lions came the mighty seas,—

O, vision of despair!—

Mid ruins of their falling homes,

The blackness of the air.

Jesu! it was a fearful hour!

The elemental strife,

Howling above the shrieks of death,—

The struggling groans for life!

Fathers beheld the hastening doom

With stern, delirious eye;

Wildly they looked around for help,—

No help, alas! was nigh.

Mothers stood trembling with their babes,

Uttering complaints, in vain;

No arm but the Almighty arm

Might stem that dreadful main!

No mercy, no relapse, no hope,—

That night the tempest-tost

Saw their paternal homes engulfed,—

Lost! O, forever lost!

Again the blessed morning light

In the far heavens shone;

But where the pleasant village stood,

Swept the dark floods alone!