Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Song of the Wreck

The wind blew high, the waters raved,
      A ship drove on the land,
A hundred human creatures saved
      Kneel’d down upon the sand.
Three-score were drown’d, three-score were thrown
      Upon the black rocks wild,
And thus among them, left alone,
      They found one helpless child.

A seaman rough, to shipwreck bred,
      Stood out from all the rest,
And gently laid the lonely head
      Upon his honest breast.
And travelling o’er the desert wide
      It was a solemn joy,
To see them, ever side by side,
      The sailor and the boy.

In famine, sickness, hunger, thirst,
      The two were still but one,
Until the strong man droop’d the first
      And felt his labours done.
Then to a trusty friend he spake,
      “Across the desert wide,
O take this poor boy for my sake!”
      And kiss’d the child and died.

Toiling along in weary plight
      Through heavy jungle, mire,
These two came later every night
      To warm them at the fire.
Until the captain said one day,
      “O seaman good and kind,
To save thyself now come away,
      And leave the boy behind!”

The child was slumbering near the blaze:
      “O captain, let him rest
Until it sinks, when God’s own ways
      Shall teach us what is best!”
They watch’d the whiten’d ashy heap,
      They touch’d the child in vain;
They did not leave him there asleep,
      He never woke again.

 - Charles Dickens

(The Song of the Wreck appears on the occasion of Charles Dickens 200th birthday. "Born in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812 and living in London for the majority of his life, Dickens was the most popular author of the Victorian era and is widely regarded as one of the finest novelists of all time. In his relatively short 58 years, Dickens rewrote the style, form and substance of the novel. To his own generation he was an immensely popular, ultra-dynamic and revolutionary artist and his books have never gone out of print. The most adapted author for film and TV, writers and directors remain fascinated by the challenge of adapting Dickens while actors relish chance to play his characters. Dickens's writing and his campaigns for social justice and equality remain relevant today and continue to inspire film, TV, art, literature, artists and academia." -- Dickens 2012 )

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