In Mather's Magnalia Christi, Of the old colonial time, May be found in prose the legend That is here set down in rhyme. A ship sailed from New Haven, And the keen and frosty airs, That filled her sails at parting, Were heavy with good men's prayers. "O Lord! if it be thy pleasure"-- Thus prayed the old divine-- "To bury our friends in the ocean, Take them, for they are thine!" But Master Lamberton muttered, And under his breath said he, "This ship is so crank and walty I fear our grave she will be!" And the ships that came from England, When the winter months were gone, Brought no tidings of this vessel Nor of Master Lamberton. This put the people to praying That the Lord would let them hear What in his greater wisdom He had done with friends so dear. And at last their prayers were answered:-- It was in the month of June, An hour before the sunset Of a windy afternoon, When, steadily steering landward, A ship was seen below, And they knew it was Lamberton, Master, Who sailed so long ago. On she came, with a cloud of canvas, Right against the wind that blew, Until the eye could distinguish The faces of the crew. Then fell her straining topmasts, Hanging tangled in the shrouds, And her sails were loosened and lifted, And blown away like clouds. And the masts, with all their rigging, Fell slowly, one by one, And the hulk dilated and vanished, As a sea-mist in the sun! And the people who saw this marvel Each said unto his friend, That this was the mould of their vessel, And thus her tragic end. And the pastor of the village Gave thanks to God in prayer, That, to quiet their troubled spirits, He had sent this Ship of Air.
- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882), "The phantom ship", appears in Birds of Passage, first published 1858 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by John Charles Brettel Tirbutt (1857 - ?), "The phantom ship" [satb chorus and orchestra], choral ballad [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-06-21
Line count: 52
Word count: 308