Графични страници
PDF файл

The tongue that framed the order, or the time, no one

could tell ; And no one ever questioned, but the people kept it well. And never in man's memory was fisher known to leave The little town of Wexford on the good St. Martin's Eve.

2. Alas! alas for Wexford ! once upon that holy day Came a wondrous shoal of herring to the waters of the

Bay. The fishers and their families stood out upon the beach, And all day watched with wistful eyes the wealth they

might not reach. Such shoal was never seen before, and keen regrets

went roundAlas! alas for Wexford ! Hark! what is that grating

sound? The boats' keels on the shingle! Mothers ! wives ! ye

well may grieve,-The fishermen of Wexford mean to sail on Martin's Eve!

[ocr errors]

3. “Oh, stay ye !" cried the women wild. “Stay ! " cried

the men white-haired; " And dare ye not to do this thing your fathers never

dared. No man can thrive who tempts the Lord ! Away!"

they cried : “ the Lord Ne'er sent a shoal of fish but as a fisherman's reward.”' And scoffingly they said, “To-night our nets shall

sweep the Bay, And take the Saint who guards it, should he come

across our way! The keels have touched the water, and the crews are

in each boat ; And on St. Martin's Eve the Wexford fishers are afloat !

4. The moon is shining coldly on the sea and on the land, On dark faces in the fishing-fleet and pale ones on the

strand, As seaward go the daring boats, and heavenward the

cries Of kneeling wives and mothers with uplifted hands and

eyes. “Oh Holy Virgin! be their guard !” the weeping women

cried ; The old men, sad and silent, watched the boats cleave

through the tide, As past the farthest headland, past the lighthouse, in a

line The fishing-fleet went seaward through the phosphor

lighted brine.

5. Oh, pray, ye wives and mothers ! All your prayers

they sorely need To save them from the wrath they've roused by their

rebellious greed. Oh! white-haired men and little babes, and weeping

sweethearts, pray To God to spare the fishermen to-night in Wexford


6. The boats have reached good offing, and, as out the

nets are thrown, The hearts ashore are chilled to hear the soughing sea

wind's moan : Like to a human heart that loved, and hoped for some

return, To find at last but hatred, so the sea-wind seemed to


But ah ! the Wexford fishermen ! their nets did scarcely

sink One inch below the foam, when, lo! the daring boat

men shrink With sudden awe and whitened lips and glaring eyes

agape, For breast-high, threatening, from the sea uprose a

Human Shape!

7. Beyond them,-in the moonlight,-hand upraised and

awful mien, Waving back and pointing landward, breast-high in

the sea 'twas seen. Thrice it waved and thrice it pointed,—then, with

clenchéd hand upraised, The awful shape went down before the fishers as they

gazed! Gleaming whitely through the water, fathoms deep they

saw its frown, They saw its white hand clenched above it,—sinking

slowly down! And then there was a rushing 'neath the boats, and

every soul Was thrilled with greed; they knew it was the seaward

going shoal !

3. Defying the dread warning, every face was sternly set,

And wildly did they ply the oar, and wildly haul the net. But two boats' crews obeyed the sign, -God-fearing

men were they, They cut their lines and left their nets, and homeward

sped away ; But darkly rising sternward did God's wrath in tempest


And they, of all the fishermen, that night escaped the

deep. Oh, wives and mothers, sweethearts, sires! well might

ye mourn next day; For seventy fishers' corpses strewed the shores of Wexford Bay!


John Boyle O'Reilly was born in Ireland in 1844 and died in Boston August 10, 1890. He was a writer of very vigorous proso and of some remarkably sweet poetry. For twenty years prior to his death he was the editor of the Boston Pilot. He was a strict Catholic, a brilliant speaker, a man whose heart beat in sympathy with the helpless and friendless of every creed and clime.

Wexford (1) is a seaboard town in Ireland.

Explain the expression: “seventy fishers' corpses strewed the shores of Wexford Bay " (8).




2. çîr' exit; n. round-about | 5. thrift ; n. economy. journey.

7. Ôrd' nançe; n. cannon and 2. en seonçe'; v. hide securely. other heavy instruments of 2. çîr' eum spěc' tion; caution.

8. warrant; v. declare with 8. frāyş; n. combats. 3. rée on noi'ter; v. examine. 8. fee' sym'ple; No an absolute 3. trěnch'er; n. a large wood right forever ; & fee without en plate.



A Military Stratagem. Part I. 1. On the morning that succeeded the night in which Horse Shoe Robinson arrived at Musgrove's, the stout and honest sergeant might have been seen, about eight o'clock, leaving the main road from Ninety Six at the point where that leading to David Ramsay's separated from it, and cautiously urging his way into the deep forest by the more private path into which he had entered.

2. The knowledge that Innis was encamped along the Ennoree, within a short distance of the mill, had compelled him to make an extensive circuit to reach Ramsay's dwelling, whither he was now bent; and he had experienced considerable delay in his morning journey, by finding himself frequently in the neighborhood of small foraging-parties of Tories, whose motions he was obliged to watch for fear of an encounter. He had once already been compelled to use his horse's heels in what he called "fair flight," and once to ensconce himself a full half-hour under cover of the thicket afforded him by a swamp. He now, therefore, according to his own phrase, "dived into the little road that scrambled down through the woods toward Ramsay's, with all his eyes about him, looking out as sharply as a fox on a foggy morning," and, with this circumspection, he was not long in arriving within view of Ramsay's house.

3. Like a practiced soldier, whom frequent frays have taught wisdom, he resolved to reconnoiter before he advanced upon a post that might be in possession of an enemy. He therefore dismounted, fastened his horse in a fence-corner, where a field of corn concealed it from notice, and then stealthily crept forward until he came immediately behind one of the out-houses.

4. The barking of a house-dog brought out a negro boy, to whom Robinson instantly addressed the query :

“ Is your master at home ? '

"No, sir. He's got his horse, and gone off more than an hour ago."

os Where is your mistress ?

Shelling beans, sir."

“I didn't ask you," said the sergeant, “ what she is doing, but where she is."

« ПредишнаНапред »