Thursday, 6 October 2011

National Poetry Day - Lines on the Loss of The Comet

To celebrate National Poetry Day, we are publishing poems all day across our different blogs.

The Comet Rebuilt project is now at an end, however you can read about our new Heritage Lottery funded Inverclyde wide project Identity here. Part of that project will involve an animation by St John's Primary School, Port Glasgow, celebrating the history of The Comet, to be released during the bicentennial next year.

Information on The Comet Rebuilt project forms part of a case study for the Employability and Tackling Poverty learning Network, which you can now read here.

This poem was composed after the second wreck of The Comet on 21st October 1825, when 70 souls were lost. Read all about it on this broadside published at the time.


“A strain of music echo’d o’er the deep
And sounds of feet responsive to that strain
“Tis midnight now- yet still in fitful sweep
Across the water comes that sound again
And hark! The glad shout of the festive train
Now mingles with the pibroch’s martial yell
Oh never to a mountaineer in vain
Is pour’d the music of his native dell
To him it speaks od things no language ere can tell

“The moon hath sunk-still the heaven is bright
And o’er the deep a cold effulgence throws
No sound of pleasures now alarms the night-
The wearied heart of joy hath sought repose
But hark! It was a cry of woe that rose
A cry of woe and terror-and the stroke
Of timber crashing in the fearful close
Of bark to bark wild rushing to the shock
Far through the silent night in thunder accents broke!

“A pause! A momentary pause!-Where now
Are the gay revellers?- Lo! the splintered deck
Still bears a darkened cloud but mark ye how
That troubled mass doth heave and toss and break
Like toiling waves by sunk-rocks held in check
Again the wild astounding cry of fear
Rings o’er the waters- while the shatter’d wreck
Half reels in madness round-its last career-
Oh must so many die-and yet is help so near?

“Once more a shriek arose-a wilder shriek-
A cry of mortal anguish and despair
One more a hundred frantic voices break
Through the calm stillness of the midnight air
“Tis past heard ye the rushing waters there
The momentary plash-the chocking  groan?
Where is the gallant vessel now-and where
The hearts that beat so high an hour agone?
Over their lowly bed the night-wave maketh moan

“Alas for them the beautiful the brave
The young the lov’d the happy the rever’d
Cold was their portion in the gloomy wave
Far from the home to which they were endear’d
Far from the friends who every pang had cheered
But many a strangers heart for them hath bled
And often yet when Dian’s lamp upreared
O’er yonder hill shall light their watery bed
The silent tear for them shall unrestrain’d be shed.