The Haunted Beach

Upon a lonely desert beach
Where the white foam was scattered,
A little shed upreared its head,
Though lofty barks were shattered.
The seaweeds gath'ring near the door
A sombre path displayed,
And all around, the deaf'ning roar
Re-echoed on the chalky shore,
By the green billows made.

Above, a jutting cliff was seen
Where sea-birds hovered, craving,
And all around the crags were bound
With weeds, forever waving;
And here and there, a cavern wide
Its shad'wy jaws displayed,
And near the sands, at ebb of tide,
A shivered mast was seen to ride
Where the green billows strayed.

And often, while the moaning wind
Stole o'er the summer ocean,
The moonlight scene was all serene,
The waters scarce in motion;
Then while the smoothly slanting sand
The tall cliff wrapped in shade,
The fisherman beheld a band
Of spectres gliding hand in hand,
Where the green billows played.

And pale their faces were as snow,
And sullenly they wandered;
And to the skies, with hollow eyes,
They looked, as though they pondered.
And sometimes from their hammock shroud
They dismal howlings made;
And while the blast blew strong and loud
The clear moon marked the ghastly crowd
Where the green billows played.

And then above the haunted hut,
The curlews, screaming, hovered;
And the low door, with furious roar,
The frothy breakers covered.
For in the fisherman's lone shed
A murdered man was laid,
With ten wide gashes on his head;
And deep was made his sandy bed
Where the green billows played.

A shipwrecked mariner was he,
Doomed from his home to sever,
Who swore to be, through wind and sea,
Firm and undaunted ever;
And when the wave resistless rolled,
About his arm he made
A packet rich of Spanish gold,
And, like a British sailor bold,
Plunged where the billows played.

The spectre band, his messmates brave,
Sunk in the yawning ocean,
While to the mast he lashed him fast
And braved the storm's commotion.
The winter moon upon the sand
A silv'ry carpet made,
And marked the sailor reach the land,
And marked his murd'rer wash his hand,
Where the green billows played.

And since that hour the fisherman
Has toiled and toiled in vain;
For all the night, the moony light
Gleams on the spectred main.
And when the skies are veiled in gloom,
The murd'rer's liquid way
Bounds o'er the deeply yawning tomb,
And flashing fires the sands illume
Where the green billows play.

Full thirty years his task has been,
Day after day more weary;
For Heaven designed his guilty mind
Should feed on prospects dreary.
Bound by a strong and mystic chain,
He has not pow'r to stray,
But destined mis'ry to sustain,
He wastes, in solitude and pain,
A loathsome life away.
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