James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

November 26

He Never Smiled Again

By Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793–1835)

  • Prince William, the oldest son of Henry I, was returning from France with his retinue on board the White Ship when she struck on a rock and went down on Nov. 26, 1120. The prince was drowned and it is said that his father never smiled again.

  • THE BARK that held a prince went down,

    The sweeping waves roll’d on;

    And what was England’s glorious crown

    To him that wept a son?

    He lived—for life may long be borne

    Ere sorrow break its chain;

    Why comes not death for those who mourn?—

    He never smiled again!

    There stood proud forms around his throne,

    The stately and the brave;

    But which could fill the place of one,

    That one beneath the wave?

    Before him pass’d the young and fair,

    In pleasure’s reckless train;

    But seas dash’d o’er his son’s bright hair—

    He never smiled again!

    He sat where festal bowls went round,

    He heard the minstrel sing,

    He saw the tourney’s victor crown’d,

    Amidst the knightly ring:

    A murmur of the restless deep

    Was blent with every strain,

    A voice of winds that would not sleep—

    He never smiled again.

    Hearts, in that time, closed o’er the trace

    Of vows once fondly pour’d,

    And strangers took the kinsman’s place

    At many a joyous board;

    Graves, which true love had bathed with tears,

    Were left to heaven’s bright rain,

    Fresh hopes were born for other years—

    He never smiled again!