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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Island

By Richard Henry Dana, Sr. (1787–1879)

From ‘The Buccaneer

THE ISLAND lies nine leagues away;

Along its solitary shore

Of craggy rock and sandy bay,

No sound but ocean’s roar,

Save where the bold wild sea-bird makes her home,

Her shrill cry coming through the sparkling foam.

But when the light winds lie at rest,

And on the glassy, heaving sea,

The black duck with her glossy breast

Sits swinging silently,

How beautiful! no ripples break the reach,

And silvery waves go noiseless up the beach.

And inland rests the green, warm dell;

The brook comes tinkling down its side;

From out the trees the Sabbath bell

Rings cheerful, far and wide,

Mingling its sound with bleatings of the flocks

That feed about the vale among the rocks.

Nor holy bell nor pastoral bleat

In former days within the vale;

Flapped in the bay the pirate’s sheet;

Curses were on the gale;

Rich goods lay on the sand, and murdered men:

Pirate and wrecker kept their revels then.

But calm, low voices, words of grace,

Now slowly fall upon the ear;

A quiet look is in each face,

Subdued and holy fear.

Each motion gentle; all is kindly done—

Come, listen how from crime this Isle was won.