Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Hurricane
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
HAPPY the man who, safe on shore,
Now trims, at home, his evening fire;
Unmoved, he hears the tempests roar,
That on the tufted groves expire:
Alas! on us they doubly fall,        5
Our feeble bark must bear them all.
Now to their haunts the birds retreat,
The squirrel seeks his hollow tree,
Wolves in their shaded caverns meet,
All, all are bless’d but wretched we—        10
Foredoom’d a stranger to repose,
No rest the unsettled ocean knows.
While o’er the dark abyss we roam,
Perhaps, whate’er the pilots say,
We saw the sun descend in gloom,        15
No more to see his rising ray,
But buried low, by far too deep,
On coral beds, unpitied, sleep!
But what a strange, uncoasted strand
Is that, where fate permits no day—        20
No charts have we to mark that land,
No compass to direct that way.
What pilot shall explore that realm,
What new Columbus take the helm?
While death and darkness both surround,        25
And tempests rage with lawless power,
Of friendship’s voice I hear no sound,
No comfort in this dreadful hour—
What friendship can in tempests be,
What comfort on this troubled sea?        30
The bark, accustom’d to obey,
No more the trembling pilots guide;
Alone she gropes her trackless way,
While mountains burst on either side—
Thus, skill and science both must fall;        35
And ruin is the lot of all.

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