George Pope Morris

(1802-1864 / USA)

A Leap For Life


OLD Ironsides at anchor lay,
In the harbor of Mahon;
A dead calm rested on the bay -
The waves to sleep had gone;
When little Jack, the captain's son,
With gallant hardihood,
Climbed shroud and spar - and then upon
The main-truck rose and stood!

A shudder ran through every vein -
All eyes were turned on high!
There stood the boy, with dizzy brain,
Between the sea and sky!
No hold had he above - below,
Alone he stood in air!
At that far height none dared to go -
No aid could reach him there.

We gazed - but not a man could speak! -
With horror all aghast
In groups, with pallid brow and cheek,
We watched the quivering mast.
The atmosphere grew thick and hot,
And of a lurid hue,
As, riveted unto the spot,
Stood officer and crew.

The father camon on deck - He gasped,
'O, God, Thy will be done!'
Then suddenly a rifle grasped,
And aimed it at his son!
'Jump far out, boy, into the wave!
Jump, or I fire!' he said:
'That only chance your life can save!
Jump - jump, boy!' - He obeyed.

He sank - he rose - he lived - he moved -
He for the ship struck out!
On board we hailed the lad beloved
With many a manly shout.
His father drew, in silent joy,
Those wet arms round his neck,
Then folded to his heart the boy,
And fainted on the deck!

Submitted: Wednesday, October 06, 2010

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