Burnside, Helen Marion - "Man the Lifeboat" A Poem from 1910

Burnside, Helen Marion - "Man the Lifeboat" A Poem from 1910
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Product Description

This poem is in a children's book by the same name, published circa 1910. A quick search of the internet has not found a copy so, I have decided to place it here. I hope you enjoy it...

"Man the Lifeboat" by Helen Marion Burnside - circa 1910


"Ah there's many a score of lives been saved

From the cruel rocks" quoth Ben -

By the daring pluck, and the wondrous luck

Of "The Earl" and her dauntless men!


Aye, she's called "The Earl" don't you know the tale?

Why each child on the coast can tell,

How our lifeboat came by the noble name

Of a lad whom we all love well.


Here give me your hand, - there is room for two

On the seat that they call my throne -

If you'd like to hear of the night last year,

When "The Queen o' the Sea" went down?


I must tell you first how a brave young Lord

Came a wooing our Lady fair,

Who had grown from child into maiden mild,

In the house on thill up there.


Now I'll tell you mate of the night last year,

Of the night of that tempest dread,

When the waves leapt high to the inky sky,

And the storm fiend shrieked o'erhead.


'Twas just as the angry sun went down

That we sighted a ship afar,

And the hollow boom of the seething foam,

Peeled loud from the harbour bar.


She was driving full on the rocks out there,

And as soon as the darkness fell,

Her guns dull roar struck the ears ashore

Like the sound of a passing bell.


Then the days went by and the schooner stold

They had sent to search came home,

But never a word of the yacht she'd heard,

That had aunk 'neath the northern foam.


Came the Lady May as she used to do.

'Mongst the fisherfolk again,

But so sad and wan, ot a boy or man

But had died, could it save her pain.


And our lifeboat fair was her freewill gift

In remembrance iplie of him,

As she named it here by the tiny pier,

Not an eye but will tears was dim.


'Twas a gallant lad, and her heart he won,

We were told they would soon be wed,

And he loved each sod that her light foot trod,

And each hair of her bright young head.


Then the Lady May went to London town,

And the Earl sailed over the sea,

In his white-winged yacht to some distant spot,

Where the seal and the salmon be.


And the next we heard - Sailor Ben went on

With a tear in his eye of blue

Was the yacht was lost on a foreign coast,

With the Earl and his stalwart crew.


Then back to her home on the green hillside

Came our own sweet Lady May,

But alas, for the smart of her broken heart

We could only weep and pray.


A crowd had gathered, upon the strand -

All the fisherfolk turned out,

And now and then we could hear the men

By the lifeboat hoarsely shout


But the sailors said that she could not live

In that seething whirlpool white,

And the stormy cloud like an inky shroud,

Hid the fated ship from sight.


Twas suddenly then as it seemed to me,

That the lady May stood there,

While the wind and spray had their own wild way

With the curls of her golden hair.


Again the gun' and a light shot up

Far into the black, black sky.

And shewed the ship in the awful grip,

Of the rocks that to leeward lie.


"Man the lifeboat friends," cried the Lady May

"Ah, I knew you were brave and true -

There are lives to save from the hungry wave,

And I'll dare, or I'll die with you."


The a cheer 'twould have thrilled your heart to hear

Range out on the wild dark night,

And the men were afloat in their gallent boat,

And were lost our straining sight.


The women had closed round the Lady May

And per force had held her back.

But she stood on the sand 'midst the anxious band,

Who peered through the rain and wrack.


The flicking light of our lanterns shone

Over faces, pale with dread,

And the white splime flew, and the wild wind blew

From our lips the wrods we said.


And each one prayed in his heart I ween,

As he never had prayed before,

In that hour of fear - lest the one most dear

Should never come back to shore.


And almost before we had dared to hope

Came another ringing cheer -

As our boat rod home o'er the flashing foam,

With its freight so brave and dear.


And for many a week, they had sailed and sailed,

Ere they came to a foreign land,

And far away from his home that day,

Was the Earl and his faithful band.


Then for more long weeks they'd been sailing home,

When the boat that's our joy and pride,

Brought the lover back, through the blinding wrack,

To the feet of his promised bride.


'Twas a grand grand day when the twain were wed,

And the lifeboat's gallant crew

The groom and the bride, up the steep hillside,

From the churche in the valley drew.


And the last we saw of the Lady May,

Was the smile on her winsome face,

As she drove away on her marriage day,

From the home of her ancient race.


"But I climb to my throne," added sailor Ben

As he bared his silver head -

"And gaze afar o'er the harbour bar,

And think of that hour of dread".


"Oft hand in hand when the night is wild,

Sit my old wife Nan and I,

By our own fireside we can hear the tide,

And the wind, and the curlew's cry."


"While softly we talk of the bygone days

When our two brave boys went home -

Ah, a fearsome road, though it leads to God

Is the road through the salt sea foam!"


There's a lifeboat mate that will bear us safe,

Though the tempest rage o'erhead -

And 'twill rage no more on that calm bright shore

Where the sea gives up its dead.


We shall soon set sail, the old wife and I

For the port where our dear lads be,

And, ah, how sweet it will be to meet

On the shores of Eternity!"


Helen Marion Burnside, 1910