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Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Tales of a Wayside Inn


The jolly skipper paused awhile,
  And then again began;
"There is a Spectre Ship," quoth he,
"A ship of the Dead that sails the sea,
  And is called the Carmilhan.

"A ghostly ship, with a ghostly crew,
  In tempests she appears;
And before the gale, or against the gale,
She sails without a rag of sail,
  Without a helmsman steers.

"She haunts the Atlantic north and south,
  But mostly the mid-sea,
Where three great rocks rise bleak and bare
Like furnace-chimneys in the air,
  And are called the Chimneys Three.

"And ill betide the luckless ship
  That meets the Carmilhan;
Over her decks the seas will leap,
She must go down into the deep,
  And perish mouse and man."

The captain of the Valdemar
  Laughed loud with merry heart.
"I should like to see this ship," said he;
"I should like to find these Chimneys Three,
  That are marked down in the chart.

"I have sailed right over the spot," he said
  "With a good stiff breeze behind,
When the sea was blue, and the sky was clear,--
You can follow my course by these pinholes here,--
  And never a rock could find."

And then he swore a dreadful oath,
  He swore by the Kingdoms Three,
That, should he meet the Carmilhan,
He would run her down, although he ran
  Right into Eternity!

All this, while passing to and fro,
The cabin-boy had heard;
He lingered at the door to hear,
And drank in all with greedy ear,
  And pondered every word.

He was a simple country lad,
  But of a roving mind.
"O, it must be like heaven," thought he,
"Those far-off foreign lands to see,
  And fortune seek and find!"

But in the fo'castle, when he heard
  The mariners blaspheme,
He thought of home, he thought of God,
And his mother under the churchyard sod,
  And wished it were a dream.

One friend on board that ship had he;
  'T was the Klaboterman,
Who saw the Bible in his chest,
And made a sign upon his breast,
  All evil things to ban.