The Legend Of A Pass Christian

A Live-oak grows by the shallow sea.
Rest under its boughs, I pray,
And hear of the pirate—bold was he—
And the lady he stole away.

He was a black-browed buccaneer,
And she like a snow-drop white.
From a scuttled ship he bore her clear
As it sunk in the haggard night.

And with bell and book he wedded her.
And shaped her to his will.
Yet though her body could not stir
Her soul escaped him still.

Though we be wed and vows be said,
Though beaten sore I be,
I'm naught of thine, thou'rt naught of mine,
God loose these bonds from me!

On through long days and nights of woe
The black ship held its way.
It faced the iceberg topped with snow,
It scoured the tropic bay.

Through nights and days of wrath and dread
The ship sped darkly on.
Behind it like a trail of red
Its path glared to the sun.

And fiercer rose the skipper's pride,
And black his anger grew,
That he who man and God defied
One soul could not subdue.

Ah, many a pain and many a stain
We women bear for men;
Yet blest is she whose soul is free
Even in the dragon’s den.

And when he knew nor time nor fate
Could bring him his desire,
He held dark converse with his hate
To find a vengeance dire.

And many an oath to hell he cast
While, in the devil's name,
He bound his lady to the mast
And set the ship aflame.

Long hast thou hated me, he cried,
Now laugh aloud in glee!
Though thou shouldst call me o'er the tide,
I come not back to thee.

The sea is deep, and I shall sleep
Softly beneath the wave.
Faith, thou canst kill; now do thy will,
And bless me with a grave.

Swiftly the royal sun dropped down
Deep in his purple bed.
And swiftly, at the skipper's frown,
His oarsmen shoreward sped.

The sudden night fell soft and dark
On lonely sea and shore
Before back at the fated bark
Its captain gazed once more.

I know not if the thing he hailed
From hell or heaven came—
A livid ship that sailless sailed,
Lit up by song and flame.

Far out to sea I flee, I flee—
Oh, heaven is far away!
My days are done under the sun—
Why must I longer stay!

Row fast; row fast; yet shall he hear
Naught but that wailing now.
Yet shall he see, through nights of fear,
That figure at the prow.

Long years, under this live-oak tree,
Naught else he saw and heard.
At last once more he put to sea,
By a strange passion stirred.

The loud storm roared and flashed that night
And never night nor day
Saw the old pirate's shallop white
Drift back across the bay.

Now we, who wait one night a year
Under these branches long,
May see a flaming ship, and hear
The echo of a song.

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Harriet Monroe

Harriet Monroe was an American editor, scholar, literary critic, poet and patron of the arts. more…

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"The Legend Of A Pass Christian" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 4 Jun 2020. <>.

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