It might be a bit of an exaggeration to label this a “shipwreck poem,” but three sonorous stanzas about sailors, the sea and a “cumb’ring wreck” counts to me. I came across The Seaman’s Home a few months back while researching early nineteenth-century shipwreck ephemera. I don’t know who wrote it and this is the only copy I’ve found so far. The image above was taken from the January 18, 1802 edition of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s The Oracle of Dauphin, and Harrisburgh Advertiser (great name for a newspaper!). Below is a transcription. Enjoy!
The Seaman’s Home
Oh ye, whose lives on land are pass’d,
And keep from dang’roud seas aloof,
Who careless listen to the blast,
Or beating rains upon the roof;
You little heed how seamen fare,
Condemn’d the angry storm to bear.
Sometimes when breakers vex the tide,
He takes his station on the deck;
He clears away the cumb’ring wreck;
Yet while the billow o’er him foam,
The Ocean is his only home.
Still fresher blows the midnight gale,
“All hands reef top-sails,” are the cries,
And while the clouds the heaven’s veil,
Aloft to reef the sail he flies!
In storms so rending, doom’d to roam,
The ocean is the seamen’s home.