The Tempest

The sails in shreds, the helm all smashed, the roar
Of waves through blasting storm, and fearful cries
As pumps are manned. From sailors' hands last ropes
Have slipped. The sun in blood sinks down: hope's gone.

Triumphantly the tempest howls; from sea's
Abyss, on watery mountains, death's own genius
Tramples on the ship like soldier who,
Once walls are breached, on rampart sets his foot.

Some sprawl half-dead, some wring their hands; one throws
Himself into protective arms' god speed;
Another, faced with death, prays mercy quick.

A traveller stood silent and apart,
Imbued with thought: Happy whose feeling lasts
His strength, who prays and who can bid good speed!

by Adam Mickiewicz

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