**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Poem.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Garrison Of Cape Ann
by [?]

Midnight came; from out the forest moved a
dusky mass that soon
Grew to warriors, plumed and painted, grimly
marching in the moon.
“Ghosts or witches,” said the captain, “thus I foil
the Evil One!”
And he rammed a silver button, from his doublet,
down his gun.

Once again the spectral horror moved the guarded
wall about;
Once again the levelled muskets through the palisades
flashed out,
With that deadly aim the squirrel on his tree-top
might not shun,
Nor the beach-bird seaward flying with his slant
wing to the sun.

Like the idle rain of summer sped the harmless
shower of lead.
With a laugh of fierce derision, once again the
phantoms fled;
Once again, without a shadow on the sands the
moonlight lay,
And the white smoke curling through it drifted
slowly down the bay!

“God preserve us!” said the captain; “never
mortal foes were there;
They have vanished with their leader, Prince and
Power of the air!
Lay aside your useless weapons; skill and prowess
naught avail;
They who do the Devil’s service wear their master’s
coat of mail!”

So the night grew near to cock-crow, when again
a warning call
Roused the score of weary soldiers watching round
the dusky hall
And they looked to flint and priming, and they
longed for break of day;
But the captain closed his Bible: “Let us cease
from man, and pray!”

To the men who went before us, all the unseen
powers seemed near,
And their steadfast strength of courage struck its
roots in holy fear.
Every hand forsook the musket, every head was
bowed and bare,
Every stout knee pressed the flag-stones, as the
captain led in prayer.

Ceased thereat the mystic marching of the spectres
round the wall,
But a sound abhorred, unearthly, smote the ears
and hearts of all,–
Howls of rage and shrieks of anguish! Never
after mortal man
Saw the ghostly leaguers marching round the
block-house of Cape Ann.

So to us who walk in summer through the cool and
sea-blown town,
From the childhood of its people comes the solemn
legend down.
Not in vain the ancient fiction, in whose moral
lives the youth
And the fitness and the freshness of an undecaying

Soon or late to all our dwellings come the spectres
of the mind,
Doubts and fears and dread forebodings, in the
darkness undefined;
Round us throng the grim projections of the heart
and of the brain,
And our pride of strength is weakness, and the
cunning hand is vain.

In the dark we cry like children; and no answer
from on high
Breaks the crystal spheres of silence, and no white
wings downward fly;
But the heavenly help we pray for comes to faith,
and not to sight,
And our prayers themselves drive backward all the
spirits of the night!