Friday, March 3, 2017

THE WHITE SHIP

KING HENRY, the Handsome Scholar, had
one son named William, whom he dearly loved. The
young man was noble and brave, and everybody
hoped that he would some day be the King of
England.
One summer Prince William went with his
father across the sea to look after their lands in
France. They were welcomed with joy by all their
people there, and the young prince was so gallant
and kind, that he won the love of all who saw him.
But at last the time came for them to go back
to England. The king, with his wise men and brave
knights, set sail early in the day; but Prince William
with his younger friends waited a little while. They
had had so joyous a time in France that they were in
no great haste to tear themselves away.
Then they went on board of the ship which
was waiting to carry them home. It was a beautiful
ship with white sails and white masts, and it had
been fitted up on purpose for this voyage.
The sea was smooth, the winds were fair and
no one thought of danger. On the ship, everything
had been arranged to make the trip a pleasant one.
There was music and dancing, and everybody was
merry and glad.
The sun had gone down before the whitewinged
vessel was fairly out of the bay. But what of
that? The moon was at its full, and it would give light
enough; and before the dawn of the morrow, the
narrow sea would be crossed. And so the prince, and
the young people who were with him, gave
themselves up to merriment and feasting and joy.
The earlier hours of the night passed by; and
then there was a cry of alarm on deck. A moment
afterward there was a great crash. The ship had
struck upon a rock. The water rushed in. She was
sinking. Ah, where now were those who had lately
been so heart-free and glad?
Every heart was full of fear. No one knew
what to do. A small boat was quickly launched, and
the prince with a few of his bravest friends leaped
into it. They pushed off just as the ship was
beginning to settle beneath the waves. Would they
be saved?
They had rowed hardly ten yards from the
ship, when there was a cry from among those that
were left behind.
“Row back!” cried the prince. “It is my little
sister. She must be saved!”
The men did not dare to disobey. The boat
was again brought alongside of the sinking vessel.
The prince stood up, and held out his arms for his
sister. At that moment the ship gave a great lurch
forward into the waves. One shriek of terror was
heard, and then all was still save the sound of the
moaning waters.
Ship and boat, prince and princess, and all the
gay company that had set sail from France, went
down to the bottom together. One man clung to a
floating plank, and was saved the next day. He was
the only person left alive to tell the sad story.
When King Henry heard of the death of his
son, his grief was more than he could bear. His heart
was broken. He had no more joy in life; and men say
that no one ever saw him smile again.
Here is a poem about him that your teacher
may read to you, and perhaps, after a while, you may
learn it by heart.

HE NEVER SMILED AGAIN
The bark that held the prince went down,
The sweeping waves rolled on;
And what was England’s glorious crown
To him that wept a son?
He lived, for life may long be borne
Ere sorrow breaks its chain:
Why comes not death to those who mourn?
He never smiled again.
There stood proud forms before his throne,
The stately and the brave;
But who could fill the place of one,—
That one beneath the wave?
Before him passed the young and fair,
In pleasure’s reckless train;
But seas dashed o’er his son’s bright hair—
He never smiled again.
He sat where festal bowls went round;
He heard the minstrel sing;
He saw the tourney’s victor crowned
Amid the knightly ring.
A murmur of the restless deep
Was blent with every strain,
A voice of winds that would not sleep—
He never smiled again.
Hearts, in that time, closed o’er the trace
Of vows once fondly poured,
And strangers took the kinsman’s place
At many a joyous board;
Graves which true love had bathed with tears
Were left to heaven’s bright rain;
Fresh hopes were born for other years—
He never smiled again!

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