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     ‘Are all the dead dogs over?’
Growled through that matted lip;
     “The blind ones are no better,
Let's lighten the good ship.”

Hark! from the ship's dark bosom,
     The very sounds of hell!
The ringing clank of iron,
     The maniac's short, sharp yell!
The hoarse, low curse, throat-stifled;
     The starving infant's moan,
The horror of a breaking heart
     Poured through a mother's groan.

Up from that loathsome prison
     The stricken blind ones came:
Below, had all been darkness,
     Above, was still the same.
Yet the holy breath of heaven
     Was sweetly breathing there,
And the heated brow of fever
     Cooled in the soft sea air.

‘Overboard with them, shipmates!’
     Cutlass and dirk were plied;
Fettered and blind, one after one,
     Plunged down the vessel's side.
The sabre smote above,
     Beneath, the lean shark lay,
Waiting with wide and bloody jaw
     His quick and human prey.

God of the earth! what cries
     Rang upward unto thee?

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