John F. McCullagh
We were west of the Azores,
Five days out of New York,
when we spotted the Mary Celeste.
She was listing to Leeward
But still under sail
with no obvious sign of distress.
Briggs, Her captain, I knew
as a man good and true
And his shipmates
were capable men.
We hailed, but no answer,
So I send men aboard
To find out what had become of them.
Her cargo intact, just one lifeboat gone
And a rope that trailed aft in the sea.
Something had caused them
To abandon their ship
but why was a mystery to me.
There are storms on the Ocean
As winter draws near;
A sea grave was their likely fate
Or else they were drifting
Ever farther from shore
with nothing to eat on their plates.
I gave thanks to God’s grace
that cold, indifferent Fate’s
bony fingers had not touched on me
and I wept for my friends
of the Mary Celeste
who would never
come home from the sea.
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