“The Ghost Ship” By Thomas Moore

Yon shadowy bark hath been to that wreck,
And the dim blue fire that lights her deck
Doth play on as pale and livid a crew
As ever yet drank the churchyard dew!

Welcome to Dweller of the Dark!

We are a channel honoring the yellowed and blackened bones of many prominent authors. We will be digging up several obscure, strange, and forgotten authors who influenced many of the great horror, science fiction, and fantasy writer’s today.

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Recently we had our tomb disturbed with some exciting news. The Horror Writer’s Association contacted us for verification to the prestigious Bram Stoker competition. It was for the collection “Wolves, Wings, and Other Things”. Needless to say we’ll have our claws crossed and break a wishbone or three for luck. If we win a Stoker, most certainly, we’ll howl at the moon.

We are passing Dead Man’s Island. Hear the roar of towering waves as they crash against rock and sand shore off the coast of Newfoundland. In the distance between freezing ice and rolling fog we see a twisted, wrecked pirate ship. As you smell the brine and seaweed, you can see the long, ghostly shadows haunting the ancient vessel. The aged, creaking hull solemnly sits in foamed surf. Cold winds howl their discontent and invite you to stay an eternal guest onboard the decayed structure. This is “The Ghost Ship” of Thomas Moore.

 Thomas Moore was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of “The Minstrel Boy” and “The Last Rose of Summer”. As Lord Byron’s named literary executor, along with John Murray, Moore was responsible for burning Lord Byron’s memoirs after his death. In his lifetime, having translated and sung the works of Anacreon, he was often referred to by the Prince of Wales and other in his social circle as Anacreon Moore.

Moore was initially a good student, but he later put less effort into his studies due to much social upheaval occurring at the time. His time at Trinity came amidst the ongoing turmoil following the French Revolution, and a number of his fellow students such as Robert Emmet were supporters of the United Irishmen Movement. Moore was warned by family and friends to not involve himself and was never an official member. This movement sought support from the French government to launch a revolution in Ireland. In 1798 a rebellion broke out followed by a French invasion, neither of which succeeded. Moore’s friend Robert Emmet was put to death after the United Irishmen had been captured. A heartfelt poem by Thomas Moore to the deceased Emmett so eloquently describes the spirit of sacrifice by the brave Irishman.

This poem is greatly recommended by this writer.

It can be said that Thomas Moore didn’t suffer criticism well.  Criticized in Britain for his book “Epistles, Odes, and Other Poems” among other famous verses, Thomas Moore challenged the critic, Lord Francis Jeffrey, to a duel. They met at Chalk Farm, but the duel was interrupted. With the arrival of the authorities both men were arrested. Reports that Moore’s opponent had been given an empty pistol continued to dog Moore and led to persistent mockery of him. Lord Byron derisively referred to Moore’s “leadless pistol” and wrote: “on examination, the balls of the pistols, like the courage of the combatants, were found to have evaporated.”

Moore, angered by Lord Byron’s jest, sent a letter to Byron. The letter hinted that unless the remarks were clarified Moore was prepared to fight Byron. However, Lord Byron had left Britain to travel abroad and the letter did not reach him.

Now let us journey across haunted seas to Deadman’s Isle. Will this ghost ship commandeer new souls to sail for its voyage eternal?

The Ghost Ship

by Thomas Moore

Written on passing Dead-Man’s Island

See you, beneath yon cloud so dark,

Fast gliding along, a gloomy bark?

Her sails are full, though the wind is still,

And there blows not a breath her sails to fill!

Oh! what doth that vessel of darkness bear?

The silent calm of the grave is there,

Save now and again a death-knell rung,

And the flap of the sails, with night-fog hung!

There lieth a wreck on the dismal shore

Of cold and pitiless Labrador;

Where, under the moon, upon mounts of frost,

Full many a mariner’s bones are tost!

Yon shadowy bark hath been to that wreck,

And the dim blue fire that lights her deck

Doth play on as pale and livid a crew

As ever yet drank the churchyard dew!

To Dead-Man’s Isle, in the eye of the blast,

To Dead-Man’s Isle, she speeds her fast;

By skeleton shapes her sails are furl’d,

And the hand that steers is not of this world!

Oh! hurry thee on – oh! hurry thee on,

Thou terrible bark! ere the night be gone,

Nor let morning look on so foul a sight

As would blanch for ever her rosy light!

Writer’s Note:

Dead-man’s Island is one of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf Of St. Lawrence, and, singularly enough, is the property of Sir Isaac Coffin. The above lines were suggested by a superstition very common among sailors, who called this ghost ship, I think, The Flying Dutchman.

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