OFF the Cornish coast, in the English Channel, lies a group of gneiss rocks, six or seven hundred miles long, called the: Eddystone. The great waves sweep over them night and day, making them at all times very dangerous. Formerly they were the cause of many disastrous ship wrecks.  Winstanley, a mercer of London, whose picture is given in the accompanying engraving, was the first to entertain the thought that it was possible to build a lighthouse on this dangerous spot. He was the owner of five goodly merchant ships, two of which were wrecked off the Eddystone when coming into port, freighted with costly cargoes.  The first, the good ship Snowdrop, "tarried long," till the owner grew anxious for the safety of the crew; and then, as Jean Ingelow has so well told it, one day—



"Two mariners stepped down the street,

With looks of grief and fear:

'Now, if Winstanley be your name,

 We bring you evil cheer!"


'For the good ship Snowdrop struck

—she struck on the rock,—the Eddystone,

And down she went with threescore men,

We two being left alone."


'But the noble man mourned not so much for his lost merchandise,

 as for the brave lives that had been sacrificed in his service.

"The Snowdrop sank at Lammas-tide,

All under the yeastly spray;


On Christmas Eve the brig Content

Was also cast away.

"She was a fair ship, but all's one! 

For naught could bide the shock.—


'I will take a horse,' Winstanley said,

'And see this deadly rock."

'For never again shall bark o' mine

Sail o'er the windy sea,


Unless, by the blessing of God,

For this Be found a remedy."

Then he went to the mayor,

And told of his loss, making this request


"'Lend me a lighter, good Master Mayor,

And a score of shipwrights free;

For I think to raise a lantern tower

On this rock o' destiny.'


"The old Mayor laughed, but sighed also:

Ah, youth,' quoth he, 'is rash;

Sooner, young man,

 thou'dst root it out


From the sea that doth it lash.

"Hast gold in hand then light the land,

It 'longs to thee and me;

But let alone the deadly rock


In God Almighty's sea.'

"But he would, not be dissuaded from his purpose,

and so the Mayor granted his request; and

"He wrought at ebb with bar and beam,


He sailed to shore at flow;

And at his side, by that same tide,

Came bar and beam also."


Nothing daunted, he toiled on for four long

years, battling with the wind and waves of the

ocean, and with that bitterer storm of scorn and

opposition on land, until, at last-

"Up the stair Winstanley went,

To fire the wick afar;

And Plymouth in the silent night

Looked out and saw her star."

Three years it withstood the shock of the waves;

but on one wild night, while Winstanley himself

was at the tower,--

"The winds broke, and the storm broke,

And wrecks came plunging in.


"The great mad waves were rolling graves,

And each flung up its dead;

The seething flow was white below,

And black the sky o'er head."



When morning broke, the lighthouse tower was

down—" down in the deep where he doth sleep,

who made it shine afar "—

worker and work buried in one common grave

In 1709, Rudyerd erected a lighthouse on the

same spot. This was burned by fire; and in 1759,

one of solid masonry took its place. This tower

was in use until 1882, when, being considered unsafe

on account of the wearing away of the rock

on which it stood, it was superseded by a larger

and better one.

Can we call the first work a defeat'!

It was a grand victory.

"Men called Winstanley crazy;

but he had an angel's thoughts."

Though his work was all imperfect,

he led the way, and to him

is honor due;—


"For the spirit of the father

Has fallen on the son.

And Englishmen, with one accord,

Unite to make it known,

'That a light shall shine forevermore

From the wild rock Eddystone."




BOOKS, like friends, should be few and well chosen.