© Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester MA

And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
Towards the reef of Norman’s Woe.

At daybreak on the bleak sea beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
Lashed close to a drifting mast.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow The Wreck of the Hesperus

From here you can see the distinct rock reef, the site of several ship wrecks, off Gloucester’s Magnolia shore. The brig Favorite sank in here in December 1839. All 20 were lost—including a woman found lashed to a bit of wood. Longfellow penned “The Wreck of the Hesperus” a few weeks later.