I found your poem, and as it was published in the 19th century, it is
no longer copyright-protected, so I have reproduced it in full, below,
complete with its surprise ending!
Let me know if you need any additional information.
DRIFTED OUT TO SEA
by ROSE HARTWICK THORPE
Two little ones, grown tired of play,
Roamed by the sea, one summer day,
Watching the great waves come and go,
Prattling, as children will, you know,
Of dolls and marbles, kites and strings;
Sometimes hinting at graver things.
At last they spied within their reach
An old boat cast upon the beach;
Helter-skelter, with merry din,
Over its sides they scrambled in, --
Ben, with his tangled, nut-brown hair,
Bess, with her sweet face flushed and fair.
Rolling in from the briny deep,
Nearer, nearer, the great waves creep,
Higher, higher, upon the sands,
Reaching out with their giant hands,
Grasping the boat in boisterous glee,
Tossing it up and out to sea.
The sun went down, 'mid clouds of gold;
Night came, with footsteps damp and cold;
Day dawned; the hours crept slowly by;
And now across the sunny sky
A black cloud stretches far away,
And shuts the golden gates of day.
A storm comes on, with flash and roar,
While all the sky is shrouded o'er;
The great waves, rolling from the west,
Bring night and darkness on their breast.
Still floats the boat through driving storm,
Protected by God's powerful arm.
The home-bound vessel, "Sea-bird," lies
In ready trim, 'twixt sea and skies:
Her captain paces, restless now,
A troubled look upon his brow,
While all his nerves with terror thrill, --
The shadow of some coming ill.
The mate comes up to where he stands,
And grasps his arm with eager hands.
"A boat has just swept past," says he,
"Bearing two children out to sea;
It is dangerous now to put about,
Yet they cannot be saved without."
"Nought but their safety will suffice!
They must be saved!" the captain cries.
"By every thought that's just and right,
By lips I hoped to kiss to-night,
I'll peril vessel, life, and men,
And God will not forsake us then."
With anxious faces, one and all,
Each man responded to the call;
And when at last, through driving storm,
They lifted up each little form,
The captain started, with a groan:
"My God is good, they are my own!"
The poem can be found in:
THE WORLD'S BEST POETRY
VOLUME 7. PAGE 438
ROTH PUBLISHING, 1981
search strategy: searched on-line specialty databases for literature
sources with the phrase "prattling as children"