CAPE COD BALLADS
Where leap the long Atlantic swells In foam-streaked stretch of hill and dale, Where shrill the north-wind demon yells, And flings the spindrift down the gale; Where, beaten 'gainst the bending mast, The frozen raindrop clings and cleaves, With steadfast front for calm or blast His battered schooner rocks and heaves. To same the gain, to some the loss, To each the chance, the risk, the fight: For men must die that men may live— Lord, may we steer our course aright.. The dripping deck beneath him reels, The flooded scuppers spout the brine; He heeds them not, he only feels The tugging of a tightened line. The grim white sea-fog o'er him throws Its clammy curtain, damp and cold; He minds it not—his work he knows, 'T is but to fill an empty hold. Oft, driven through the night's blind wrack, He feels the dread berg's ghastly breath, Or hears draw nigh through walls of black A throbbing engine chanting death; But with a calm, unwrinkled brow He fronts them, grim and undismayed, For storm and ice and liner's bow— These are but chances of the trade. Yet well he knows—where'er it be, On low Cape Cod or bluff Cape Ann— With straining eyes that search the sea A watching woman waits her man: He knows it, and his love is deep, But work is work, and bread is bread, And though men drown and women weep The hungry thousands must be fed. To some the gain, to some the loss, To each his chance, the game with Fate: For men must die that men may live— Dear Lord, be kind to those who wait.
THE SONG OF THE SEA
Oh, the song of the Sea— The wonderful song of the Sea! Like the far-off hum of a throbbing drum It steals through the night to me: And my fancy wanders free To a little seaport town, And a spot I knew, where the roses grew By a cottage small and brown; And a child strayed up and down O'er hillock and beach and lea, And crept at dark to his bed, to hark To the wonderful song of the Sea. Oh, the song of the Sea— The mystical song of the Sea! What strains of joy to a dreaming boy That music was wont to be! And the night-wind through the tree Was a perfumed breath that told Of the spicy gales that filled the sails Where the tropic billows rolled And the rovers hid their gold By the lone palm on the key,— But the whispering wave their secret gave In the mystical song of the Sea. Oh, the song of the Sea— The beautiful song of the Sea! The mighty note from the ocean's throat, The laugh of the wind in glee! And swift as the ripples flee With the surges down the shore, It bears me back, o'er life's long track, To home and its love once more. I stand at the open door, Dear mother, again with thee, And hear afar on the booming bar The beautiful song of the Sea.
THE WIND’S SONG
Oh, the wild November wind, How it blew! How the dead leaves rasped and rustled, Soared and sank and buzzed and bustled As they flew; While above the empty square, Seeming skeletons in air, Battered branches, brown and bare, Gauntly grinned; And the frightened dust-clouds, flying. Heard the calling and the crying Of the wind,— The wild November wind. Oh, the wild November wind, How it screamed! How it moaned and mocked and muttered At the cottage window, shuttered, Whence there streamed Fitful flecks of firelight mild: And within, a mother smiled, Singing softly to her child As there dinned Round the gabled roof and rafter Long and loud the shout and laughter Of the wind,— The wild November wind. Oh, the wild November wind, How it rang Through the rigging of a vessel Rocking where the great waves wrestle! And it sang, Light and low, that mother's song; And the master, staunch and strong, Heard the sweet strain drift along— Softened, thinned,— Heard the tightened cordage ringing Till it seemed a loved voice singing In the wind,— The wild November wind.
Categories: English Literature