Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE OLD MAN OF THE SEA, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY



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THE OLD MAN OF THE SEA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I'm the old man of the sea - I
Last Line: I'm the old man of the sea.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Courts & Courtiers; Goddesses & Gods; Mythology; Sea; Ocean


I'M The Old Man of the Sea -- I am! --
And this is my secret pride,
That I have a hundred shapes, all sham,
And a hundred names beside:
They have named me "Habit," and "Way," forsooth
"Capricious," and "Fancy-free"; --
But to you, O Youth, I confess the truth, --
I'm The Old Man of the Sea.

I'm The Old Man of the Sea, yo-ho!
So lift up a song with me,
As I sit on the throne of your shoulders, alone,
I'm The Old Man of the Sea.

Crowned with the crown of your noblest thought,
I'm The Old Man of the Sea:
I reign, rule, ruin, and palter not
In my pitiless tyranny:
You, my lad, are my gay Sindbad,
Frisking about, with me
High on the perch I have always had --
I'm The Old Man of the Sea.

I'm The Old Man of the Sea, yo-ho!
So lift up a song with me,
As I sit on the throne of your shoulders, alone,
I'm The Old Man of the Sea.

Tricked in the guise of your best intent,
I am your failures -- all --
I am the victories you invent,
And your high resolves that fall:
I am the vow you are breaking now
As the wassail-bowl swings free
And the red guilt flushes your cheek and brow --
I'm The Old Man of the Sea.

I'm The Old Man of the Sea, yo-ho!
So lift up a song with me,
As I sit on the throne of your shoulders, alone,
I'm The Old Man of the Sea.

I am your false dreams of success
And your mythical future fame --
Your life-long lies, and your soul's distress
And your slowly-dying shame:
I'm the chattering half of your latest laugh,
And your tongue's last perfidy --
Your doom, your tomb, and your epitaph . . .
I'm The Old Man of the Sea.

I'm The Old Man of the Sea, yo-ho!
So lift up a song with me,
As I sit on the throne of your shoulders, alone,
I'm The Old Man of the Sea.





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