Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HENRY HUDSON'S QUEST [1609], by BURTON EGBERT STEVENSON



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HENRY HUDSON'S QUEST [1609], by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Out from the harbour of amsterdam
Last Line: "good time,"" quoth he."
Subject(s): America - Exploration; Hudson, Henry (1550-1611)


OUT from the harbor of Amsterdam
The Half Moon turned her prow to sea;
The coast of Norway dropped behind,
Yet Northward still kept she
Through the drifting fog and the driving snow,
Where never before man dared to go:
"O Pilot, shall we find the strait that leads to the Eastern Sea?"
"A waste of ice before us lies -- we must turn back," said he.

Westward they steered their tiny bark,
Westward through weary weeks they sped,
Till the cold gray strand of a stranger-land
Loomed through the mist ahead.
League after league they hugged the coast,
And their Captain never left his post:
"O Pilot, see you yet the strait that leads to the Eastern Sea?"
"I see but the rocks and the barren shore; no strait is
there," quoth he.

They sailed to the North -- they sailed to the South --
And at last they rounded an arm of sand
Which held the sea from a harbor's mouth --
The loveliest in the land;
They kept their course across the bay,
And the shore before them fell away:
"O Pilot, see you not the strait that leads to the Eastern Sea?"
"Hold the rudder true! Praise Christ Jesu! the strait is
here," said he.

Onward they glide with wind and tide,
Past marshes gray and crags sun-kist;
They skirt the sills of green-clad hills,
And meadows white with mist --
But alas! the hope and the brave, brave dream!
For rock and shallow bar the stream:
"O Pilot, can this be the strait that leads to the Eastern Sea?"
"Nay, Captain, nay; 't is not this way; turn back we must," said he.

Full sad was Hudson's heart as he turned
The Half Moon's prow to the South once more;
He saw no beauty in crag or hill,
No beauty in curving shore;
For they shut him away from that fabled main
He sought his whole life long, in vain:
"O Pilot, say, can there be a strait that leads to the Eastern Sea?"
"God's crypt is sealed! 'T will stand revealed in His own
good time," quoth he.





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