Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SMACK RACE, by JOHN GARDINER CALKINS BRAINARD



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THE SMACK RACE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Are they not beautiful? How light they float?
Last Line: Of quiet, happy nights.
Subject(s): Ships & Shipping


ARE they not beautiful? how light they float,
How gracefully they sit upon the wave!
The water buoys no surer, fleeter boat,
None that will Ocean's danger better brave.
Forget not too, that sea-washed barrens gave
A hardy race to man each brace and line,
Warm hearted and hard handed -- all they crave
Is but to seek and search the boisterous brine
Where winters have no sun, and north lights dimly shine.
Thames! on thy smiling harbour now
How dips and bends each lively bow,
As pleased to wanton there.
And need they longer there to ride?
The time is come and fair the tide,
The wind is fresh and fair.
Away! the peak is trimly set,
The jib with schoot-horn duly wet,
The trembling helm is true,
One glass of grog, one signal gun,
Three cheers for luck and one for fun,--
Which is the happier crew?
Over the broad, the blue, the clear,
The noble harbour, on they steer
By every well known spot.
In sailor's heart, in sea-bird's cry,
In pilot's thought, in poet's eye,
When are such scenes forgot?
I love them, for the porpoise plays
In all their bleached and pebbly bays,
And every haunt explores; --
I love them, that the hardy breeze
Sweeps daily from the healthful seas,
Blessing the happy shores.
Now taughter brace the laboring boom,
Bring the lee gunwale to the foam
And haul the bonnet flat:
They have the freshest of the breeze --
They have the widest of the seas, --
"We'll beat 'em for all that."
See! the wild wind bears down the peak,
And shows its shear the garboard streak,
Loose is the leeward shroud;
The helm, a-weather, bears her round
That hard-sought, hard gained racing ground,
So elegantly proud.
And now, good luck my honest hearts,
Well do you bear your dangerous parts,
And well I wish you all:
I little know your terms of skill,
But you shall have my right good will,
Whatever chance befall.
Good wives on shore, good winds at sea,
Fishing enough where'er you be,
And very many bites;
Plenty of fish and children too,
Days well employed, and not a few
Of quiet, happy nights.






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