Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SONG OF THE MARINERS, by ELIZA COOK



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SONG OF THE MARINERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The miser will hold his darling gold
Last Line: And are ready for death whene'er it may come.
Subject(s): Sailing & Sailors; Seamen; Sails


The miser will hold his darling gold
Till his eyes are glazed and his hands are cold;
The ministrel one to his wild lyre clings
As though its chords were his own heart-strings;
No dearer boon will the reveller ask
Than the draught that deepens the purple flask;
But the firmest love-link that can be
Chains the mariners bold to the pathless sea.

Choose ye who will earth's dazzling bowers,
But the great and glorious sea be ours;
Give us, give us the dolphin's home,
With the speeding keel and splashing foam:
Right merry are we as the sound bark springs
On her lonely track like a creature of wings.
Oh, the mariner's life is blythe and gay,
When the sky is fair and the ship on her way.

We love the perilous sea, because
It will not bend to man or his laws;
It ever hath rolled the uncontrolled,
It cannot be warped to fashion or mould:
Now quiet and fair as a sleeping child;
Now rousing in tempests madly wild;
And who shall wean the mighty flood
From its placid dream, or passionate mood?

We are not so apt to forget our God
As those who dwell on dry safe sod;
For we know each leaping wave we meet
May be a crystal winding-sheet;
We know each blustering gale that blows
May requiem to a last repose;
And the chafing tide as it roars and swells,
Hath as solemn a tone as the calling bells.

The land has its beauty, its sapphire and rose;
But look on the colours the bright main shows,
While each billow flings from its pearly fringe
The lucid jewels of rainbow tinge.
Go, mark the waters at sunny noon,
Go, float beneath the full clear moon,
And cold is the spirit that wakes not there
With wondering praise and worshipping prayer.

'Tis true, we may sink 'mid deluge and blast,
But we cope with the strong, we are quelled by the vast;
And a noble urn is the foundered wreck,
Though no incense may burn, and no flower may deck.
We need no stately funeral car;
But, tangled with salt weeds and lashed to a spar,
Down, down below the mariners go,
While thunders volley and hurricanes blow.

But little do we bold mariners care
What hour we fall, or what risk we dare,
For the groan on the struggling sailor's lip
Is less for himself than his dying ship.
Oh! ours is the life for the free and the brave;
We dance o'er the planks that may yawn as a grave,
We laugh 'mid the foam of our perilous home,
And are ready for death whene'er it may come.





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