Ballads of Lost Haven A Book of the Sea

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ISBN: N/A
Language: English
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A SON OF THE SEA

I was born for deep-sea faring;I was bred to put to sea;Stories of my father's daringFilled me at my mother's knee.I was sired among the surges;I was cubbed beside the foam;All my heart is in its verges,And the sea wind is my home.All my boyhood, from far vernalBourns of being, came to meDream-like, plangent, and eternalMemories of the plunging sea.

Oh, the shambling sea is a sexton old,And well his work is done.With an equal grave for lord and knave,He buries them every one.Then hoy and rip, with a rolling hip,He makes for the nearest shore;And God, who sent him a thousand ship,Will send him a thousand more;But some he'll save for a bleaching grave,And shoulder them in to shore,—Shoulder them in, shoulder them in,Shoulder them in to shore.

Oh, the ships of Greece and the ships of TyreWent out, and where are they?In the port they made, they are delayedWith the ships of yesterday.He followed the ships of England far,As the ships of long ago;And the ships of France they led him a dance,But he laid them all arow.Oh, a loafing, idle lubber to himIs the sexton of the town;For sure and swift, with a guiding lift,He shovels the dead men down.But though he delves so fierce and grim,His honest graves are wide,As well they know who sleep belowThe dredge of the deepest tide.

Oh, he works with a rollicking stave at lip,And loud is the chorus skirled;With the burly rote of his rumbling throatHe batters it down the world.He learned it once in his father's house,Where the ballads of eld were sung;And merry enough is the burden rough,But no man knows the tongue.Oh, fair, they say, was his bride to see,And wilful she must have been,That she could bide at his gruesome sideWhen the first red dawn came in.And sweet, they say, is her kiss to thoseShe greets to his border home;And softer than sleep her hand's first sweepThat beckons, and they come.

Oh, crooked is he, but strong enoughTo handle the tallest mast;From the royal barque to the slaver dark,He buries them all at last.Then hoy and rip, with a rolling hip,He makes for the nearest shore;And God, who sent him a thousand ship,Will send him a thousand more;But some he'll save for a bleaching grave,And shoulder them in to shore,—Shoulder them in, shoulder them in,Shoulder them in to shore.

THE YULE GUEST

And Yanna by the yule logSat in the empty hall,And watched the goblin firelightCaper upon the wall:The goblins of the hearthstone,Who teach the wind to sing,Who dance the frozen yule awayAnd usher back the spring;The goblins of the Northland,Who teach the gulls to scream,Who dance the autumn into dust,The ages into dream.

Like the tall corn was Yanna,Bending and smooth and fair,—His Yanna of the sea-gray eyesAnd harvest-yellow hair.Child of the low-voiced peopleWho dwell among the hills,She had the lonely calm and poiseOf life that waits and wills.Only to-night a littleWith grave regard she smiled,Remembering the morn she wokeAnd ceased to be a child.Outside, the ghostly rampikes,Those armies of the moon,Stood while the ranks of stars drew onTo that more spacious noon,—

While over them in silenceWaved on the dusk afarThe gold flags of the Northern lightStreaming with ancient war.And when below the headlandThe riders of the foamUp from the misty border rodeThe wild gray horses home,And woke the wintry mountainsWith thunder on the shore,Out of the night there came a weirdAnd cried at Yanna's door....