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COME, hoist the sail, the fast let go!
They're seated all aboard.
Wave chases wave in easy flow:
The bay is fair and broad.
The ripples lightly tap the boat.
Loose!-Give her to the wind!
She flies ahead:-They're all afloat:
The strand is far behind.
No danger reach so fair a crew!
Thou goddess of the foam,
I'll pay thee ever worship due,
If thou wilt bring them home.
Fair ladies, fairer than the spray
The prow is dashing wide,
Soft breezes take you on your way,
Soft flow the blessed tide!
O, might I like those breezes be,
And touch that arching brow,
I'd toil for ever on the sea
Where ye are floating now.
The boat goes tilting on the waves;
The waves go tilting by;
There dips the duck;-her back she laves;
O'er head the sea-gulls fly.
Now, like the gull that darts for prey,
The little vessel stoops;
Then, rising, shoots along her way,
Like gulls in easy swoops.
The sun-light falling on her sheet,
It glitters like the drift,
Sparkling, in scorn of summer's heat,
High up some mountain rift.
The winds are fresh-she's driving fast.
Upon the bending tide,
The crinkling sail, and crinkling mast,
Go with her side by side.
Why dies the breeze away so soon?
Why hangs the pennant down?
The sea is glass-the sun at noon.- -
Nay, lady, do not frown;
For, see, the winged fisher's plume
Is painted on the sea.
Below's a cheek of lovely bloom.
Whose eyes look up at thee?
She smiles; thou need'st must smile on her.
And, see, beside her face
A rich, white cloud that doth not stir.-
What beauty, and what grace!
And pictured beach of yellow sand,
And peaked rock, and hill,
Change the smooth sea to fairy land.-
How lovely and how still!
From yonder isle the thrasher's flail
Strikes close upon the ear;
The leaping fish, the swinging sail
Of that far sloop sound near.
The parting sun sends out a glow
Across the placid bay,
Touching with glory all the show.- -
A breeze!-Up helm!-Away!
Careening to the wind, they reach,
With laugh and call, the shore.
They've left their foot-prints on the beach.
And shall I see them more?
Goddess of Beauty, must I now
Vow'd worship to thee pay?
Dear goddess, I grow old, I trow:-
My head is growing gray.
- Richard Henry Dana
Poets' Corner .
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