"Will Sail Tomorrow"
THE good ship lies in the crowded dock,
Fair as a statue, firm as a rock:
Her tall masts piercing the still blue air,
Her funnel glittering white and bare,
Whence the long soft line of vapory smoke
Betwixt sky and sea like a vision broke,
Or slowly o'er the horizon curled
Like a lost hope fled to the other world:
She sails to-morrow,--
Out steps the captain, busy and grave,
With his sailor's footfall, quick and brave,
His hundred thoughts and his thousand cares,
And his steady eye that all things dares:
Though a little smile o'er the kind face dawns
On the loving brute that leaps and fawns,
And a little shadow comes and goes,
As if heart and fancy fled--where, who knows:
He sails to-morrow:
To-morrow the serried line of ships
Will quick close after her as she slips
Into the unknown deep once more:
To-morrow, to-morrow, some on shore
With straining eyes shall desperate yearn--
"This is not parting? return--return!"
Peace, wild-wrung hands! hush, sobbing breath!
Love keepeth its own through life and death;
Though she sails to-morrow--
Sail, stately ship; down Southampton water
Gliding fair as old Nereus' daughter:
Christian ship that for burthen bears
Christians, speeded by Christian prayers;
All kinds of angels follow her track!
Pitiful God, bring the good ship back!
All the souls in her forever keep
Thine, living or dying, awake or asleep:
Then sail to-morrow!
Ship, sail to-morrow!