A Voyage

(1882)





OUR galley chafes against the Quay,
The full tide calls us from the beach,
While far away across the sea
Is set the isle that we would reach
The haven where we fain would be.

Let us go forward-doubting not
Into the grey waste flecked with foam
Adventurers that have no spot
So dear that they should call it home
Lone men, of all men most forgot.

Grim men, with some deep hidden sin,
About their bosom, haggard eyes
That shew the bitter soul within
Warped by a thousand miseries
Pale men, with drawn white lips and thin.

Old men, that lose their faith in good,
And so take service recklessly
In any strife by land or flood,
Wherever evil chance to be,
Prodigal of their life's last blood.

Young faces, very old with woe,
Strong men, in evil stronger still
These make our crew and so we go
Climbing each shifting waterhill
That heaves us upward from below.

Our galley lamps are bright with hope,
Our voices ring across the sea
In other lands is wider scope
For all our virile energy
Let be the past, leave we the quay
With firm hands on the tiller rope