George Parsons Lathrop Poems >>
The Sailor's Song, Returning

The sea goes up; the sky comes down.
Oh, can you spy the ancient town,-
The granite hills so green and gray,
That rib the land behind the bay?
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
Fair winds, boys: send her home!
O ye ho!
Three years? Is it so long that we
Have lived upon the lonely sea?
Oh, often I thought we'd see the town,
When the sea went up, and the sky came down.
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
Even the winter winds would rouse
A memory of my father's house;
For round his windows and his door
They made the same deep, mouthless roar.
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
And when the summer's breezes beat,
Methought I saw the sunny street
Where stood my Kate. Beneath her hand
She gazed far out, far out from land.
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
Farthest away, I oftenest dreamed
That I was with her. Then it seemed
A single stride the ocean wide
Had bridged, and brought me to her side.
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
But though so near we're drawing, now,
'T is farther off-I know not how.
We sail and sail: we see no home.
Would that we into port were come!
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
At night, the same stars o'er the mast:
The mast sways round-however fast
We fly-still sways and swings around
One scanty circle's starry bound.
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
Ah, many a month those stars have shone,
And many a golden morn has flown,
Since that so solemn, happy morn,
When, I away, my babe was born.
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
And, though so near we're drawing, now,
'T is farther off-I know not how:-
I would not aught amiss had come
To babe or mother there, at home!
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
'T is but a seeming: swiftly rush
The seas, beneath. I hear the crush
Of foamy ridges 'gainst the prow.
Longing outspeeds the breeze, I know.
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
Patience, my mates! Though not this eve
We cast our anchor, yet believe,
If but the wind holds, short the run:
We'll sail in with to-morrow's sun.
O ye ho, boys. Spread her wings!
Fair winds, boys: send her home!
O ye ho!