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“ Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray,
Take her to thy protecting arms,
With all her youth and all her charms !”

How beautiful she is! How fair
She lies within those arms, that press
Her form within many a soft caress
Of tenderness and watchful care !
Sail forth into the sea, O ship !
Through wind and wave, right onward steer !
The moistened eye, the trembling lip,
Are not the signs of doubt or fear.

Sail forth into the sea of life,
O gentle, loving, trusting wife,
And safe from all adversity
Upon the bosom of that sea
Thy comings and thy goings be!
For gentleness and love and trust
Prevail o'er angry wave and gust;
And in the wreck of noble lives
Something immortal still survives !

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State !
Sail on, 0 Union, strong and great !
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate !
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope !
Fear not each sudden sound and shock,
'Tis of the wave and not the rock ;
'Tis but the flapping of the sail,


And not a rent made by the gale !
In spite of rock and tempest's roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea !
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee,
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee,-are all with thee!

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I wish to anticipate a criticism on this passage by stating, that sometimes, though not usually, vessels are launched fully rigged and sparred. I have availed myself of the exception, as better suited to my purposes than the general rule ; but the reader will see that it is neither a blunder nor a poetic license. On this subject a friend in Portland, Maine, writes me thus :

“ In this state, and also, I am told, in New York, ships are sometimes rigged upon the stocks, in order to save time, or to make a show. There was a fine, large ship launched last summer at Ellsworth, fully rigged and sparred. Some years ago a ship was launched here, with her rigging, spars, sails, and cargo aboard. She sailed the next day and — was never heard of again! I hope this will not be the fate of your poem!”


Just above yon sandy bar,

As the day grows fainter and dimmer, Lonely and lovely, a single star

Lights the air with a dusky glimmer.

Into the ocean faint and far

Falls the trail of its golden splendor, And the gleam of that single star

Is ever refulgent, soft, and tender.

('hrysaor rising out of the sea,

Showed thus glorious and thus emulous, Leaving the arms of Callirrhoe,

For ever tender, soft, and tremulous.

Thus o'er the oceau faint and far

Trailed the gleam of his falchion brightly; Is it a God, or is it a star

That, entranced, I gaze on nightly!


Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me

As I gaze upon the sea ! All the old romantic legends,

All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sendal,

Such as gleam in ancient lore ; And the singing of the sailors,

And the answer from the shore !

Most of all, the Spanish ballad

Haunts me oft, and tarries long, Of the noble Count Arnaldos

And the sailor's mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,

Where the sand as silver shines, With a soft, monotonous cadence,

Flow its unrhymed lyric lines ;

Telling how the Count Arnaldos,

With his hawk upon his hand, Saw a fair and stately galley,

Steering onward to the land ;

How he heard the ancient helmsman

Chant a song so wild and clear, That the sailing sea-bird slowly

Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his soul was full of longing,

And he cried, with impulse strong,– “ Helmsman ! for the love of heaven,

Teach me, too, that wondrous song !”

“Wouldst thou,”—so the helmsman answered,

“Learn the secret of the sea ? Only those who brave its dangers

Comprehend its mystery !”

In each sail that skims the horizon,

In each landward-blowing breeze, I behold that stately galley,

Hear those mournful melodies ;

Till my soul is full of longing

For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean

Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

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