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We've ratched beyond the Crossets
That tusk the Southern Pole, And dipped our gunnels under
To the dread Agulhas roll.
Beyond all outer charting
We sailed where none have sailed, And saw the land-lights burning
On islands none have hailed; Our hair stood up for wonder,
But, when the night was done, There danced the deep to windward
Blue-empty 'neath the sun!
Strange consorts rode beside us
And brought us evil luck; The witch-fire climbed our channels,
And danced on vane and truck: Till, through the red tornado,
That lashed us nigh to blind, We saw The Dutchman plunging,
Full canvas, head to wind!
We've heard the Midnight Leadsman
That calls the black deep downAy, thrice we've heard The Swimmer,
The Thing that may not drown.
On frozen bunt and gasket
The sleet-cloud drave her hosts, When, manned by more than signed with us,
We passed the Isle o' Ghosts!
And north, amid the hummocks,
A biscuit-toss below, We met the silent shallop
That frighted whalers know; For, down a cruel ice-lane,
That opened as he sped, We saw dead Henry Hudson
Steer, North by West, his dead.
So dealt God's waters with us
Beneath the roaring skies,
All naked to our eyes:
With trade to lose or make-
In the tailing of our wake!
Let go, let go the anchors;
Now shamed at heart are we To bring so poor a cargo home
That had for gift the sea!
Let go the great bow-anchors
Ah, fools were we and blind-
The best we left behind!
Coastwise--cross-seas-round the world and back
again, Whither the flaw shall fail us or the Trades
drive down : Plain-sail-storm-sail—lay your board and tack
againAnd all to bring a cargo up to London Town!
LORD, Thou hast made this world below the shad
ow of a dream, An', taught by time, I tak’ it so-exceptin' always
Steam. From coupler-flange to spindle-guide I see Thy
Hand, O God, Predestination in the stride o'yon connectin’-rod. John Calvin might ha' forged the same-enorr
mous, certain, slowAy, wrought it in the furnace-flame—my “Insti
tutio.” I cannot get my sleep to-night; old bones are hard
to please; I'll stand the middle watch up here-alone wi'
God an' these My engines, after ninety days o' race an' rack an'
strain Through all the seas of all Thy world, slam-bang
in' home again.
Slam-bang too much—they knock a wee—the
crosshead-gibs are loose; But thirty thousand mile o' sea has gied them fair
excuse. ... Fine, clear an'dark—a full-draught breeze, wi'
Ushant out o' sight, An' Ferguson relievin' Hay. Old girl, ye'll walk
to-night! His wife's at Plymouth. .. . Seventy-One-Two
-Three since he beganThree turns for Mistress Ferguson. ... an' who's
to blame the man ? There's none at any port for me, by drivin’ fast or
slow, Since Elsie Campbell went to Thee, Lord, thirty
years ago. (The year the Sarah Sands was burned. Oh
roads we used to tread, Fra’ Maryhill to Pollokshaws-fra' Govan to Park
head!) Not but they're ceevil on the Board. Ye'll hear
Sir Kenneth say: “Good morrn, McAndrews! Back again ? An'
how's your bilge to-day ?” Miscallin' technicalities but handin' me my