COLUMBUS





Joaquin Miller





Behind him lay the gray Azores,

Behind the Gates of Hercules;

Before him not the ghost of shores,

Before him only shoreless seas.

The good mate said: "Now must we pray,

For lo! the very stars are gone,

Brave Adm'r'l, speak; what shall I say?"

"Why, say: 'Sail on! sail on! and on!'"



"My men grow mutinous day by day;

My men grow ghastly, wan and weak."

The stout mate thought of home; a spray

Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.

"What shall I say, brave Adm'r'l, say,

If we sight naught but seas at dawn?"

"Why, you shall say at break of day:

'Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'"



They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,

Until at last the blanched mate said:

"Why, now not even God would know

Should I and all my men fall dead.

These very winds forget their way,

For God from these dread seas is gone.

Now speak, brave Adm'r'l; speak and say--"

He said: "Sail on! sail on! and on!"



They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:

"This mad sea shows his teeth tonight.

He curls his lip, he lies in wait,

He lifts his teeth, as if to bite!

Brave Adm'r'l, say but one good word:

What shall we do when hope is gone?"

The words leapt like a leaping sword:

"Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!"



Then, pale and worn, he paced his deck,

And peered through darkness. Ah, that night.

Of all dark nights! And then a speck--

A light! A light! At last a light!

It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!

It grew to be Time's burst of dawn.

He gained a world; he gave that world

Its grandest lesson: "On! sail on!"





CLOVER-BLOSSOM. CONCORD HYMN facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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