Morning-Glories and Other Stories/The Nautilus

 

THE NAUTILUS.

A FAIRY BOAT-SONG.

 

 

<poem>Launch our boat from the yellow sand, Say farewell to the blooming land, Furl airy wings, fold the mantles blue, Drink one last cup of honey dew; For we must leave our fairy home On a moonlight voyage through the foam.

     Spread the silken sail
     To the summer gale, 
 Low singing across the sea; 
     Float away, float away,
     Through foam and spray, 
 As if o'er a flowery lea!

Oh! fear no storm nor cloudy frown, Though mightier ships than ours go down: Our helmsman laughs at the wildest gale, As he drops anchor and furls his sail; For He who guides the sparrow's wing, Whose love upholds the frailest thing,

     Has given a spell,
     To protect the shell 
 Through the waves' tumultuous flow.
     When tempest-tost,
     Unwrecked, unlost,
 It sinks to calmer depths below.

Watch, dear mates, by the fading light,
The mariner small who steers aright,
By compass and chart unseen, yet true,
And ferries over an elfin crew,
With tiny rudder and said and oar,
Voyaging safely from shore to shore:
      While the mermaids fair,
      With their shining hair,
  Glide up from their ocean home.
      "Come away, come away!"
      The sea-sprites say,
  As they beckon through the foam.

O evening star! serene and still,
Guard us with magic care from ill!
O summer moon! like herald bright,
Guide us along thy path of light!
O friendly waves! bear on your breast
Elfin wanderers to their rest!
      See, how low and dim,
      On the ocean's rim,
  Lies the shore we left behind:
      Farewell! Farewell!
      Let the echo swell,
  Bear it home on your wings, sweet wind!