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Thread: Ballads of the Sea

  1. #16
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    The Sea Gypsy

    I AM fevered with the sunset,
    I am fretful with the bay,
    For the wander-thirst is on me
    And my soul is in Cathay.

    There's a schooner in the offing,
    With her topsails shot with fire,
    And my heart has gone aboard her
    For the Islands of Desire.

    I must forth again to-morrow!
    With the sunset I must be
    Hull down on the trail of rapture
    In the wonder of the sea.

    Richard Hovey

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  2. #17
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    AT BEST

    by: John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-1890)

    THE faithful helm commands the keel,
    From port to port fair breezes blow;
    But the ship must sail the convex sea,
    Nor may she straighter go.

    So, man to man; in fair accord,
    On thought and will the winds may wait;
    But the world will bend the passing word,
    Though its shortest course be straight.

    From soul to soul the shortest line
    At best will bended be:
    The ship that holds the straightest course
    Still sails the convex sea.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #18
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    THE HARBOR OF DREAMS

    by: Frank Dempster Sherman (1860-1916)

    ONLY a whispering gale
    Flutters the wings of the boat;
    Only a bird in the vale
    Lends to the silence a note
    Mellow, subdued, and remote:
    This is the twilight of peace,
    This is the hour of release,
    Free of all worry and fret,
    Clean of all care and regret,
    When like a bird in its nest
    Fancy lies folded to rest.

    This is the margin of sleep;
    Here let the anchor be cast;
    Here in forgetfulness deep,
    Now that the journey is past,
    Lower the sails from the mast.
    Here is the bay of content,
    Heaven and earth interblent;
    Here is the haven that lies
    Close to the gates of surprise;
    Here all like Paradise seems --
    Here is the harbor of dreams.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #19
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    A SEA GHOST

    by: Frank Dempster Sherman (1860-1916)

    ALL night I heard along the coast
    The sea her grief outpour;
    And with the dawn arose a ghost
    To haunt the furrowed shore.

    And when from out the gray mist rolled
    The sun above the town,
    A shipwrecked sailor came and told
    Of how the ship went down.

    Then did I sudden understand
    The sobbing of the sea;
    And of that white ghost on the sand
    I knew the mystery.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #20
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    The Sea

    BEAUTIFUL, sublime, and glorious;
    Mild, majestic, foaming, free, --
    Over time itself victorious,
    Image of eternity!

    Sun and moon and stars shine o'er thee,
    See thy surface ebb and flow,
    Yet attempt not to explore thee
    In thy soundless depths below.

    Whether morning's splendors steep thee
    With the rainbow's glowing grace,
    Tempests rouse, or navies sweep thee,
    'Tis but for a moment's space.

    Earth, -- her valleys and her mountains,
    Mortal man's behests obey;
    The unfathomable fountains
    Scoff his search and scorn his sway.

    Such art thou, stupdendous ocean!
    But, if overwhelmed by thee,
    Can we think, without emotion,
    What must thy Creator be?

    Bernard Barton

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  6. #21
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    Wild Nights! Wild Nights!
    by Emily Dickinson

    Wild Nights! Wild Nights!
    Were I with thee,
    Wild Nights should be
    Our luxury!

    Futile the winds
    To a heart in port,
    Done with the compass,
    Done with the chart!

    Rowing in Eden!
    Ah! the sea!
    Might I but moor
    To-night in Thee!

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  7. #22
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    The Sailor's Consolation

    ONE night came on a hurricane,
    The sea was mountains rolling,
    When Barney Buntline turned his quid,
    And said to Billy Bowling:
    "A strong nor-wester's blowing, Bill;
    Hark! don't ye hear it roar, now?
    Lord help 'em, how I pities them
    Unhappy folks on shore now!

    "Foolhardy chaps who live in towns,
    What danger they are all in,
    And now lie quaking in their beds,
    For fear the roof should fall in;
    Poor creatures! how they envies us,
    And wishes, I've a notion,
    For our good luck, in such a storm,
    To be upon the ocean!

    "And as for them who're out all day
    On business from their houses,
    And late at night are coming home,
    To cheer their babes and spouses,--
    While you and I, Bill, on the deck
    Are comfortably lying,
    My eyes! what tiles and chimney-pots
    About their heads are flying!

    "And very often have we heard
    How men are killed and undone
    By overturns of carriages,
    By thieves, and fires in London;
    We know what risks all landsmen run,
    From noblemen to tailors;
    Then, Bill, let us thank Providence
    That you and I are sailors."

    Charles Dibdin

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  8. #23
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    Sun and Shadow

    As I look from the isle, o'er its billows of green,
    To the billows of foam-crested blue,
    Yon bark, that afar in the distance is seen,
    Half dreaming, my eyes will pursue:
    Now dark in the shadow, she scatters the spray
    As the chaff in the stroke of the flail;
    Now white as the sea-gull, she flies on her way,
    The sun gleaming bright on her sail.

    Yet her pilot is thinking of dangers to shun,--
    Of breakers that whiten and roar;
    How little he cares, if in shadow or sun
    They see him who gaze from the shore!
    He looks to the beacon that looms from the reef,
    To the rock that is under his lee,
    As he drifts on the blast, like a wind-wafted leaf,
    O'er the gulfs of the desolate sea.

    Thus drifting afar to the dim-vaulted caves
    Where life and its ventures are laid,
    The dreamers who gaze while we battle the waves
    May see us in sunshine or shade;
    Yet true to our course, though the shadows grow dark,
    We'll trim our broad sail as before,
    And stand by the rudder that governs the bark,
    Nor ask how we look from the shore!

    Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  9. #24
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    Charles Dickens

    The Song of the Wreck



    The wind blew high, the waters raved,
    A ship drove on the land,
    A hundred human creatures saved
    Kneel’d down upon the sand.
    Three-score were drown’d, three-score were thrown
    Upon the black rocks wild,
    And thus among them, left alone,
    They found one helpless child.


    A seaman rough, to shipwreck bred,
    Stood out from all the rest,
    And gently laid the lonely head
    Upon his honest breast.
    And travelling o’er the desert wide
    It was a solemn joy,
    To see them, ever side by side,
    The sailor and the boy.


    In famine, sickness, hunger, thirst,
    The two were still but one,
    Until the strong man droop’d the first
    And felt his labours done.
    Then to a trusty friend he spake,
    “Across the desert wide,
    O take this poor boy for my sake!”
    And kiss’d the child and died.


    Toiling along in weary plight
    Through heavy jungle, mire,
    These two came later every night
    To warm them at the fire.
    Until the captain said one day,
    “O seaman good and kind,
    To save thyself now come away,
    And leave the boy behind!”


    The child was slumbering near the blaze:
    “O captain, let him rest
    Until it sinks, when God’s own ways
    Shall teach us what is best!”
    They watch’d the whiten’d ashy heap,
    They touch’d the child in vain;
    They did not leave him there asleep,
    He never woke again.

  10. #25
    One for your collection

    "Sea-Fever"

    I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
    And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
    And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

    I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
    Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
    And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

    I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
    To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
    And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

    By John Masefield (1878-1967).

    Oh, and perhaps you might like to listen to La Mer, by Debussy? Seems a fitting companion to this.
    "Man was made for joy and woe;
    And when this we rightly know
    Through the world we safely go" Blake

  11. #26
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    I will have to look into that one

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  12. #27
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    The Far-Farers

    The broad sun,
    The bright day:
    White sails
    On the blue bay:
    The far-farers
    Draw away.

    Light the fires
    And close the door.
    To the old homes,
    To the loved shore,
    The far-farers
    Return no more.

    ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  13. #28
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    Kim Hyon-Sung (1913-1976)
    THE WAVES

    I wonder
    Who has poured here again
    Wine upon wine.

    The earth dances in the midst
    Of sparkling waves - a glassful of ocean.

    I wonder
    Who has poured out here
    So many breasts
    Words tossed up high like a ship
    Borne on the snake back of writhing thoughts
    Forever restless while asleep.
    Who has poured out here
    So many breasts onto the ocean?

    .....
    The sealine is drawn far out
    Over the darkening city the sick land.
    Who is driving toward us the fleet
    Of those wild, joyous beasts?

    I wonder
    Who has burst open
    Those blossoms on the face of death.

    Between ice and fire,
    Between eternity and a ticking moment
    The fragrance of lilac waves sinks
    In the deep furrows of death.

    What has caused to blossom
    Those flowers of July waves?
    Walk, meditate, forget - Victor Hugo
    Life is bigger than literature - Michael Cunningham

  14. #29

    Nautical Poems

    The OP referred to ballads of the sea, but subsequent posts cited poems that are not technically ballads. I'll submit two more non-ballads that I like on the subject of seafaring. The first is Pound's adaptation of the Anglo-Saxon Seafarer. I won't quote it because it's long and readily available.

    The second is Frank O'Hara's To the Harbormaster:

    I wanted to reach you;
    though my ship was on the way it got caught
    in some moorings. I am always tying up
    and then deciding to depart. In storms and
    at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide
    around my fathomless arms, I am unable
    to understand the forms of my vanity
    or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder
    in my hand and the sun sinking. To
    you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage
    of my will. The terrible channels where
    the wind drives me against the brown lips
    of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet
    I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
    if it sinks, it may well be in answer
    to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
    the waves which have kept me from reaching you.

  15. #30
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    Yes, I did not necessarily mean ballads in a literal since, it just seemed like a catchy title for this thread. It is a dedication to all forms of poetry about the sea life and seafaring adventures.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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