Poems and Essays

by Joseph Howe




Away—away—o’er the deep blue wave,
    I spread my forward wing,
And the Winter’s gale as proudly brave
    As the balmy airs of Spring.

A venturous life and gay I lead,
    Whatever wind may blow,
There’s a boundless sky above my head,
    And boundless seas below.

Let the Birds of Land to homes repair
    Beneath the greenwood tree,
The hunter’s tube awaits them there—
    He dare not follow me.

I scorn the land and the landsman’s hate,
    The sailor’s Bird am I;
My life is charm’d, for he knows the fate
    Of those by whom I die. [Page 83]

In shady groves and woodland bower,
    Let others rear the nest,
On the crested wave, in its wildest hour
    I fold my wing to rest.

Though the hedge may boast its perfumed rose,
    And clear the Streamlets-shine,
Oh! what are the joys of earth to those
    That ev’ry hour are mine?

The Linnet may list the Peasant’s sigh
    At rosy eventide,
I catch the glance of the Rover’s eye,
    As he clasps his sea borne Bride.

The Iceberg’s dangerous track I mark,
    Till it wastes beneath the sun,
And I float above the ravening Shark,
    When his struggling prey is won;

I mark the sport, when the black cloud scowls,
    And the Tars aloft are sent,
And the sun-bleached sail, while the tempest howls,
    From their hands like chaff is rent.

When the pumps are choked, and the gallant ship
    Goes down to ocean’s cave,
I flap my wing o’er her pennon’s tip,
    Ere it sinks beneath the wave.

When embattl’d fleets, in fierce array,
    Their sulph’rous broadsides pour. [Page 84]
The varying fortunes of the day,
    The belching cannons’ roar,—

The dying groan—the rallying cry—
    The Boarder’s desperate leap,—
These are the scenes that glad my eye,
    The wonders of the deep.

Then away—away—o’er the wave I’ll rove
    With restless wing and free,
The timid may seek the leafy grove,
    Give me the stormy sea. [Page 85]