Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

O Ship Of State - Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock,
'Tis of the wave and not the rock;
'Tis but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock and tempest's roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee.
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee, -are all with thee!

Comments about O Ship Of State by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • (5/10/2016 3:35:00 AM)

    The first five lines of this vibrantly nationalistic poem were used exceedingly effectively by Winston Churchill in the battle against Nazi Germany. It does not ring so true in what we like to believe are multicultural times, but it may well come back into its own as the backlash grows in Europe.
    Whatever your politics the rhythm and beat is superb.
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Read poems about / on: fear, future, faith, fate, hope, sea

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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