Arthur Hugh Clough

(1 January 1819 – 13 November 1861 / Liverpool)

Qua Cursum Ventus Poem by Arthur Hugh Clough


As ships, becalm'd at eve, that lay
With canvas drooping, side by side,
Two towers of sail at dawn of day
Are scarce long leagues apart descried;

When fell the night, upsprung the breeze,
And all the darkling hours they plied,
Nor dreamt but each the self-same seas
By each was cleaving, side by side:

E'en so--but why the tale reveal
Of those whom, year by year unchang'd,
Brief absence join'd anew, to feel,
Astounded, soul from soul estrang'd?

At dead of night their sails were fill'd,
And onward each rejoicing steer'd--
Ah, neither blame, for neither will'd,
Or wist, what first with dawn appear'd!

To veer, how vain! On, onward strain,
Brave barks! In light, in darkness too,
Through winds and tides one compass guides--
To that, and your own selves, be true.

But O blithe breeze! and O great seas,
Though ne'er, that earliest parting past,
On your wide plain they join again,
Together lead them home at last.

One port, methought, alike they sought,
One purpose hold where'er they fare,--
O bounding breeze, O rushing seas!
At last, at last, unite them there!

Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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