Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

The Distant Ship


The sea-bird's wing, o'er ocean's breast
Shoots like a glancing star,
While the red radiance of the west
Spreads kindling fast and far;
And yet that splendour wins thee not,–
Thy still and thoughtful eye
Dwells but on one dark distant spot
Of all the main and sky.

Look round thee!–o'er the slumbering deep
A solemn glory broods;
A fire hath touch'd the beacon-steep,
And all the golden woods;

A thousand gorgeous clouds on high
Burn with the amber light!–
What spell, from that rich pageantry,
Chains down thy gazing sight?

A softening thought of human cares,
A feeling link'd to earth!
Is not yon speck a bark, which bears
The lov'd of many a hearth?
Oh! do not Hope, and Grief, and Fear,
Crowd her frail world even now,
And manhood's prayer and woman's tear,
Follow her venturous prow?

Bright are the floating clouds above,
The glittering seas below;
But we are bound by cords of love
To kindred weal and wo.

Therefore, amidst this wide array
Of glorious things and fair,
My soul is on that bark's lone way,–
For human hearts are there.

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

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