John Gardiner Calkins Brainard (1796-1828 / the United States)
The Sea Gull.
'Ibis et redibis nunquam peribis in bello.' — Oracle.
I SEEK not the grove where the wood-robins whistle,
Where the light sparrows sport, and the linnets pair;
I seek not the bower where the ring-doves nestle,
For none but the maid and her lover are there.
On the clefts of the wave-washed rock I sit,
When the ocean is roaring and raving nigh;
On the howling tempest I scream and flit,
With the storm in my wing, and the gale in my eye.
And when the bold sailor climbs the mast,
And sets his canvass gallantly,
Laughing at all his perils past,
And seeking more on the mighty sea;
I'll flit to his vessel, and perch on the truck,
Or sing in the hardy pilot's ear;
That her deck shall be like my wave-washed rock,
And her top like my nest when the storm is near.
Her cordage, the branches that I will grace—
Her rigging, the grove where I will whistle;
Her wind-swung hammock, my pairing place,
Where I by the seaboy's side will nestle.
And when the fight, like the storm, comes on,
'Mid the warrior's shout and the battle's noise,
I'll cheer him by the deadly gun,
'Till he loves the music of its voice.
And if death's dark mist shall his eye bedim,
And they plunge him beneath the fathomless wave,
A wild note shall sing his requiem,
And a white wing flap o'er his early grave.
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