Eugene Field

(2 September 1850 - 4 November 1895 / St Louis / Missouri / United States)

Sailor And Shade - Poem by Eugene Field


You, who have compassed land and sea,
Now all unburied lie;
All vain your store of human lore,
For you were doomed to die.
The sire of Pelops likewise fell,--
Jove's honored mortal guest;
So king and sage of every age
At last lie down to rest.
Plutonian shades enfold the ghost
Of that majestic one
Who taught as truth that he, forsooth,
Had once been Pentheus' son;
Believe who may, he's passed away,
And what he did is done.
A last night comes alike to all;
One path we all must tread,
Through sore disease or stormy seas
Or fields with corpses red.
Whate'er our deeds, that pathway leads
To regions of the dead.


The fickle twin Illyrian gales
Overwhelmed me on the wave;
But you that live, I pray you give
My bleaching bones a grave!
Oh, then when cruel tempests rage
You all unharmed shall be;
Jove's mighty hand shall guard by land
And Neptune's on the sea.
Perchance you fear to do what may
Bring evil to your race?
Oh, rather fear that like me here
You'll lack a burial place.
So, though you be in proper haste,
Bide long enough, I pray,
To give me, friend, what boon shall send
My soul upon its way!

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010

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