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The Mariner’s Hymn

by Caroline Bowles Southey

Launch thy bark, mariner! Christian, God speed thee!
Let loose the rudder-bands! good angels lead thee!
Set thy sails warily; tempests will come;
Steer thy course steadily! Christian, steer home!

Look to the weather-bow, breakers are round thee!
Let fall the plummet now — shallows may ground thee.
Reef in the fore-sail there! hold the helm fast!
So — let the vessel ware! there swept the blast.

What of the night, watchman? What of the night?
“Cloudy — all quiet — no land yet — all’s right.”
Be wakeful, be vigilant! — danger may be
At an hour when all seemeth securest to thee.

How! gains the leak so fast? Clean out the hold—
Hoist up thy merchandise — heave out thy gold!
There — let the ingots go! — now the ship rights;
Hurrah! the harbour’s near — lo, the red lights!

Slacken not sail yet at inlet or island;
Straight for the beacon steer — straight for the high land
Crowd all thy canvas on, cut through the foam —
Christian! cast anchor now — Heaven is thy home.

You can read more about Caroline Bowles Southey here:


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