Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Poem.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Ye Mariners Who Spread Your Sails
by [?]

(“Matelots, vous deploirez les voiles.”)

[XVI., May 5, 1839.]

Ye mariners! ye mariners! each sail to the breeze unfurled,
In joy or sorrow still pursue your course around the world;
And when the stars next sunset shine, ye anxiously will gaze
Upon the shore, a friend or foe, as the windy quarter lays.

Ye envious souls, with spiteful tooth, the statue’s base will bite;
Ye birds will sing, ye bending boughs with verdure glad the sight;
The ivy root in the stone entwined, will cause old gates to fall;
The church-bell sound to work or rest the villagers will call.

Ye glorious oaks will still increase in solitude profound,
Where the far west in distance lies as evening veils around;
Ye willows, to the earth your arms in mournful trail will bend,
And back again your mirror’d forms the water’s surface send.

Ye nests will oscillate beneath the youthful progeny;
Embraced in furrows of the earth the germing grain will lie;
Ye lightning-torches still your streams will cast into the air,
Which like a troubled spirit’s course float wildly here and there.

Ye thunder-peals will God proclaim, as doth the ocean wave;
Ye violets will nourish still the flower that April gave;
Upon your ambient tides will be man’s sternest shadow cast;
Your waters ever will roll on when man himself is past.

All things that are, or being have, or those that mutely lie,
Have each its course to follow out, or object to descry;
Contributing its little share to that stupendous whole,
Where with man’s teeming race combined creation’s wonders roll.

The poet, too, will contemplate th’ Almighty Father’s love,
Who to our restless minds, with light and darkness from above,
Hath given the heavens that glorious urn of tranquil majesty,
Whence in unceasing stores we draw calm and serenity.

Translated by Author of “Critical Essays.”