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Poem by Isabella Valancy Crawford

Said the Wind

"Come with me," said the Wind
      To the ship within the dock
      "Or dost thou fear the shock
      Of the ocean-hidden rock,
When tempests strike thee full and leave thee blind;
      And low the inky clouds,
      Blackly tangle in thy shrouds;
      And ev'ry strained cord
      Finds a voice and shrills a word,
That word of doom so thunderously upflung
      From the tongue
      Of every forked wave,
      Lamenting o'er a grave
      Deep hidden at its base,
  Where the dead whom it has slain
      Lie in the strict embrace
  Of secret weird tendrils; but the pain
      Of the ocean's strong remorse
      Doth fiercely force
  The tale of murder from its bosom out
  In a mighty tempest clangour, and its shout
  In the threat'ning and lamenting of its swell
      Is as the voice of Hell,
  Yet all the word it saith
      Is 'Death.'"

      "Come with me," sang the Wind,
      "Why art thou, love, unkind?
      Thou are too fair, O ship,
      To kiss the slimy lip
Of the cold and dismal shore; and, prithee, mark,
      How chill and dark
Shew the vast and rusty linkings of the chain,
      Hoarse grating as with pain,
      Which moors thee
      And secures thee
From the transports of the soft wind and the main.
      Aye! strain thou and pull,
      Thy sails are dull
  And dim from long close furling on thy spars,
      But come thou forth with me,
      And full and free,
  I'll kiss them, kiss them, kiss them, till they be
      White as the Arctic stars,
  Or as the salt-white pinions of the gulf!"

      "Come with me," sang the Wind,
      "O ship belov'd, and find
      How golden-gloss'd and blue
      Is the sea.
How thrush-sweet is my voice; how dearly true
      I'll keep my nuptial promises to thee.
      O mine to guide thy sails
      By the kisses of my mouth;
      Soft as blow the gales,
      On the roses in the south.
      O mine to guide thee far
      From ruddy coral bar,
From horizon to horizon thou shalt glimmer like a star;
      Thou shalt lean upon my breast,
      And I shall rest,
      And murmur in thy sails,
      Such fond tales,
      That thy finest cords
  Will, syren-like, chant back my mellow words
  With such renew'd enchantment unto me
      That I shall be,
By my own singing, closer bound to thee!"

      "Come with me," sang the Wind,
      "Thou knowest, love, my mind,
      No more I'll try to woo thee,
      Persuade thee or pursue thee,
      For thou art mine;
  Since first thy mast, a tall and stately pine
      Beneath Norwegian skies,
      Sang to my sighs.
      Thou, thou wert built for me,
      Strong lily of the sea!
      Thou cans't not choose,
  The calling of my low voice to refuse;
      And if Death
Were the sole, sad, wailing burthen of my breath,
      Thy timbers at my call,
      Would shudder in their thrall,
  Thy sails outburst to touch my stormy lip;
      Like a giant quick in a grave,
      Thy anchor heave,
And close upon my thunder-pulsing breast, O ship,
  Thou would'st tremble, nor repine,
      That being mine,
      Thy spars,
  Like long pale lights of falling stars,
  Plunged in the Stygian blackness of the sea,
      And to billowy ruin cast
      Thy tall and taper mast,
  Rushed shrieking headlong down to an abyss.
      O ship! O love! if Death
  Were such sure portion, thou could'st not refuse
      But thou would'st choose
  As mine to die, and call such choosing bliss;
      For thou for me
  Wert plann'd from all eternity!"

Isabella Valancy Crawford

Isabella Valancy Crawford's other poems:
  1. Bouche-Mignonne
  2. An Interregnum
  3. His Sweetheart
  4. Late Loved - Well Loved
  5. Malcolm's Katie: A Love Story - Part 1

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