Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1128. A Cry from the Shore
By Ellen Mackay Hutchinson Cortissoz
COME down, ye graybeard mariners,
  Unto the wasting shore!
The morning winds are up,—the gods
  Bid me to dream no more.
Come tell me whither I must sail,        5
  What peril there may be,
Before I take my life in hand
  And venture out to sea!
“We may not tell thee where to sail,
  Nor what the dangers are;        10
Each sailor soundeth for himself,
  Each hath a separate star:
Each sailor soundeth for himself,
  And on the awful sea
What we have learned is ours alone;        15
  We may not tell it thee.”
Come back, O ghostly mariners,
  Ye who have gone before!
I dread the dark, impetuous tides;
  I dread the farther shore.        20
Tell me the secret of the waves;
  Say what my fate shall be,—
Quick! for the mighty winds are up,
  And will not wait for me.
“Hail and farewell, O voyager!        25
  Thyself must read the waves;
What we have learned of sun and storm
  Lies with us in our graves:
What we have learned of sun and storm
  Is ours alone to know.        30
The winds are blowing out to sea,
  Take up thy life and go!”


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