Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
II. Very Far Away
By William Alexander (1824–1911)
ONE touch there is of magic white,
  Surpassing southern mountain’s snow,
That to far sails the dying light
  Lends, where the dark ships onward go
Upon the golden highway broad        5
That leads up to the isles of God.
One touch of light more magic yet,
  Of rarer snow ’neath moon or star
Where, with her graceful sails all set,
  Some happy vessel seen afar,        10
As if in an enchanted sleep
Steers o’er the tremulous stretching deep.
O ship! O sail! far must ye be
  Ere gleams like that upon ye light:
O’er golden spaces of the sea,        15
  From mysteries of the lucent night,
Such touch comes never to the boat
Wherein across the waves we float.
O gleams more magic and divine,
  Life’s whitest sail ye still refuse,        20
And flying on before us shine
  Upon some distant bark ye choose.
—By night or day, across the spray,
That sail is very far away.

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