Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
VII. The Sea
The Heaving of the Lead
Charles Dibdin (1745–1814)
FOR England when with favoring gale
  Our gallant ship up channel steered,
And, scudding under easy sail,
  The high blue western land appeared;
To heave the lead the seaman sprung,        5
And to the pilot cheerly sung,
            “By the deep—nine!”
And bearing up to gain the port,
  Some well-known object kept in view,—
An abbey-tower, a harbor-fort,        10
  Or beacon to the vessel true;
While oft the lead the seaman flung,
And to the pilot cheerly sung,
            “By the mark—seven!”
And as the much-loved shore we near,        15
  With transport we behold the roof
Where dwelt a friend or partner dear,
  Of faith and love a matchless proof.
The lead once more the seaman flung,
And to the watchful pilot sung,        20
            “Quarter less—five!”
Now to her berth the ship draws nigh:
  We shorten sail,—she feels the tide,—
“Stand clear the cable” is the cry,—
  The anchor ’s gone; we safely ride.        25
The watch is set, and through the night
We hear the seamen with delight
            Proclaim,—“All ’s well!”

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