Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Come Back
By Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861)
COME back, come back! behold with straining mast
And swelling sail, behold her steaming fast:
With one new sun to see her voyage o’er,
With morning light to touch her native shore.
          Come back, come back!        5
Come back, come back! while westward laboring by,
With sailless yards, a bare black hulk we fly.
See how the gale we fight with sweeps her back
To our lost home, on our forsaken track.
          Come back, come back!        10
Come back, come back! across the flying foam
We hear faint far-off voices call us home:
Come back! ye seem to say; ye seek in vain;
We went, we sought, and homeward turned again.
          Come back, come back!        15
Come back, come back! and whither back, or why?
To fan quenched hopes, forsaken schemes to try;
Walk the old fields; pace the familiar street;
Dream with the idlers, with the bards compete.
          Come back, come back!        20
Come back, come back! and whither and for what?
To finger idly some old Gordian knot,
Unskilled to sunder, and too weak to cleave,
And with much toil attain to half-believe.
          Come back, come back!        25
Come back, come back! yea, back indeed do go
Sighs panting thick, and tears that want to flow;
Fond fluttering hopes upraise their useless wings,
And wishes idly struggle in the strings.
          Come back, come back!        30
Come back, come back! more eager than the breeze
The flying fancies sweep across the seas,
And lighter far than ocean’s flying foam
The heart’s fond message hurries to its home.
          Come back, come back!        35
          Come back, come back!
Back flies the foam; the hoisted flag streams back;
The long smoke wavers on the homeward track;
Back fly with winds things which the wind obey:
The strong ship follows its appointed way.        40

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