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Swallows, on your pinions glide
STANZAS TO TOM WOODGATE,
Tomkare you still within this land
Or roaming on the waves;
A seaman in her graves ?
On land the rush-light lives of men
By tedious long decline-
The apoplectic brine !
Ay, while I write, mayhap your head
I hope 'tis far from truth !
And corals at your tooth !
Still does the Chance pursue the chance
In safety on the tide ?
To thee a flag of pride ?
Does that hard, honest hand now clasp The tiller in its careful grasp
With every summer breeze When ladies sail, in lady-fearOr, tug the oar, a gondolier
On smooth Macadam seas ?
Or are you where the flounders keep,
Where sand and shells abound-
To find that you are--drowned ?
Swift is the wave, and apt to bring
A mere funereal strain;
A good man in the main !
Oh, no I hope the old brown eye Still watches ebb, and flood, and sky;
That still the old brown shoes Are sucking brine up-pumps indeed! Your tooth still full of ocean weed,
Or Indian-which you choose.
I like you, Tom! and in these lays
No puff at honor's cost;
You, somehow, never crossed !
Mayhap we ne'er shall meet again,
Beyond this planet's brink;
As comrades on this ink !
Many a scudding gale we've had
Some perils we have passed;
The master of our mast :
'Twas thy example taught me how To climb the billow's hoary brow,
Or cleave the raging heapTo bound along the ocean wild, With danger only as a child,
The waters rocked to sleep.
Oh, who can tell that brave delight,
Come rampant like a snake !
Left couchant in the wake!