Oh for the breath of the briny deep,

And the tug of a bellying sail,

With the sea-gull’s cry across the sky

And a passing boatman’s hail.

For, be she fierce or be she gay,

The sea is a famous friend alway.

Ho! For the plains where the dolphins play,

And the bend of the mast and spars,

And a fight at night with the wild sea-sprite

When the foam has drowned the stars.

And, pray, what joy can the landsmen feel

Like the rise and fall of a sliding keel?

Fair is the mead; the lawn is fair

And the birds sing sweet on the lea;

But echo soft of a song aloft

Is the strain that pleases me;

And swish of rope and ring of chain

Are music to men who sail the main.

Then, if you love me, let me sail

While a vessel dares the deep;

For the ship’s wife, and the breath of life

Are the raging gales that sweep;

And when I’m done with the calm and blast,

A slide o’er the side, and rest at last.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

English: Paul Laurence Dunbar (June 27, 1872 –...
Paul Laurence Dunbar

VIA: Paul Laurence Dunbar