miles from land are we,
Tossing about on the stormy sea --
From billow to bounding billow cast,
Like fleecy snow on the stormy blast.
The sails are scattered abroad like weeds,
The strong masts shake like quivering reeds;
The mighty cables and iron chains,
The hull -- which all earthly strength disdains --
They strain and they crack, and hearts like stone
Their natural, hard, proud strength disown.
Up and down! -- up and down!
From the base of the wave to the billows crown,
And amidst the flashing and feathery foam
The Stormy Petrel finds a home --
A home, if such a place may be
For her who lives on the wide, wide sea.
On the craggy ice, in the frozen air,
And only seeketh her rocky lair
To warn her young and teach them to spring
At once oer the waves on their stormy wing!
Oer the deep! -- oer the deep!
Where the whale and the shark and the sword fish sleep --
Out-flying the blast and the driving rain,
The Petrel telleth her tale -- in vain;
For the mariner curseth the warning bird
Which bringeth him news of the storm unheard!
Ah! thus does the prophet of good or ill
Meet hate from the creatures he serveth still;
Yet he neer falters -- so, Petrel, spring
Once more oer the waves on thy stormy wing!
-- BRYAN WALLER PROCTER.