Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Oceanica
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI.  1876–79.
Miscellaneous: The Ocean
Sir Humphrey Gilbert
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
SOUTHWARD with fleet of ice
  Sailed the corsair Death;
Wild and fast blew the blast,
  And the east-wind was his breath.
His lordly ships of ice        5
  Glisten in the sun;
On each side, like pennons wide,
  Flashing crystal streamlets run.
His sails of white sea-mist
  Dripped with silver rain;        10
But where he passed there were cast
  Leaden shadows o’er the main.
Eastward from Campobello
  Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed;
Three days or more seaward he bore,        15
  Then, alas! the land-wind failed.
Alas! the land-wind failed,
  And ice-cold grew the night;
And nevermore, on sea or shore,
  Should Sir Humphrey see the light.        20
He sat upon the deck,
  The Book was in his hand;
“Do not fear! Heaven is as near,”
  He said, “by water as by land!”
In the first watch of the night,        25
  Without a signal’s sound,
Out of the sea, mysteriously,
  The fleet of Death rose all around.
The moon and the evening star
  Were hanging in the shrouds;        30
Every mast, as it passed,
  Seemed to rake the passing clouds.
They grappled with their prize,
  At midnight black and cold!
As of a rock was the shock;        35
  Heavily the ground-swell rolled.
Southward through day and dark,
  They drift in close embrace,
With mist and rain, o’er the open main;
  Yet there seems no change of place.        40
Southward, forever southward,
  They drift through dark and day;
And like a dream, in the Gulf Stream
  Sinking, vanish all away.

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