Tennyson Friday

The Sailor Boy

by Alfred Lord Tennyson


He rose at dawn and fired with hope,
    Shot o’er the seething harbor-bar,
And reach’d the ship and caught the rope,
    And whistled to the morning star.

And while he whistled long and loud 
    He heard a fierce mermaiden cry,
‘O boy, tho’ thou are young and proud,
    I see the place where thou wilt lie.

‘The sands and yeasty surges mix
    In cave s about the dreary bay,
And on thy ribs the limpet sticks,
    And in thy heart the scrawl shall play.’

‘Fool,’ he answer’d , ‘death is sure
    To those that stay and those that roam,
But I will nevermore endure  
    To sit with empty hands at home.

‘My mother clings about my neck,
    My sisters crying,  :”Stay for shame;”
My father raves of death and wreck,- 
    They are all to blame, they are all to blame.

‘God help me! save I take my part 
    Of danger on the roaring sea,
A devil rises in my heart,
    Far worse than any death to me.’

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