Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Richard Henry Horne 1802–84



FAR out at sea—the sun was high,

While veer’d the wind, and flapp’d the sail—

We saw a snow-white butterfly

Dancing before the fitful gale,

Far out at sea!

The little wanderer, who had lost

His way, of danger nothing knew;

Settled awhile upon the mast,

Then flutter’d o’er the waters blue,

Far out at sea.

Above, there gleam’d the boundless sky;

Beneath, the boundless ocean sheen;

Between them danced the butterfly,

The spirit-life of this vast scene,

Far out at sea.

The tiny soul then soar’d away,

Seeking the clouds on fragile wings,

Lur’d by the brighter, purer ray

Which hope’s ecstatic morning brings,

Far out at sea.

Away he sped with shimmering glee!

Scarce seen—now lost—yet onward borne!

Night comes!—with wind and rain—and he

No more will dance before the Morn,

Far out at sea.

He dies unlike his mates, I ween;

Perhaps not sooner, or worse cross’d;

And he hath felt, thought, known, and seen

A larger life and hope—though lost

Far out at sea!