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

Austin Dobson 1840–1921

“O Navis”


SHIP, to the roadstead rolled,

What dost thou?—O, once more

Regain the port. Behold!

Thy sides are bare of oar,

Thy tall mast wounded sore

Of Africus, and see,

What shall thy spars restore!—

Tempt not thy tyrant sea!

What cable now will hold

When all drag out from shore!

What god canst thou, too bold,

In time of need implore!

Look! for thy sails flap o’er,

Thy stiff shrouds part and flee,

Fast—fast thy seams outpour,—

Tempt not the tyrant sea!

What though thy ribs of old

The pines of Pontus bore!

Not now to stern of gold

Men trust, or painted prore!

Thou, or thou count’st it store

A toy of winds to be,

Shun thou the Cyclads’ roar,—

Tempt not the tyrant sea!


Ship of the State, before

A care, and now to me

A hope in my heart’s core,—

Tempt not the tyrant sea!