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

William Allingham 1824–89

The Sailor


THOU that hast a daughter

For one to woo and wed,

Give her to a husband

With snow upon his head;

Oh, give her to an old man,

Though little joy it be,

Before the best young sailor

That sails upon the sea!

How luckless is the sailor

When sick and like to die;

He sees no tender mother,

No sweetheart standing by.

Only the captain speaks to him,—

Stand up, stand up, young man,

And steer the ship to haven,

As none beside thee can.

Thou say’st to me, “Stand up, stand up;”

I say to thee, take hold,

Lift me a little from the deck,

My hands and feet are cold.

And let my head, I pray thee,

With handkerchiefs be bound;

There, take my love’s gold handkerchief,

And tie it tightly round.

Now bring the chart, the doleful chart;

See, where these mountains meet—

The clouds are thick around their head,

The mists around their feet;

Cast anchor here; ’t is deep and safe

Within the rocky cleft;

The little anchor on the right,

The great one on the left.

And now to thee, O captain,

Most earnestly I pray,

That they may never bury me

In church or cloister gray;

But on the windy sea-beach,

At the ending of the land,

All on the surfy sea-beach,

Deep down into the sand.

For there will come the sailors,

Their voices I shall hear,

And at casting of the anchor

The yo-ho loud and clear;

And at hauling of the anchor

The yo-ho and the cheer,—

Farewell, my love, for to thy bay

I nevermore may steer!