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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Lewis Frank Tooker (1855–1925)

“He Bringeth Them unto Their Desired Haven”

I KNEW a much-loved mariner

Who lies a fathom underground;

Above him now the grasses stir,

Two rose-trees set a bound.

From a high hill his grave looks out

Through sighing larches to the sea;

Now for the ocean’s raucous rout

All June the humblebee

Drones round him on the lonely steeps,

And shy wood-creatures come and go

Above the green mound where he keeps

His silent watch below.

An elemental man was he:

Loved God, his wife, his children dear,

And fared through dangers of the sea

Without a sense of fear.

And, loving nature, he was wise

In all the moods of wave and cloud:

Before the pageant of the skies

Nightly his spirit bowed:

Yet reckoned shrewdly with the gale,

And felt the viking’s fierce delight

To face the north wind’s icy hail,

Unmoved to thought of flight.

But wheresoe’er his prow was turned,

His thoughts, like homing pigeons, came

Back where his casement candle burned

Through many a league its flame.

Exiled from all he loved, at last

The summer gale has brought him home,

Where on the hillsides thickly massed

The elders break in foam.

The lonely highways that he knew

No longer hold him; nor the gale,

Sweeping the desolated blue,

Roars in his slanting sail.

For he has grown a part of all

The winter silence of the hills;

For him the stately twilights fall,

The hemlock softly shrills

In mimicry of gales that woke

His vigilance off many a shore

Whereon the vibrant billows broke.

Now he awakes no more.

He wakes no more! Ah me! his grief

Was ever that the sea had power

To hold from him the budding leaf,

The opening of the flower.

And so he hungered for the spring—

The hissing, furrow-turning plow,

The first thin notes the bluebirds sing,

The reddening of the bough.

Wave-deafened, many a night he stood

Upon his watery deck, and dreamed

Of thrushes singing in the wood,

And murmurous brooks that streamed

Through silver shallows, and of bees

Lulling the summer afternoon

With mellow trumpetings of ease,

Of drowsiness the boon;

And dreamed of growing old at home,

The wise Ulysses of his crew

Of children’s children, who would roam

With him the lands he knew,

And, wide-eyed, face with him the gale,

And hear the slanting billows roar

Their diapason round his rail—

All safe beside his door.

Now he has come into his own,—

Sunshine and bird-song round the spot,

And scents from spicy woodlands blown,—

Yet haply knows it not.

But round the grave where he doth keep,

Unsolaced by regret or woe,

His narrowed heritage in sleep,

The little children go.

They shyly go without a sound,

And read in reverent awe his name,

Until for them the very ground

Doth blossom with his fame.