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(I war with a darkling sea);
Would he stoop to my work in the gusty mirk? ('Shoal! 'Ware shoal!') Not he!
There was never a priest to pray,
I rock, I reel, and I roll
My four great hammers ply
Could I speak or be still at the Church's will?
The landward marks have failed,
I lift to the swell-I cry!
Could I wait in sloth on the Church's oath? ('Shoal! 'Ware shoal!') Not I!
At the careless end of night
I thrill to the nearing screw;
I turn in the nearing light
And I call to the drowsy crew;
And the mud boils foul and blue
As the blind bow backs away.
Will they give me their thanks if they clear the banks? ('Shoal! 'Ware shoal!') Not they!
THE BELL BUOY
The beach-pools cake and skim,
The gray, grained ice of the seas
Where, sheathed from bitt to trees,
The plunging colliers lie.
Would I barter my place for the Church's grace?
('Shoal! 'Ware shoal!') Not I!
Through the blur of the whirling snow,
Or the black of the inky sleet,
The lanterns gather and grow,
And I look for the homeward fleet.
Rattle of block and sheet
'Ready about-stand by!'
Shall I ask them a fee ere they fetch the quay? ('Shoal! 'Ware shoal!') Not I!
I dip and I surge and I swing
Between the course and the sand,
Fretted and bound I bide
Peril whereof I cry.
Would I change with my brother a league inland? ('Shoal! 'Ware shoal!') Not I!
S our mother the Frigate, bepainted and fine,
So we, her bold daughters by iron and fire,
Accost and decoy to our masters' desire.
Now pray you consider what toils we endure,
For this is our office: to spy and make room,
The pot-bellied merchant foreboding no wrong
And when we have wakened the lust of a foe,
To draw him by flight toward our bullies we go,
Till, 'ware of strange smoke stealing nearer, he fliesOr our bullies close in for to make him good prize.
So, when we have spied on the path of their host,
And, lest by false doubling they turn and go free,
Anon we return, being gathered again,
Across the sad valleys all drabbled with rain—
The bitter salt spindrift: the sun-glare likewise:
As maidens awaiting the bride to come forth
'What see ye? Their signals, or levin afar?
What hear ye?
What mark ye? blown?
God's thunder, or guns of our war?
Their smoke, or the cloud-rack out
What chase ye? Their lights, or the Day-star low down?'
So, times past all number deceived by false shows,