copyright, Kellscraft Studio, 1999                                             
(Return to Web Text-ures)                                                                             

Click Here to return to
The Red Flower
Content Page

Click Here to return to
the previous section



They tell me thou art rich, my country: gold
     In glittering flood has poured into thy chest;
     Thy flocks and herds increase, thy barns are pressed
With harvest, and thy stores can hardly hold
Their merchandise; unending trains are rolled
     Along thy network rails of East and West;
     Thy factories and forges never rest;
Thou art enriched in all things bought and sold!

But dost thou prosper? Better news I crave.
     O dearest country, is it well with thee
     Indeed, and is thy soul in health?
A nobler people, hearts more wisely brave,
     And thoughts that lift men up and make them free,--
          These are prosperity and vital wealth!

The Hague, October 1, 1916.


The glory of ships is an old, old song,
     since the days when the sea-rovers ran
In their open boats through the roaring surf,
     and the spread of the world began;
The glory of ships is a light on the sea,
     and a star in the story of man.

When Homer sang of the galleys of Greece
     that conquered the Trojan shore,
And Solomon lauded the barks of Tyre that
     brought great wealth to his door,
'Twas little they knew, those ancient men,
     what would come of the sail and the oar.

The Greek ships rescued the West from the East,
     when they harried the Persians home;
And the Roman ships were the wings of strength
     that bore up the empire, Rome;
And the ships of Spain found a wide new world,
     far over the fields of foam.

Then the tribes of courage at last saw clear
     that the ocean was not a bound,
But a broad highway, and a challenge to seek
     for treasure as yet unfound;
So the fearless ships fared forth to the search,
     in joy that the globe was round.

Their hulls were heightened, their sails spread out,
     they grew with the growth of their quest;
They opened the secret doors of the East,
     and the golden gates of the West;
And many a city of high renown
     was proud of a ship on its crest.

The fleets of England and Holland and France
     were at strife with each other and Spain;
And battle and storm sent a myriad ships
     to sleep in the depths of the main;
But the seafaring spirit could never be drowned,
     and it filled up the fleets again.

They greatened and grew, with the aid of steam,
     to a wonderful, vast array,
That carries the thoughts and the traffic of men
     into every harbor and bay;
And now in the world-wide work of the ships
     'tis England that leads the way.

O well for the leading that follows the law
     of a common right on the sea!
But ill for the leader who tries to hold
     what belongs to mankind in fee!
The way of the ships is an open way,
     and the ocean must ever be free!

Remember, O first of the maritime folk,
     how the rise of your greatness began.
It will live if you safeguard the round-the-world road
     from the shame of a selfish ban;
For the glory of ships is a light on the sea,
     and a star in the story of man!

September 12, 1916.



You dare to say with perjured lips,
"We fight to make the ocean free"?
You, whose black trail of butchered ships
Bestrews the bed of every sea
Where German submarines have wrought
Their horrors! Have you never thought,--
What you call freedom, men call piracy!


Unnumbered ghosts that haunt the wave,
Where you have murdered, cry you down;
And seamen whom you would not save,
Weave now in weed-grown depths a crown
Of shame for your imperious head,--
A dark memorial of the dead,
Women and children whom you sent to drown.


Nay, not till thieves are set to guard
The gold, and corsairs called to keep
O'er peaceful commerce watch and ward,
And wolves to herd the helpless sheep,
Shall men and women look to thee,
Thou ruthless Old Man of the Sea,
To safeguard law and freedom on the deep!


In nobler breeds we put our trust:
The nations in whose sacred lore
The "Ought" stands out above the "Must,"
And honor rules in peace and war.
With these we hold in soul and heart,
With these we choose our lot and part,
Till Liberty is safe on sea and shore.

London Times, February l2, 1917.


Thou warden of the western gate, above Manhattan Bay,
The fogs of doubt that hid thy face are driven clean away:
Thine eyes at last look far and dear, thou liftest high thy hand
To spread the light of liberty world-wide for every land.

No more thou dreamest of a peace reserved alone for thee,
While friends are fighting for thy cause beyond the guardian sea:
The battle that they wage is thine; thou fallest if they fall;
The swollen flood of Prussian pride will sweep unchecked o'er all.

O cruel is the conquer-lust in Hohenzollern brains:
The paths they plot to gain their goal are dark with shameful stains:
No faith they keep, no law revere, no god but naked Might ;--
They are the foemen of mankind. Up, Liberty, and smite!

Britain, and France, and Italy, and Russia newly born,
Have waited for thee in the night. Oh, come as comes the morn!
Serene and strong and full of faith, America, arise,
With steady hope and mighty help to join thy brave Allies.

0 dearest country of my heart, home of the high desire,
Make clean thy soul for sacrifice on Freedom's altar-fire:
For thou must suffer, thou must fight, until the war-lords cease,
And all the peoples lift their heads in liberty and peace.

London Times, April 12, 1917.



I never thought again to hear
The Oxford thrushes singing clear,
Amid the February rain,
Their sweet, indomitable strain.

A wintry vapor lightly spreads
Among the trees, and round the beds
Where daffodil and jonquil sleep,
Only the snowdrop wakes to weep.

It is not springtime yet. Alas,
What dark, tempestuous days must pass,
Till England's trial by battle cease,
And summer comes again with peace.

The lofty halls, the tranquil towers,
Where Learning in untroubled hours
Held her high court, serene in fame,
Are lovely still, yet not the same.

The novices in fluttering gown
No longer fill the ancient town,
But fighting men in khaki drest--
And in the Schools the wounded rest.

Ah, far away, 'neath stranger skies
Full many a son of Oxford lies,
And whispers from his warrior grave,
"I died to keep the faith you gave."

The mother mourns, but does not fail,
Her courage and her love prevail
O'er sorrow, and her spirit hears
The promise of triumphant years.

Then sing, ye thrushes, in the rain
Your sweet indomitable strain.
Ye bring a word from God on high
And voices in our hearts reply.


Home, for my heart still calls me;
     Home, through the danger zone;
Home, whatever befalls me,
     I will sail again to my own!

Wolves of the sea are hiding
     Closely along the way,
Under the water biding
     Their moment to rend and slay.

Black is the eagle that brands them,
     Black are their hearts as the night,
Black is the hate that sends them
     To murder but not to fight.

Flower of the German Culture,
     Boast of the Kaiser's Marine,
Choose for your emblem the vulture,
     Cowardly, cruel, obscene!

Forth from her sheltered haven
     Our peaceful ship glides slow,
Noiseless in flight as a raven,
     Gray as a hoodie crow.

She doubles and turns in her bearing,
     Like a twisting plover she goes;
The way of her westward faring
     Only the captain knows.

In a lonely bay concealing
     She lingers for days, and slips
At dusk from her covert, stealing
     Thro' channels feared by the ships.

Brave are the men, and steady,
     Who guide her over the deep,--
British mariners, ready
     To face the sea-wolf's leap.

Lord of the winds and waters,
     Bring our ship to her mark,
Safe from this game of hide-and-seek
     With murderers in the dark!

On the S. S. Baltic, May, 1917.

  copyright, Kellscraft Studio, 1999                                             
(Return to Web Text-ures)