Far Horizons

by Bliss Carman


 

THE RETURN OF THE MAYFLOWER


 

I

 

DOWN the sparkling Channel,
Out of Plymouth Sound,
What gallant little craft is this
Making outward bound?

Who crowd along her taffrail

10
To look their last on home,
While the seas beneath her forefoot
Are trampled into foam,

And in the morning sunlight
Her last sail is unfurled?

15
She’s the Mayflower out from Plymouth,
Bound for the New World.

What cargo does she carry,
And what port will she make?
She has a hundred souls on board

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Would die for conscience’ sake.

And she will come to anchor
On a far Western beach,
By God's grace, past the farthest bounds
That tyranny can reach.

25

No Argo ever carried,
No pilgrim ever planned,
A more sublime adventure
Than this exalted band.

They bear the flower of England,

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To plant it over sea—
The holy seed of Runnymede
That men call Liberty.

And lo, that magic blossom
Shall flourish and increase,

35
To glad the souls of all mankind,
And fill the world with peace.

Warm are the Devon moorlands
In the September sun,
And over the dim unknown sea-rim

40
The Mayflower has gone.

 

II

 

Looming up the Channel,
Making Plymouth Sound,
What man-of-war is this that comes
Racing, victory bound?
45

Speeding as to battle,
On she comes amain,
Swift as an eagle’s shadow
Across the summer plain.

In power and in beauty

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Commanding on the seas,
She leads a stranger battle line—
What men, what ships are these?

Look, where she flies her colors—
The white and crimson bars,

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The ensign of the Rights of Man,
The Glory of the Stars!

Back from the ports of promise
Beyond the Western sea,
These are the breed of Runnymede,

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The Sons of Liberty.

To cheers that give her welcome
What answer will she make?
Hark to her thousand souls on board
Would die for freedom’s sake!

65

To stay the ancient altars,
Where fire of justice burns,
For freedom still as God may will,
The Mayflower returns.