From the Book of Valentines

by Bliss Carman




There's many a quiet seaport that waits the daring sail;
There's many a lonely farer by many a doubtful trail.
And what should be their star
To lead them safe and far,—
What guide to take them o'er the crest, what pilot past the bar,—

Save Love, the great adventurer who will not turn nor quail?

As a voyager might remember how the face of earth was changed,—
All the dreary grey of winter forgotten and estranged,—
When he rode the tempest through
And steered into the blue

Of a tranquil tropic morning diaphanous and new,
With palms upon the sea-rim where the flying-fishes ranged;

As a lover in old story on a night of wind and rain
Might have stood beneath a window, till a lamp should light the pane
And a lady lean one arm


On the glowing square and warm,—
A girlish golden figure in a frame of dark and storm,—
To look the longest moment ere he turned to life again,

Then set a stubborn shoulder to wind and sleet and snow,
With the weather foul above him and the pavement foul below;


So it happened in my case;
When I saw her, every trace
Of doubt and fear and languor to the pulse of joy gave place,
And the world was great and goodly as he planned it long ago.

There's a shipman who goes sailing where the sea is round and high;

There's a lover who goes piping where winds of morning cry;
And the lilt beneath his heart
Was timed to stop and start,
Till no more ships go sailing and the green hills fall apart.
O, friends, that minstrel-lover, that mariner am I.