Frederick George Scott

COLLECTED POEMS


 

Knowledge



They were islanders, our fathers were,
    And they watched the encircling seas,
And their hearts drank in the ceaseless stir,
    And the freedom of the breeze;
Till they chafed at their narrow bounds
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    And longed for the sweep of the main,
And they fretted and fumed like hounds
    Held in within sight of the plain
                      And the play
                      And the prey.
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So they built them ships of wood, and sailed
    To many an unknown coast;
They braved the storm and battles hailed,
    And danger they loved most;
Till the tiny ships of wood
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    Grew powerful on the globe,
And the new-found lands for good
    They wrapped in a wondrous robe
                      Of bold design,
                      Our brave ensign.
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And islanders yet in a way are we,
    Our knowledge is still confined,
And we hear the roar of encircling sea,
    To be crossed in the ship of the mind;
And we dream of lands afar,
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    Unknown, unconquered yet,
And we chafe at the bounds there are,
    And our spirits fume and fret
                      For the prize
                      Of the wise. [Page 106]
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But we’ll never do aught, I know, unless
    We are brave as our sires of old,
And face like them the bitterness
    Of the battle and storm and cold,
Unless we boldly stand,
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    When men would hold us back,
With the tiller in our hand,
    And our eyes to the shining track
                      Of what may be
                      Beyond the sea.
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There are rocks out there in that wide, wide sea,
    ’Neath many a darkling stream,
And souls that once sailed out bold and free
    Have been carried away in a dream;
For they never came back again—
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    On the deep the ships were lost;
But in spite of the danger and pain,
    The ocean has still to be crossed,
                      And none can this do
                      But the brave and the true. [Page 107]
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