CANADIAN BALLADS,

AND

OCCASIONAL VERSES.

By Thomas D’Arcy McGee


 

SEBASTIAN CABOT TO HIS LADY. (1)



I.


Dear my Lady, you will understand
By these presents coming to your hand,
Written in the Hyperborean seas
(Where my love for you doth never freeze),
Underneath a sky obscured with light,

5

Albeit called of mariner’s the night,
That my thoughts are not of lands unknown,
Nor crypts of gold within the southern zone,
But of a treasure dearer far to me,
In a fair isle of the ship-shadowed sea. [Page 9]

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II.


I asked the Sun but lately, as he set,
If my dear Lady in his course he met—
That she was matronly and passing tall,
That her young brow covered deep thought withal—
And the sun spoke not; next I asked the Wind

15

Which lately left my native shores behind,
If he had seen my Love the groves among,
That round our home their guardian shelter flung,
If he had heard the voice of song arise
From that dear roof beneath the eastern skies,

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If he had borne a prayer to heaven from thee
For a lone ship and thy lone Lord at sea?
And the Wind answered not, but fled amain,
As if he feared my questioning again.


III.


Anon the Moon, the meek-faced minion, rose,

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But nothing of my Love could she disclose;
Then my soul moved by its strong will, trod back
The shimmering vestige of our vessel’s track,
And I beheld you, darling, by our hearth:
Gone was your girlish bloom and maiden mirth,

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And Care’s too early print was on the brow,
Where I have seen the sunshine sham’d ere now;
And as unto your widowed bed you passed
I saw no more—tears blinded me at last. [Page 10]


IV.


But mourn not, Mary; let no dismal dream
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Darken the current of Hope’s flowing stream.
Trust Him who sets his stars on high to guide
Us, sinful sailors, through the pathless tide:
The God who feeds the myriads of the deep,
And spreads the oozy couches where they sleep:

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The God who gave even me a perfect wife,
The star, the lamp, the compass of my life;
He will replace me on a tranquil shore,
To live with Love and you for evermore.


V.


The watch is set, the tired sailors sleep,

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The star-eyed sky o’erhangs the dreamy deep—
No more, no more; I can no farther write;
Vain are my sighs, and weak my words this night;
But kneeling here, amid the seething sea,
I pray to God, my best beloved, for thee;

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And if that prayer be heard, as well it may,
Our parting night shall have a glorious day. [Page 11]