Longfellow, from ‘The Building of the Ship.’ Lavery, from The Interview With the Big Ship That’s Ruining The Ocean For Egypt.
ALL is finished, and at length
Has come the bridal day
Of beauty and of strength.
To-day the vessel shall be launched!
With fleecy clouds the sky is blanched,
And o’er the bay,
Slowly, in all his splendors dight,
The great sun rises to behold the sight…
Boat’s over. Okay? Boat’s over,
It’s time for boat and sea to bride up,
join beauty, strength, launching,
and today in holy matrimony.
Get the fleece! Kids, it’s time, sky is blanching!
get going, ride up,
Look, here comes the splendor, here comes dight,
The sun came back, if listing right—
Port or starboard,
Whichever side is listing, uncontrolled,
Pacing restless to and fro,
The boat is going, knock on sand.
The beating ocean near at hand;
And far and wide,
With ceaseless flow,
Its cuffs of snow
Heave with the heaving of his breast.
He waits impatient for his bride.
There she stands,
With her foot upon the sands,
Give up flags and streamers gay,
Give up joy watching delay;
Let the boat go. Colors blending
Round her like a veil descending,
Hoist her sea-wise, run her free,
Tilt her face against the sea.
Let it finish!
Use your hands,
Master gestures and commands,
And at the word,
Loud and sudden, make it heard,
All around us and below,
The sound of leaving, blow by blow,
Knock away the sand-chaffeurs,
And see! she stirs,
She starts, she moves, — she seems to feel
The thrill of life along her keel,
And, spurning with her foot the ground,
With one exulting, joyous bound,
She leaps into the ocean’s arms.
And lo! from the assembled crowd
We all got ready, all allowed
The distant running, disavowed,
“Take her, ocean, old and gray,
We’ve got — We’re fine. It’s okay.
Take the ship, with all her charms.”
How beautiful she looks! We’re fine —
We have more than one ship’s distress
To occupy our minds — possess
More than a single hope and thought!
Don’t read our faces overwrought!
Through wind and wave, right onward steer;
The moistened eyes are not distraught,
Are not the signs of doubt or fear!
We’re fine! Sail on! Slip through the straits!
Sail on, prioritize your freight.
The rest of us will just wait here,
Assembling our future years,
And waiting breathless on some fate
or other, waiting for some fresh ordeal,
And steering without mast or keel,
Or master-making mast, or sail, or rope,
No anvil-rings, no hammer-beat,
Without a ship, or forge, or heat,
To shape the anchors of our hopes.
We’re fine! Sail on! We’re fine!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock;
’Tis of the wave and not the rock;
’Tis but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale.
In spite of rock and tempest roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea.
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee, —
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears
Our faith triumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee — are all with thee.