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  ― 64 ―

Sailed

To the memory of the late J. F. Archibald, dear to old “Bulletin” bards.

SHE was not listed on your noisy quays,
O little port of Earth;
No screaming crane, no whining derrick's wheeze
Betrayed her secret berth,
Ere down the tide-way swift and white she slipped,
While every flag on one gay harbour dipped.

Perhaps old Pinch-gut spoke her in his sleep,
And South Head's sleepless eye
Gave her Godspeed ere heaved the trackless deep
To meet uncharted sky,
And brooding Darkness built her cloudy cairn
O'er Earth's poor little coast-lights, dropped astern.

Perhaps a wheeling gannet, outward blown,
Or the swift albatross,
Sighted her dropping down the dark, alone,
Where spectral wind-weeds toss,
And screaming turned him to the empty main
From harbour lights and kind home cliffs again.

For her nor sunken rock nor hidden shoal,
But that mysterious sea
Lip-lapping in the hollow of the bow!
God holds upon his knee,
While through His fingers sand of aeons runs
In constellated whirl of ordered suns.

For it was written in the Book of Years
Ere Earth's first rib was laid,
He that has kept the Faith among his peers,
And perished unafraid,
Shall have his place in that high company
Of gods that are when half-gods cease to be.




  ― 65 ―
And such shall have safe convoy till he stand,
Free from the fettering clod,
With that great brotherhood on either hand,
That walks and talks with God,
In loyal faith and goodly fellowship,
And simple singleness of eye and lip,

And sees revealed what human eyes behold
Dimly as in a glass,
When Eleusinian curtains backward fold
And the pale pageants pass….
Life's aimless martyrdom of blood and tears
In slow procession darkling down the years.

Of such was he who saw in broken gleams
The Vision Beautiful,
Nor shrank dismayed because his waking dreams
Transgressed the common rule;
Who dared be free to dare the “grand mistake,”
Or play the fool for nobler folly's sake.

Of such was he, our brother who has gone
Beyond our little grief;
Beyond the shadow of that Acheron
Of pestilent belief;
Who kept the Faith and flung Her standard free
To the young winds of all futurity.

She was not listed on your noisy quays,
O little port of Earth;
No screaming crane, no whining derrick's wheeze
Betrayed her secret berth,
Ere down the tide-way swift and white she slipped,
While every flag on one gay harbour dipped.

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