From The Bibliophile Library of Literature, Art, & Rare Manuscripts, Vol. XVIII, compiled and arranged by Nathan Haskell Dole, Forrest Morgan, and Caroline Ticknor; The International Bibliophile Society, New York-London; 1904; pp. 6146-6149.
[HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW: An American poet; born at Portland Me., February 27, 1807. He graduated from Bowdoin College at eighteen, having Nathaniel Hawthorne and Franklin Pierce as classmates. Appointed shortly after to the professorship of modern languages there, he spent two years in European travel to fit himself before assuming it. In 1836 he became professor of modern languages and literature at Harvard, and held the chair for eighteen years. He died at his home in Cambridge, Mass., March 24, 1882. His chief volumes of poetry are: “Voices of the Night” (1839), “Ballads,” “Spanish Student,” “Evangeline,” “The Golden Legend,” “The Song of Hiawatha,” “The Courtship of Miles Standish,” “Tales of a Wayside Inn.” He also wrote in prose: “Outre-Mer,” and the novels “Hyperion” and “Kavanagh.”]
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.
The ocean old,
Strong as youth, and as uncontrolled,
Paces restless to and fro,
Up and down the sands of gold.
His beating heart is not at rest;
And far and wide,
With ceaseless flow,
His beard of snow
Heaves with the heaving of his breast.
He waits impatient for his bride.
There she stands,
With her foot upon the sands,
Decked with flags and streamers gay,
In honor of her marriage day;
Her snow-white signals fluttering, blending
Round her like a veil descending,
Ready to be
The bride of the gray old sea.
Then the Master,
With a gesture of command,
Waved his hand;
And at the word,
Loud and sudden there was heard,
All; around them and below,
The sound of hammers, blow on blow,
Knocking away the shores and spurs.
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
There rose a shout, prolonged and loud,
6148 That to the ocean seemed to say,
“Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray;
Take her to thy protecting arms,
With all her youth and all her charms.”
How beautiful she is! how fair
She lies within those arms, that press
Her form with many a soft caress
Of tenderness and watchful care!
Sail forth into the sea, O ship!
Through wind and wave, right onward steer;
The moistened eye, the trembling lip,
Are not the signs of doubt or fear.
Sail forth into the sea of life,
O gentle, loving, trusting wife!
And safe from all adversity,
Upon the bosom of that sea
Thy comings and thy goings be!
For gentleness, and love, and trust,
Prevail o’er angry wave and gust;
And in the wreck of noble lives
Something immortal still survives!
Thou, too, sail on, O ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity, with all its fears,
With all its hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what master laid thy keel,
What workman wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge, and what a heat,
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope.
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, —
6149 Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears
Our faith triumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee — are all with thee.