Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1380. Sea and Shore
 
By Harry Lyman Koopman
 
 
OUR Mother, loved of all thy sons
  So dear, they die, not dying for thee;
Yet are thy fondest, tenderest ones
  Thy wanderers far at sea.
 
Life-long the bitter blue they stem,        5
  Till custom makes it almost fair;
Sweet grow the splintering gales to them,
  The icy gloom, the scorching glare.
 
But thy dear eyes, which shine for all,
  They see not, save through homesick tears,        10
Or when thy smile, through battle-pall,
  Pays death and all their painful years.
 
Fair freedom’s gospel soundeth now
  Through softer lips than those of steel;
Rust gathers on the iron prow,        15
  And shore weeds clog the resting keel;
 
To-day thou askest life, not death;
  Our lives, for life and death, are thine:
Sweet are long years, and peaceful breath,
  And sunny age beneath its vine;        20
 
But there are those that deem more fair
  (O Mother, seen at last again!)
That smile the dying see thee wear,
  Choosing thine own among the slain.
 
Yet, being thine, we shall be brave,        25
  And, being thine, we will be true;
Where’er thou callest, on field or wave,
  We wait, thy will to do.
 

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