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   English Poetry III: From Tennyson to Whitman.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
696. Qua Cursum Ventus
 
Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861)
 
 
AS ships, becalmed at eve, that lay
  With canvas drooping, side by side,
Two towers of sail at dawn of day
  Are scarce long leagues apart descried;
 
When fell the night, upsprung the breeze,        5
  And all the darkling hours they plied,
Nor dreamt but each the self-same seas
  By each was cleaving, side by side:
 
E’en so—but why the tale reveal
  Of those, whom year by year unchanged,        10
Brief absence joined anew to feel,
  Astounded, soul from soul estranged?
 
At dead of night their sails were filled,
  And onward each rejoicing steered—
Ah, neither blame, for neither willed,        15
  Or wist, what first with dawn appeared!
 
To veer, how vain! On, onward strain,
  Brave barks! In light, in darkness too,
Through winds and tides one compass guides:
  To that, and your own selves, be true.        20
 
But O blithe breeze; and O great seas,
  Though ne’er, that earliest parting past,
On your wide plain they join again,
  Together lead them home at last.
 
One port, methought, alike they sought,        25
  One purpose hold where’er they fare,—
O bounding breeze, O rushing seas!
  At last, at last, unite them there!
 

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