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Short poem

William Wilfred Campbell (1858?-1918)

The Dread Voyage

              1Trim the sails the weird stars under—
              2Past the iron hail and thunder,
              3Past the mystery and the wonder,
              4     Sails our fated bark;
              5Past the myriad voices hailing,
              6Past the moaning and the wailing,
              7The far voices failing, failing,
              8     Drive we to the dark.

              9Past the headlands grim and sombre,
            10Past the shores of mist and slumber,
            11Leagues on leagues no man may number,
            12     Soundings none can mark;
            13While the olden voices calling,
            14One by one behind are falling;
            15Into silence dread, appalling,
            16     Drift we to the dark.

            17Far behind, the sad eyes yearning,
            18Hands that wring for our returning,
            19Lamps of love yet vainly burning:
            20     Past the headlands stark!
            21Through the wintry snows and sleeting,
            22On our pallid faces beating,
            23Through the phantom twilight fleeting,
            24     Drive we to the dark.

            25Without knowledge, without warning,
            26Drive we to no lands of morning;
            27Far ahead no signals horning
            28     Hail our nightward bark.
            29Hopeless, helpless, weird, outdriven,
            30Fateless, friendless, dread, unshriven,
            31For some race-doom unforgiven,
            32     Drive we to the dark.

            33Not one craven or unseemly;
            34In the flare-light gleaming dimly,
            35Each ghost-face is watching grimly:
            36     Past the headlands stark!
            37Hearts wherein no hope may waken,
            38Like the clouds of night wind-shaken,
            39Chartless, anchorless, forsaken,
            40     Drift we to the dark.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Wilfred Campbell, The Dread Voyage: Poems (Toronto: William Briggs, 1893), pp. 11-13. B-10 5840 Fisher Library.
First publication date: 1893
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/12

Composition date: 1890 - 1891
Composition date note: 1890-91
Rhyme: aaabccccb

Other poems by William Wilfred Campbell