At Sea

THE night is made for cooling shade,
For silence, and for sleep ;
And when I was a child, I laid
My hands upon my breast, and prayed,
And sank to slumbers deep :
Childlike as then, I lie to-night,
And watch my lonely cabin light.

Each movement of the swaying lamp
Shows how the vessel reels:
As o’er her deck the billows tramp,
And all her timbers strain and cramp
With every shock she feels,
It starts and shudders, while it burns,
And in its hingèd socket turns.

Now swinging slow, and slanting low,
It almost level lies ;
And yet I know, while to and fro
I watch the seeming pendule go
With restless fall and rise,
The steady shaft is still upright,
Poising its little globe of light.

O hand of God ! O lamp of peace !
O promise of my soul!—
Though weak, and tossed, and ill at case,
Amid the roar of smiting seas,
The ship’s convulsive roll,
I own, with love and tender awe,
Yon perfect type of faith and law !

A heavenly trust my spirit calms,
My soul is filled with light:
The ocean sings his solemn psalms,
The wild winds chant: I cross my palms,
Happy as if, to-night,
Under the cottage-roof, again
I heard the soothing summer-rain.