Seen and Unseen

THE wind ahead, the billows high,
A whited wave, but sable sky,
And many a league of tossing sea
Between the hearts I love and me.

The wind ahead : day after day
These weary words the sailors say ;
To weeks the days are lengthened now,—
Still mounts the surge to meet our prow.

Through longing day and lingering night
I still accuse Time’s lagging flight,
Or gaze out o’er the envious sea,
That keeps the hearts I love from me.

Yet, ah, how shallow is all grief!
How instant is the deep relief!
And what a hypocrite am I,
To feign forlorn, to ’plain and sigh !

The wind ahead ? The wind is free !
Forever more it favoreth me,—
To shores of God still blowing fair,
O’er seas of God my bark doth bear.

This surging brine I do not sail,
This blast adverse is not my gale ;
’Tis here I only seem to be,
But really sail another sea,—

Another sea, pure sky its waves,
Whose beauty hides no heaving graves,—
A sea all haven, whereupon
No hapless bark to wreck hath gone.

The winds that o’er my ocean run
Reach through all heavens beyond the sun ;
Through life and death, through fate, through time,
Grand breaths of God, they sweep sublime.

Eternal trades, they cannot veer,
And, blowing, teach us how to steer;
And well for him whose joy, whose care,
Is but to keep before them fair.

Oh, thou God’s mariner, heart of mine,
Spread canvas to the airs divine !
Spread sail ! and let thy Fortune be
Forgotten in thy Destiny !

For Destiny pursues us well,
By sea, by land, through heaven or hell ;
It suffers Death alone to die,
Bids Life all change and chance defy.

Would earth's dark ocean suck thee down ?
Earth’s ocean thou, O Life, shalt drown,
Shalt flood it with thy finer wave,
And, sepulchred, entomb thy grave !

Life loveth life and good : then trust
What most the spirit would, it must;
Deep wishes, in the heart that be,
Are blossoms of Necessity.

A thread of Law runs through thy prayer,
Stronger than iron cables are ;
And Love and Longing toward her goal
Are pilots sweet to guide the Soul.

So Life must live, and Soul must sail,
And Unseen over Seen prevail,
And all God’s argosies come to shore,
Let ocean smile, or rage and roar.

And so, ’mid storm or calm, my bark
With snowy wake still nears her mark;
Cheerly the trades! of being blow,
And sweeping down the wind I go.