Henry Clarence Kendall

God Help our Men at Sea

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The wild night comes like an owl to its lair,
The black clouds follow fast,
And the sun-gleams die, and the lightnings glare,
And the ships go heaving past, past, past --
The ships go heaving past!
Bar the doors, and higher, higher
Pile the faggots on the fire:
Now abroad, by many a light,
Empty seats there are to-night --
Empty seats that none may fill,
For the storm grows louder still:
How it surges and swells through the gorges and dells,
Under the ledges and over the lea,
Where a watery sound goeth moaning around --
God help our men at sea!

Oh! never a tempest blew on the shore
But that some heart did moan
For a darling voice it would hear no more
And a face that had left it lone, lone, lone --
A face that had left it lone!
I am watching by a pane
Darkened with the gusty rain,
Watching, through a mist of tears,
Sad with thoughts of other years,
For a brother I did miss
In a stormy time like this.
Ah! the torrent howls past, like a fiend on the blast,
Under the ledges and over the lea;
And the pent waters gleam, and the wild surges scream --
God help our men at sea!

Ah, Lord! they may grope through the dark to find
Thy hand within the gale;
And cries may rise on the wings of the wind
From mariners weary and pale, pale, pale --
From mariners weary and pale!
'Tis a fearful thing to know,
While the storm-winds loudly blow,
That a man can sometimes come
Too near to his father's home;
So that he shall kneel and say,
"Lord, I would be far away!"
Ho! the hurricanes roar round a dangerous shore,
Under the ledges and over the lea;
And there twinkles a light on the billows so white --
God help our men at sea!

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Henry Clarence Kendall