The Civil War Connections Blog

A Poetic Interlude


Forgive my radio silence, gentle blog-readers, but it has been a busy fall! However, today, as I was preparing for teaching a class for the College of William & Mary’s Christopher Wren Association tomorrow, I stumbled upon this little piece of Victorian poesy and simply had to share.  Get your hankies ready!

 

From Harper’s Weekly, July 26, 1862 page 474

 

BY THE SEA-SIDE.

The swift winds run
Under the sun,
And under the silver moon:
They have taken away my little one;
May they bring him back to me soon.

He is strong and tough,
And manly enough,
But he hath a wayward will;
My son is a sailor rude and rough,
But he seems my little one still.

Blow, winds, blow!
And may he know
The comfort that mothers lack;
Follow him swift where’er he shall go,
And change him, and bring him back.

He sailed away
On a stormy day
So many long years ago;
For his heart was angry and stubborn—Say,
Is my little one dead or no?

If the cold sea moans
O’er my little one’s bones,
Let the waters be tranquil and blue;
But blow him back, if he live, for he owns
A willful nature like you.

Blow, winds, blow!
Go, winds, go
Over the salt sea-foam;
And when, with your changes, he changes, oh,
Let the sweet change waft him home.

Ye winds, I trow
I care not now
Though your wild sea-mirth he has drank,
He is still my little one, though his brow
Be as dark as the sea-weed dank.

Though his eyes be cold
As the sea-caves old,
Though his beard be fierce as foam,
Though he be waywarder twentyfold,
Bring my little one home.

Flee, winds, flee!
Ye are dear to me
For the sake of my little one;
Full many a year, in my place by the sea,
Ye have put me in mind of my son.

Full many a year
Have ye both been dear!
After him, swift winds, fly:
Come back together, that I may hear
Your voices mingling, and die.