I MADE a ship of my cruelty,
A wonderful, terrible ship,
With masts of silver and ebony,
And bulwarks of carven ivory,
And a figure-head of chalcedony,
And a prow like a lion's lip.
And I sat in the stern of my ship,
Alone, be it said and known,
You are always alone in that kind of ship,
Put your finger upon your lip!
Christ's mother, how deep alone!
And in my ship I sailed;
And the waters were purple and green;
And all day long the sea-gulls wailed
And the sun went down and the waters paled
And a phantom-moon was seen.
And under the moon I still sailed on;
But not only the moon was there!
Algol, the Demon's Eye, looked down —
Algol, the Eye of the Demon, shone,
Thro' the chill and frozen air.
Oh ship, my ship, called Cruelty!
Is it forgotten then of thee
How we came in the hour of dawn
To a land where silence covered the sea,
To a harbour of virginal mystery
And a little pier forlorn?
For the people fled away
When they saw my terrible ship,
Livid, phantom-like and grey,
Led by Algol, at break of day,
Into that harbour slip!
But one fled not. One stood
On the edge of the little pier,
A boy — a boy in his solitude!
A girl — a girl in her fear!
No boy — no girl; a god, a god!
And I hoisted the sails of my ship;
And Cruelty, with Love on board,
— Your finger on your lip!
Went sailing, sailing over the sea
Till the sun grew like the moon;
Till the moon — oh, mother of mystery!
Till the moon grew like the sun.
And Algol, the Demon's Eye, looked down
Upon that curious ship;
Algol, the Eye of the Demon, shone —
Your finger on your lip!
But Love and I played a deeper game
Than any Demons know,
And my ship, my ship without a name,
On the purple sea a silver flame,
From Earth to Heaven did go.
O Prince! make of your cruelty
A ship and not a sword.
Give it masts of silver and ebony!
Give it bulwarks of carven ivory,
And a figure-head of chalcedony;
And take on board a god!
|This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1963, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 30 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.