Page:All quiet along the Potomac and other poems.djvu/212

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206 THE GRAY BOATMAN.

And if I come then to the May-buds no more, But sleep with the leaves on the October shore, I ll fold up my hands as I cling to the mast, Looking up to the flag till the earth-lights are passed.

��THE GRAY BOATMAN.

��"W

��HITHER, oh whither, boatman,

With your garb of hodden gray? From whence, and what your errand ? And where will you land, I pray?"

��" I come with the king s commission,

Still seeking if I may find On shore, in the hall, or hamlet, One ever-contented mind.

"I come from the mountain-streamlet;

I ve carried my gray canoe Around where the rocks are roughest ; The rapids I ve battled through.

I ve been at the woodman s cottage,

I ve answered the castle s call ;

But the jewel that tests the question

Grows paler before them all."

Then I saw on his broad breast lying An opal without its spark,

�� �