The Shining Adventure

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The Shining Adventure  (1921) 
by Henry Clarence Pitz
As rendered in the March 1921 issue of St. Nicholas:


The Shining Adventure

By Henry C. Pitz

At amber dawn we put to sea,
   With sails of broidered gold,
All day we swept, while the heavens wept,
   All night we tossed and rolled.

The white foam broke from her ivory bow,
   Like lace from my lady's throat;
The north wind shrilled in the rigging-lines,
   A piercing treble note.
Day by day we scudded south,
   Under a torrid sun;
At night the stars, in our teak-wood spars,
   Twinkled a benison.

We came to a sea of phantom winds
   And phosphorescent mist.
Lit with a strange, uncertain light,
   And ringed with amethyst.
While grim across our painted bow,
   There crouched the Unknown Land—
A craggy height of chrysolite,
   A beach of shell-pale sand.

Then we sharpened bright each falchion edge,
   Whetted the halberd points,
Greased the hides on the battle shields,
   Tightened the armor joints.
Through the surf from our anchored ship
   We waded—freemen all;
Flung to the sky our battle-cry,
   And stormed the city wall.

The arrows on our crested helms
   Dinned like autumn hail;
Sword and mace and battle-ax
   Scarred our burnished mail.
Back we pressed their panting ranks;
   Hacked a crimson lane;
Our wild war-song and battle-gong
   Drowned their feeble strain.

The rose light of the fading sun
   Fell o'er a vanquished race;
Slain were their three-score champions;
   Their town a conquered place!
Then we to ship and sea again;
   Ho, for the home-land shore!
With scars and wounds and gold doubloons
   And tales for minstrels' lore.

Now this adventure, wild and strange
   As heart could e'er desire,
Was mine one day—while I sat and dozed
   Before a glowing fire.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1976, 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.