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.