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Poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson

THE SAILOR BOY.
  

He rose at dawn and, fired with hope,
  Shot o'er the seething harbor-bar,
And reach'd the ship and caught the rope,
  And whistled to the morning star.

And while he whistled long and loud
  He heard a fierce mermaiden cry,
`O boy, tho' thou art young and proud,
  I see the place where thou wilt lie.

`The sands and yeasty surges mix
  In caves about the dreary bay,
And on thy ribs the limpet sticks,
  And in thy heart the scrawl shall play.'

`Fool,' he answer'd, `death is sure
  To those that stay and those that roam,
But I will nevermore endure
  To sit with empty hands at home.

`My mother clings about my neck,
  My sisters crying "stay for shame;"
My father raves of death and wreck,
  They are all to blame, they are all to blame.

`God help me! save I take my part
  Of danger in the roaring sea,
A devil rises in my heart,
  Far worse than any death to me.'