Storm – William Gay

I love not when the oily seas
Heave huge and slow beneath the sun,
When decks are hot, and dead the breeze,
And wits are dropping one by one.
But when the South wind fiercely breaks
His frozen bonds and rushes forth
Across the roaring sea and shakes
His icy spear against the North;
When breakers thunder on the lee,
When timbers crash and sails are rent,
When wild and louder grows the sea,
And black the reeling firmament;
O then at last my soul awakes,
A thousand joys within her rise,
And all the bounds of sense she breaks
To soar exulting through the skies.
I love not when my ship of Fate
Glides on before some fragrant breeze,
And slowly tracks with costly freight
The sapphire deeps of prosperous seas.
But when beneath the sky of death
She staggers through the seas of pain,
When passion’s hot tempestuous breath
Through shroud and tackle shrieks amain,
When deepening glooms the day o’erwhelm,
And all is one wild wreck of form,
O then resolved I grasp the helm
And proudly guide her through the storm.

The Singer – William Gay

Nay! sing no more thy wild delusive strain
(I heard them say, while I my song pursued),
‘Tis but the rage of thy delirious brain
(I heard them say, yet still my song renewed):
Nay! sing no more with reckless, idle breath
Of man immortal and of life to come,
For one brief moment scan the face of death,
Then be thy foolish song for ever dumb;
Behold the dusty ash that once was fire,
And mark the summer leaf in autumn fall,
Watch thou the wavering breath of man expire,
And know that Death hath lordship over all
(I heard them say with many a scornful word,
Yet still sang on as one who nothing heard).

The Crazy World – William Gay

THE WORLD did say to me,
‘My bread thou shalt not eat,
I have no place for thee
In house nor field nor street.

‘I have on land nor sea
For thee nor home nor bread,
I scarce can give to thee
A grave when thou art dead.’

‘O crazy World,’ said I,
‘What is it thou canst give,
Which wanting, I must die,
Or having, I shall live?

‘When thou thy all hast spent,
And all thy harvests cease,
I still have nutriment
That groweth by decrease.

‘Thy streets will pass away,
Thy towers of steel be rust,
Thy heights to plains decay,
Thyself be wandering dust;

‘But I go ever on
From prime to endless prime,
I sit on Being’s throne,
A lord o’er space and time.

‘Then, crazy World,’ said I,
‘What is it thou canst give,
Which wanting, I must die,
Or having, I shall live?’