1 TO-DAY a rude brief recitative, Of ships sailing the Seas, each with its special flag or ship-signal; Of unnamed heroes in the shipsâ€”Of waves spreading and spreading, far as the eye can reach;
Of dashing spray, and the winds piping and blowing; And out of these a chant, for the sailors of all nations, Fitful, like a surge.
Of Sea-Captains young or old, and the Matesâ€”and of all intrepid Sailors; Of the few, very choice, taciturn, whom fate can never surprise, nor death dismay, Pickâ€™d sparingly, without noise, by thee, old Oceanâ€”chosen by thee, Thou Sea, that pickest and cullest the race, in Time, and unitest Nations! Suckled by thee, old husky Nurseâ€”embodying thee! Indomitable, untamed as thee.
(Ever the heroes, on water or on land, by ones or twos appearing, Ever the stock preservâ€™d, and never lost, though rareâ€”enough for seed preservâ€™d.)
2 Flaunt out O Sea, your separate flags of nations! Flaunt out, visible as ever, the various ship-signals! But do you reserve especially for yourself, and for the soul of man, one flag above all the rest, A spiritual woven Signal, for all nations, emblem of man elate above death, Token of all brave captains, and all intrepid sailors and mates, And all that went down doing their duty; Reminiscent of themâ€”twined from all intrepid captains, young or old; A pennant universal, subtly waving, all time, oâ€™er all brave sailors, All seas, all ships.