The Chantey of the Galilean Fishermen

While the hills of Galilee hung as in a sea of glass,
Peter, Andrew, James, and John, when they saw the Dreamer pass,
With the clouts that they had on, left their nets' live, tangled mass—

Left the fishes where they lay, seething silver, on the sand.
Zebedee in vain, in vain raised his clenched, protesting hand,
Captain of the fisher-fleet, twelve brown sails at his command.

Thrice the Man had talked with them at the quiet edge of day,
Where his dozen, sail-stripped masts, rocking slow, at anchor lay,
But he'd never even dreamed He would lure his sons away!

John was he who sang so well when the battling nets they drew;
Peter'd hook leviathan just to fetch a nearer view;
James could row, and Andrew mend—four, the best men of his crew!

“O, my sons, what fools you are,” cried their father Zebedee,
“To go running off like this—when you're sure of work with me—
With a Man who boasts a ship on a far, untravelled sea!”

“Yes, you're fools,” a gossip said, “fools to leave your father so—
Leave the ships you've learned to sail and the nets you've learned to throw,
On the word a Stranger gives of a Way you do not know.”

“Oh,” said Peter, “we don't care to what unknown port we sail.
When all other craft lie deep, whelmed in foam from rail to rail,
Captain swears no better ship ever keeled along the gale.”

“Oh, the ship that waits for us,” it was gentle Andrew said,
“It will weather any storm, Captain says, that ship bestead,
Though the stars stoop down and whirl by the lifted mainmast head.”

“Oh, we've signed on, father dear, with a greater Shipman now,
For to cast a world-wide net from a starry vessel's prow,”
Spoke up John, while sunset lay like a halo on his brow.

James said nothing, only laughed, the Adventure in his face.
They departed as the stars lit illimitable space.
All the neighbours said such sons were a scandal and disgrace.
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