The Floating Straw


The wild waves are my nightly pillows,
Beneath me roll th' Atlantic billows;
And as I rest on my couch of brine
I watch the eternal planets shine.
Ever I ride
On a harmless tide,
Fearing naught — enjoying all things —
Undisturbed by great or small things.

Alas! for the lordly vessel
That sails so gallantly.
The winds may dash it,
The storms may wash it,
The lightnings rend its tall masts three;
But neither the wind, nor the rain, nor the sea
Can injure me — can injure me.
The lightnings cannot strike me down,
Whirlwinds wreck, or whirlpools drown;
And the ship to be lost ere the break of morn,
May pass o'er my head in saucy scorn;
And when the night unveils its face,
I may float, unharmed, in my usual place,
And the ship may show to the pitying stars
No remnant but her broken spars.

Among the shells
In the ocean dells
The ships, the crews, and the captains lie,
But the floating straw looks up to the sky.
And the humble and contented man,
Unknown to fortune, escapes her ban,
And rides secure when breakers leap,
And mighty ships go down to the deep.

May pleasant breezes waft them home
That plough with their keels the driving foam.
Heaven be their hope, and Truth their law; —
There needs no prayer for the floating straw.
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