A Quest

All in the summer even,
When sea and sky were bright,
As royally the sunset
Went forth to meet the night,

My Love and I were sailing
Into the shining West,
To find some Happy Island,
Some Paradise of rest.

We steered where sunset splendor
Made golden all the shore;
The rocks behind its brightness
Were cruel as before.

Within the caves sang sirens;
But there the whirlpools be:
Not there the Happy Islands,
Not there the peaceful sea.

Toward the deep mid-ocean
Tides ran and swift winds blew;
It must be there those Islands
Await the longing view.

Their shores are soft with verdure,
Their skies for ever fair,
And always is the fragrance
Of blossoms on the air.

I set our sail to seek them,
But she, my Love, drew back:
“Not yet; the night is chilly,
I fear that unknown track.”

So home we sailed, at twilight,
To the familiar shore;
Turned from the golden glory,
To live the old life o'er.

We'll make no further ventures,—
For timid is my Love,—
Until fresh sailing orders
Are sent us from above.

Then past the deep mid-ocean
'Twixt life and Life we'll steer,
To land on happier islands
Than those we dreamed of here.
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