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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 forthAcross 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.

© William Gay