These very winds forget their way,

For God from these dread seas is gone;
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say”-

He said: "Sail on! sail on! and on!”

5 They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:

"This mad sea shows his teeth tonight.
He curls his lips, he lies in wait,

With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word;

What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leaped like a leaping sword:

“Sail on! sail on! and on!”


Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,

And peered through darkness. Ah, that night 15 Of all dark nights! And then a speck

A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!

It grew to be Time's burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world

Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”



Biography. Cincinnatus Heine Miller (1841-1913) was born in Wabash District, Indiana, but moved with his family, when he was about thirteen years of age, to the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Here he studied law and was admitted to the bar. His spare time while practicing his profession was spent in verse making. He wrote a defense of the Mexican brigand, Joaquin Murietta, and adopted his first name as a pseudonym. After traveling in Europe, he published his first volume of poems, Songs of the Sierras.

Discussion. 1. Do you like the way this poem opens? 2. Why did not the poet start his narrative with the beginning of the voyage? 3. What are the Gates of Hercules? 4. To whom did the mate expect to repeat what Columbus said? 5. How had a crew been secured for this voyage? 6. How did the men stand the test of the voyage? 7. What report of them did the mate give to Columbus? 8. What did he want Columbus to do if they should “sight naught but seas at dawn”? 9. What made the mate think that God had gone from those seas? 10. When did the events narrated in the fourth stanza take place? 11. What is the last question asked by the mate? How did Columbus answer the question? 12. What thought does the "leaping sword” give you? 13. Does the description of Columbus with which the last stanza opens seem in contrast with the "leaping sword"? 14. What did Columbus see that night? 15. What did that light tell him? 16. What does the poet mean when he says “It grew”? 17. What is the "starlit flag"? 18. What lesson did Columbus teach that world? 19. How has the poet made us feel the wonder, the triumph, and the thankfulness of Columbus when the light appeared ? 20. Why does the poet stop at this point? 21. What "grandest lesson" did Columbus give to the world? 22. How do you value perseverance and courage such as Columbus exemplified? 23. Compare the lesson this poem teaches with that of Kipling's “If”; with that of Burns's “A Man's a Man for A' That”; with that of Lowell's “Yussouf.” 24. Find in the Glossary: blanched; very; dread. 25. Pronounce: Joaquin.

Phrases for Study

gray Azores, 315, 1 ghosts of shores, 315,


ghastly wan, 315, 10
Time's burst of dawn, 316, 18



The splendor falls on castle walls

And snowy summits, old in story;
The long light shakes across the lakes;

And the wild cataract leaps in glory. 5 Blow, bugle, blow; set the wild echoes flying;

Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark! O hear! how thin and clear,

And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar,

The horns of Elfland, faintly blowing!
5 Blow-let us hear the purple glens replying;

Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky;

They faint on hill or field or river.
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,

And grow forever and forever.
Blow, bugle, blow; set the wild echoes flying;
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.



For Biography see page 78.

Discussion. 1. Find the two lines in the last stanza that express the heart of the poem. 2. The echoes of the bugle die; what becomes of the echoes of our words and actions? 3. What lines in Lowell's poem “Yussouf” (page 309) express the same thought? 4. Can you give an illustration from your school experience of the fact that a good example is contagious? How about selfish conduct? What opinion does Roosevelt express on this point in “The Heritage of Noble Lives" (page 304)? 5. Notice that the first stanza describes a beautiful setting for the blowing of the bugle; the second stanza is a poetic description of the echoes of the bugle; and the third is the poet's interpretation of the echoes, which he expresses to one whom he loves and who perhaps is with him at the moment. 6. Does the poet succeed in making you see a beautiful picture in the first four lines of the poem? 7. To what does the poet compare the echoes in the second stanza? 8. What words in the poem are particularly expressive? 9. Notice how the choice of words, the varied and interesting rimes, and the alliteration all contribute to the music of the poem. 10. Read again the note about lyric poetry on page 56, and then tell why this poem is called a lyric. Have you heard a phonograph record of it? 11. It is interesting to notice that Rupert

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Brooke in "Pine-Trees and the Sky,” Bryant in “To a Waterfowl,” and Tennyson in this poem follow the same plan—first stating a fact and then following with an interpretation of it, beautifully expressed. You will enjoy listening to a good reader in your class who is able to bring out the beauty of the imagery, the music of the lyric, and the contrast between “our echoes” and those of the bugle. 13. Memorize the poem.



This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,

Sails the unshadowed main

The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
5 In gulfs enchanted, where the siren sings,

And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.


Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;

Wrecked is the ship of pearl!

And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,

Before thee lies revealed-
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

15 Year after year beheld the silent toil

That spread his lustrous coil;

Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,

Stole with soft step its shining archway through,

Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.


Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,

Child of the wandering sea,

Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathéd horn!

While on mine ear it rings, 10 Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,

As the swift seasons roll!

Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
15 Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,

Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!


Biography. Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of a Congregational minister. He attended Phillips Andover Academy and was graduated from Harvard College in 1829. After studying medicine and anatomy in Paris, he began practicing in Boston. In 1847 he was made professor of physiology and anatomy at Harvard University, in which position he continued for thirty-five years. Holmes became famous when only twenty-one through the stirring stanzas of “Old Ironsides," a poem which he wrote as a protest against the dismantling of the historic battleship Constitution.

When Lowell was offered the editorship of the Atlantic Monthly he made it a condition of his acceptance that Holmes should be a contributor. The result was a series of articles entitled The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. Among his best-known poems are “The Chambered Nautilus” and “The Deacon's Masterpiece."

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