The Sailor Boy


He rose at dawn and, fired with hope,
Shot o’er the seething harbor-bar,
And reach’d the ship and caught the rope,
And whistled to the morning star.

And while he whistled long and loud
He heard a fierce mermaiden cry,
‘O boy, tho’ thou art young and proud,
I see the place where thou wilt lie.

‘The sands and yeasty surges mix
In caves about the dreary bay,
And on thy ribs the limpet sticks,
And in thy heart the scrawl shall play.’

‘Fool,’ he answer’d, ‘death is sure
To those that stay and those that roam,
But I will nevermore endure
To sit with empty hands at home.

‘My mother clings about my neck,
My sisters crying, “Stay for shame;”
My father raves of death and wreck,–
They are all to blame, they are all to blame.

God help me! save I take my part
Of danger on the roaring sea,
A devil rises in my heart,
Far worse than any death to me.’ 


facebook share button twitter share button google plus share button tumblr share button reddit share button email share button share on pinterest pinterest

Create a library and add your favorite stories. Get started by clicking the "Add" button.
Add The Sailor Boy to your own personal library.

Return to the Alfred Lord Tennyson Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; The Sea-Fairies

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.