A Celebration of Women Writers

"The Distant Ship" by Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) Records of Woman: With Other Poems. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, & London: T. Cadell, 1828, second edition. pp. 296-298.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 296] 


THE sea-bird's wing, o'er ocean's breast
  Shoots like a glancing star,
While the red radiance of the west
  Spreads kindling fast and far;
And yet that splendour wins thee not,–
  Thy still and thoughtful eye
Dwells but on one dark distant spot
  Of all the main and sky.

Look round thee!–o'er the slumbering deep
  A solemn glory broods;
A fire hath touch'd the beacon-steep,
  And all the golden woods;

[Page 297] 

A thousand gorgeous clouds on high
  Burn with the amber light!–
What spell, from that rich pageantry,
  Chains down thy gazing sight?

A softening thought of human cares,
  A feeling link'd to earth!
Is not yon speck a bark, which bears
  The lov'd of many a hearth?
Oh! do not Hope, and Grief, and Fear,
  Crowd her frail world even now,
And manhood's prayer and woman's tear,
  Follow her venturous prow?

Bright are the floating clouds above,
  The glittering seas below;
But we are bound by cords of love
  To kindred weal and wo.

[Page 2979] 

Therefore, amidst this wide array
  Of glorious things and fair,
My soul is on that bark's lone way,–
  For human hearts are there.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom