A Celebration of Women Writers

"Captains Adventurous." by Norah M. Holland (1876-1925)
From: Spun-Yarn And Spindrift. by Norah M. Holland. London & Toronto: J. M. Dent & Sons; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1918, p. 87.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 87] 


CAPTAINS adventurous, from your ports of quiet,
  From the ghostly harbours where your sea-beat galleons lie,
Say, do your dreams go back across the sea-line
  Where cliffs of England rise grey against the sky ?

Say, do you dream of the pleasant ports of old-time,
  Orchards of old Devon, all afoam with snowy bloom ?
Or have the mists that veil the Sea of Shadows
  Closed from your eyes all the memories of home ?

Feet of the Captains hurry through the stillness,
  Ghostly sails of galleons are drifting to and fro,
Voices of mariners sound across the shadows,
  Waiting the word that shall bid them up and go.

"Lo now," they say, "for the grey old Mother calls us,"
  (Listening to the thunder of the guns about her shore)
"Death shall not hold us, nor years that lie between us,
  Sail we to England, to strike for her once more."

Captains adventurous, rest ye in your havens,
  Pipe your ghostly mariners to keep their watch below;
Sons of your sons are here to strike for England,
  Heirs of your glory–Beatty, Jellicoe.

Yet shall your names ring on in England's story,
  You, who were the prophets of the mighty years to be;
Drake, Blake, and Nelson, thundering down the ages,
  Captains adventurous, the Masters of the Sea.

[Page 88]

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom