The Christian Mariner

"And so he bringeth them to the haven where they would be."
Yes, billow after billow—see they come
Faster and rougher, as his little boat
Nears evermore the haven. Oftentimes
It seems to sink and fall adown the wave,
As if borne backward by the struggling tide;
Yet mounting billow after billow, wave
On wave o'er riding, tempest-tossed, and shattered,
Still, still it nears the haven evermore.
"Poor mariner! art not thou sadly weary?"
Dear brother, rest is sweeter after toil.
"Grows not thine eye confused and dim with sight.
Of nothing but the wintry waters?" True;
But then my pole-star, constant and serene,
Above the changing waters, changes not.
"But what if clouds as often veil the sky?"
Oh, then an unseen hand hath ever ta'en
The rudder from my feeble hands the while;
And I cling to it. "Answer me once more,
Mariner; what thinkest thou when the waters beat
Thy frail boat backward from the longed-for harbor?"
Oh, brother, though innumerable waves
Still seem to rise betwixt me and my home,
I know that they are numbered; not one less
Should bear me homeward, if I had my will;
For One who knows what tempests are to weather,
O'er whom there broke the wildest billows once,
He bids these waters swell. In His good time
The last rough wave shall bear me on its bosom,
Into the haven of eternal peace.
No billows after! They are numbered, brother.
"Oh, gentle mariner, steer on, steer on;
My tears still flow for thee; but they are tears
In which faith strives with grief, and overcomes."
*** Some of the hymns may have been in print before.-ED.