Ballad of Two Seas

By George Sterling

"Wherefore, thy woe these many years,
 O hermit by the sea?
What is the grief the winds awake,
 And the waters cry to thee?"

"It was in piracy we sailed,
 Great galleons to strip.
On a far day, on a far sea,
 We took her father's ship.

"Red-sided rocked the Rey del Sur
 Whenas its deck we won.
I slew before her eyes divine
 Her father and his son.

"There was no sin I had not sinned,
 On deep sea and ashore;
But when I looked in those great eyes
 Villain was I no more.

"I, captain, claimed her as my prize,
 Though maids in common were.
Alone 'mid that fell company
 I cast my lot with her.

"They put us in an open boat
 With four days' food and drink;
Then slipped those traitor topsails down
 Beyond the ocean's brink.

"Night came, and morn, but rose no sail
 On that horizon verge;
I took the oars and set our prow
 Against the lessening surge.

"It was scant provender we had,
 Though she was unaware;
Right soon I feared, and by deceit
 I gave her all my share.

"She would not speak; she scarce would look;
 Her pain was past my cure.
Red-scuppered in our hells of dream
 Wallowed the Rey del Sur.

"On a far day, on a far sea,
 Our shallop southward crept;
With weary arms and splitten lips
 I labored — and she wept.

"Dawn upon dawn, dark upon dark,
 Nor ever land nor wind!
The nights were chill, the stars were keen,
 The sun swung hot and blind.

"Our drink and food were long since gone. . . .
 We laid us down to die. . . .
Then came a booming of the surf,
 And palm trees met mine eye.

"I steered us through the broken reef;
 Fainting, I won to shore;
I gazed upon her changèd face,
 But she on mine no more.

"Below the palms I buried her
 Whose bale star I had been.
And since, by this bleak coast of snows,
 I sorrow for my sin.

"There was no other of our kind
 That had her heavenly face.
On a far Day, by a far Sea,
 I trust to know her grace."

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