O'er many a league of the unquiet main,
And through the mist high cliffs began to peer,
And from the broad beach stretched along below
Voices came, like the clear notes of the lark
When on the morning breezes he uplifts
His praise to the Creator, - voices sweet
As on the evening air the nightingale
Spreads through the gloomy groves, - sweet as the words
Unto a maiden by her lover given;
And still this seemed the burden of the song:-
O mariner, wearied with ceaseless strife,
With storms and tempests and the cruel sea,
Why do you longer labor for that life
Which Jove upon the earth doth yield to thee?
A little moment, and ye cease to be.
Why do ye labor on from day to day
For a bare pittance, which ye earn with pain
And eat in fear? Why do ye longer stay
Beneath the cruel gods' oppressing reign?
Why strive for that which ye can ne'er attain?
Why do ye linger on the barren earth?
Naught can it give you but unceasing pain,
For man is bred to sorrow from his birth,
And ever doomed to find his labor vain;
A little flower crushed by storms and rain.
Your shattered bark from wave to wave is tossed,
Ye live in sorrow and unending strife;
A pleasure gained is the next moment lost;
And yet ye cling to that brief span of life,
Each moment threatened by disease or knife.
Come unto us; here ye at last find rest, -
Rest from the lagging of the dreary years.
Of all good fortune is this not the best,
To live a life free from all sighs and tears;
Deep peace, disturbed by neither hopes nor fears?
Here rest and happiness and love await,
Beneath the shadow of this peaceful grot.
What is there better than this happy state,
To dwell in peace and rest and suffer not,
"The world forgetting, by the world forgot"?