A More Ancient Mariner

By Bliss Carman

The swarthy bee is a buccaneer,
A burly, velveted rover,
Who loves the booming wind in his ear
As he sails the seas of clover.
A waif of the goblin pirate crew,
With not a soul to deplore him,
He steers for the open verge of blue
With the filmy world before him.
Out in the day, haphazard, alone,
Booms the old vagrant hummer,
With only his whim to pilot him
Through the splendid vast of summer.
His flimsy sails abroad on the wind
Are shivered with fairy thunder;
On a line that sings to the light of his wings
He makes for the lands of wonder.
He harries the ports of the Hollyhocks,
And levies on poor Sweetbrier;
He drinks the whitest wine of Phlox,
And the Rose is his desire.
He hangs in the Willows a night and a day;
He rifles the Buckwheat patches;
Then battens his store of pelf galore
Under the tautest hatches.
He woos the Poppy and weds the Peach,
Inveigles Daffodilly,
And then like a tramp abandons each
For the gorgeous Canada Lily.
There’s not a soul in the garden world
But wishes the day were shorter,
When Mariner B. puts out to sea
With the wind in the proper quarter.
Or, so they say! But I have my doubts;
For the flowers are only human,
And the valour and gold of a vagrant bold
Were always dear to woman.
He dares to boast, along the coast,
The beauty of Highland Heather,—
How he and she, with night on the sea,
Lay out on the hills together.
His morals are mixed, but his will is fixed;
He prospers after his kind,
And follows an instinct, compass-sure,
The philosophers call blind.
And that is why, when he comes to die,
He’ll have an easier sentence
Than some one I know who thinks just so,
And then leaves room for repentance.

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