Fierce the sea is, and fickle if fair.1
So they say of it. So let it be2
But did ever the landsman’s languor check3
The seaman’s pride in his dancing deck ?4
Or did ever the helmsman, whose home is there,5
In place of his own true hand and eye,6
Trust the ploughman’s skill, when the sea ran high,7
And submit to a landsman’s usurpature ?8
No ! For the seaman loveth the sea,9
And knoweth its nature.10
Peril there is on the mountain peak,11
When headlong tumble the turbulent rills.12
But did ever the lowland shepherd’s fear13
Daunt the heart of the mountaineer ?14
Or did ever the hill-born hunter seek,15
When the snowdrift, sweeping the mountain wide,16
Flew fast and fierce, for a lowland guide17
To track the path of a mountain creature ?18
No ! For the huntsman loveth the hills,19
And knoweth their nature.20
Then to whom shall the sailor for counsel go,21
Thro’ the violent waters his bark to steer ?22
Or what, thro’ the ice and the falling snow,23
May guide the foot of the mountaineer ?24
Hath the huntsman heed of the pastoral trills25
Which the shepherd pipes to his flocks on the lea ?26
Or the seaman faith in the fear that fills27
The landsman’s babbling prate ?  Not he !28
For the heights and the depths have their ways and
Which they must learn who their lords would be ;30
And the highlander studies and trusts the hills,31
As the mariner studies and trusts the sea.32
But, O my love, I am thine in vain,33
If thou trustest me not !  And, oh ! why hast thou ta’en34
Counsel not of my nature nor thine35
How a woman should deal with this heart of mine ?36
The seaman the sea doth trust,37
And the huntsman the hills. But thou,38
Thou that hast known me, dost39
Trust those that I scorn to know40
For the knowledge of me ;41
Who have been thine own42
In vain, if by thee43
I be still unknown.44