Dawn at Sea.

Through the pale gateways of the east where night and morning meet,1
The dawn arrives with golden wings and crimson-sandalled feet ;2
The morning breaks as a girl wakes, as dewy fresh and fair,3
And smiling on a new day shakes the darkness from her hair.4
Cool little courier breezes blow from the rose heart of the sun,5
Before his flaming chariot wheels the waves like heralds run ;6
While broad o’er crimsoning sea and sky his banners are unrolled,7
And landward far white cliff and scaur flash back the morning gold.8
O dawn upon the pleasant land, it is a gracious thing,9
It brings fresh hope to fainting hearts, new courage on its wing ;10
But dawn upon the troubled sea as life is unto death,11
And from the very lips of God cometh the morning’s breath.12
With leaping heart the fisher greets the first faint fires of day,13
The jealous gale, that rent his sail, at morning dies away ;14
He sees the harbour lying in the grey light warm and still,15
The friendly lighthouse on the cliff, and the kirk below the hill.16
His path upon the midnight sea goes sounding dark and dim,17
And grim the foe, aloft, alow, that watch and wait for him ;18
The skies that laughed all day, at night may burst in sullen thunder,19
While the black gulf of ocean yawns to suck his frail ship under.20
O none but those can know who’ve been in peril on the sea,21
What to the wearied shipman the dawn of day may be ;22
With skies as black as hell above, and a blacker sea beneath,23
A roar of breakers on his lee, and a plank ’twixt him and death.24