- Year Published: 1913
- Language: English
- Country of Origin: United States of America
- Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
- Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
- Word Count: 198
Dunbar, P. (1913). A Sailor's Song. Lyrics of the Hearthside (Lit2Go Edition). Retrieved August 20, 2014, from
Dunbar, Paul Laurence. "A Sailor's Song." Lyrics of the Hearthside. Lit2Go Edition. 1913. Web. <>. August 20, 2014.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, "A Sailor's Song," Lyrics of the Hearthside, Lit2Go Edition, (1913), accessed August 20, 2014,.
Oh for the breath of the briny deep,
And the tug of the bellying sail,
With the sea–gull’s cry across the sky
And a passing boatman’s hail.
For, be she fierce or be she gay,
The sea is a famous friend alway.
Ho! for the plains where the dolphins play,
And the bend of the mast and spars,
And a fight at night with the wild sea–sprite
When the foam has drowned the stars.
And, pray, what joy can the landsman feel
Like the rise and fall of a sliding keel?
Fair is the mead; the lawn is fair
And the birds sing sweet on the lea;
But the echo soft of a song aloft
Is the strain that pleases me;
And swish of rope and ring of chain
Are music to men who sail the main.
Then, if you love me, let me sail
While a vessel dares the deep;
For the ship ’s my wife, and the breath of life
Are the raging gales that sweep;
And when I ‘m done with calm and blast,
A slide o’er the side, and rest at last.