Swift o’er the lee when the wind flies free,
Follows the ship “Ohio,”
With skies o’ercast she bends to the blast,
Like a billowy bird she can fly, O,
And she’ll leave all behind in a whispering wind
As soft as a maiden’s sigh, O.
Or when o’er the Lakes the storm-cloud breaks,
And the waves scoop their murderous hollow,
While the weaker ship to its mooring must slip
And safe in a harbor wallow,
In the front of the storm she fills her white form,
And the demons of danger follow.
O for the life ‘mid the storm and the strife
Of sailor and storm and billow!
Far be my bed from the lubberly dead
That sleep near the wailing willow,
But give me the grave of the mutinous wave
With its heaving and whistling pillow.
Down from the skies look the spectral eyes
Of our kelpie, sprite and bewailer,
And gathering in crowds by the shivering shrouds,
They croon while our cheeks grow paler,
And they sing as they sweep o’er the clamorous deep:
“We love the hot heart of a sailor!”