Sea-bird, skimmer of the waves,
Whither doth thy journey tend?
Is it to some southern shore,
Where the meadow-rushes bend,
Where the orange-blossoms blow,
Where the aloe and the palm
Flourish, and magnolias glow,
Filling all the air with balm?
Rather is thy pilgrim wing
Fleeting to some northern bar,
Where the rocky reef juts out,
And the sand-beach stretches far?
There in hot and silvery sand
All thy pearly eggs to lay,
There to teach thy little brood
O'er the tumbling surf to play.
Haply sailing o'er the brine,
Painted 'gainst a lurid sky,
On the gray horizon's verge
Thou dost even now descry
Some lone bark with shatter'd mast,
Bulwarks swept, and ragged sail,
Fighting with the ocean-blast,
Lost in shipwreck and in gale.
Restless, roving, lonely bird,
Wanderer of tlie pathless seas,
Now where tropic woods are stirr'd,
Now where floating icebergs freeze;
Seldom doth the solid shore
See thy wings expand no more.