previous next

[252] Then up spake John de Matha:
     “God's errands never fail!
Take thou the mantle which I wear,
     And make of it a sail.”

They raised the cross-wrought mantle,
     The blue, the white, the red;
And straight before the wind off-shore
     The ship of Freedom sped.

‘God help us!’ cried the seamen,
     “For vain is mortal skill:
The good ship on a stormy sea
     Is drifting at its will.”

Then up spake John de Matha:
     “My mariners, never fear!
The Lord whose breath has filled her sail
     May well our vessel steer!”

So on through storm and darkness
     They drove for weary hours;
And lo! the third gray morning shone
     On Ostia's friendly towers.

And on the walls the watchers
     The ship of mercy knew,—
They knew far off its holy cross,
     The red, the white, and blue.

And the bells in all the steeples
     Rang out in glad accord,
To welcome home to Christian soil
     The ransomed of the Lord.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Matha (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: