Things Every Literate Person Knows
The following stanza is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem, “The Building of the Ship,” wherein the builder named the ship the Union.
Sail on, O UNION, Strong and Great!
The Ship of State.
THOU, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O UNION, strong and great!
Humanity, with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope;
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were forged the anchors of thy hope!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock,
‘Tis of the wave, and not the rock;
‘Tis but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock, and tempest roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee.
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith, triumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee,—are all with thee!
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
stanza from “The Building of the Ship,” 1849.