The Good Craft Snow Bird

A poem by Herman Melville

Strenuous need that head-wind be
From purposed voyage that drives at last
The ship, sharp-braced and dogged still,
Beating up against the blast.

Brigs that figs for market gather,
Homeward-bound upon the stretch,
Encounter oft this uglier weather
Yet in end their port they fetch.

Mark yon craft from sunny Smyrna
Glazed with ice in Boston Bay;
Out they toss the fig-drums cheerly,
Livelier for the frosty ray.

What if sleet off-shore assailed her,
What though ice yet plate her yards;
In wintry port not less she renders
Summer's gift with warm regards!

And, look, the underwriters' man,
Timely, when the stevedore's done,
Puts on his specs to pry and scan,
And sets her down--A, No. 1.

Bravo, master! Bravo, brig!
For slanting snows out of the West
Never the Snow-Bird cares one fig;
And foul winds steady her, though a pest.

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