Project Canterbury

Songs and Ballads for the People

By the Rev. John Mason Neale

London: James Burns, 1843.

IX. The Fisherman's Song.

Come, messmates! 'tis time to hoist our sail;
It is fair as fair can be;
And the ebbing tide and the northerly gale
Will carry us out to sea.
So down with the boat from the beach so steep,
We must part with the setting sun;
For ere we can spread out our nets in the deep,
We've a weary way to run.

As through the night-watches we drift about,
We'll think of the times that are fled,
And of Him Who once call'd other fishermen out
To be fishers of men instead.
Like us, they had hunger and cold to bear;
Rough weather, like us, they knew;
And He Who guarded them by His care
Full often was with them too!

'Twas the fourth long watch of a stormy night,
And but little way they had made,
When He came o'er the waters and stood in their sight,
And their hearts were sore afraid;
But He cheer'd their spirits, and said, It is I,
And then they could fear no harm;
And though we cannot behold Him nigh,
He is guarding us still with His Arm.

They had toil'd all the night, and had taken nought;
He commanded the stormy sea;
They let down their nets, and of fishes caught
An hundred and fifty-three.
And good success to our boat He will send,
If we trust in His mercy aright;
For He pitieth those who at home depend
On what we shall take to-night.

And if ever in danger and fear we are toss'd
About on the stormy deep,
We'll tell how they once thought that all was lost,
When their Lord "was fast asleep:"
He saved them then--He can save us still--
For His are the winds and the sea;
And if He is with us, we'll fear no ill,
Whatever the danger be.

Or if He see fit that our boat should sink,
By a storm or a leak, like lead,
Yet still of the glorious day we'll think,
When the sea shall yield her dead;
For they who depart in His faith and fear
Shall find that their passage is short,
From the troublesome waves that beset life here,
To the everlasting port.

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