The ocean has a grandeur and a beauty of its own,
And across its face have many beauties passed,
And each succeeding age has seen its secrets better known,
And each has cried “Perfection come at last!”
Coracle and quinquereme, galleon and barque,
Each has given place to something new;
Fair ill-fated Wanderer, and gallant Cutty Sark
Progress has discarded even you!
We all regret the passing of the tall moonraking yards,
With their white wings throwing back the starlight’s gleam,
But clipper ship and quinquereme, they each have had their bards,
I sing the glory of the age of steam.
The sleek, black, ruthless racers of the North Atlantic trade
That come and go as punctual as the sun,
Perchance must follow caravel and frigate to the shade
When relentless Progress says their task is done.
But as long as I can watch them slipping seaward in the dusk
With their yellow ports like little stars agleam,
You may keep your naked rowers, and your Ophir gold, and musk,
I’m content to find all MY romance in Steam.

Donald Ian McGregor 1908 -1985


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