Sunday 9 June 2019

Ambrosius Stub: 'Livet som en Seylads' (c. 1755)

Life as a sea-journey 


What’s won when world’s wide-ranging oceans we brave?
O thousandfold dangers of fast-foaming wave!
     Two harbours alone
     To us are well-known,
The one is our cradle, the other our grave.

From cradle to grave we must tack to and fro
Midst all fickle things hope and fear at us throw.
     Borne up on each crest
     We glide on at best,
Then swiftly drop into a trough deep below.

We’re tempted by changes in each ebb and flood,
One watch is as bad as the other is good,
     Each turned glass at sea,
     Each compass degree,
Can lighten or heighten or frighten our mood.

A fair wind then stirs up the sad, downcast mind,
Yes, makes the heart rash to the point it grows blind,
     If speed we acquire
     To match our desire,
We dash at full sail and leave prudence behind.

Faint-hearted, the tiller we often let slip
When at the waves’ raging the bow starts to dip,
     If winds storm and blow
     And waves toss and throw.
We fear in a trice for the mast of our ship.

Your providence, Father, will lead us safe home,
It steers us so safely though dire waves and foam,
     Our judgment can fail,
     No matter our trail,
More backwards than forwards we often can roam.

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