Today I choose a poem by Aldrich, born today 1836, which captures the sense of adventure that used to exist in every sea port of the world in the age of sail. Any young adventurer could run away to sea and find himself storm-tossed across the globe with risks of wealth, danger, romance and death. A suitable topic for this blog, a true Mindship theme.
Outward Bound became the name of a youth training movement in Britain during the 1940’s, now known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. I have no proof that the name Outward Bound came from the Aldrich poem, but I suspect it may have. The founders were certainly interested enough in poetry. Their motto “To Serve, To Strive and not to Yield” is taken from Ulysses, the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Outward Bound: by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
I leave behind me the elm-shadowed square
And carven portals of the silent street,
And wander on with listless, vagrant feet
Through seaward-leading alleys, till the air
Smells of the sea, and straightway then the care
Slips from my heart, and life once more is sweet.
At the lane’s ending lie the white-winged fleet.
O restless Fancy, whither wouldst thou fare?
Here are brave pinions that shall take thee far —
Gaunt hulks of Norway; ships of red Ceylon;
Slim-masted lovers of the blue Azores!
‘Tis but an instant hence to Zanzibar,
Or to the regions of the Midnight Sun;
Ionian isles are thine, and all the fairy shores!