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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Sea Mark

By Captain John Smith (1580–1631)

[Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters of New England. 1631.]

ALOOF, aloof, and come no near.

The dangers do appear

Which, if my ruin had not been,

You had not seen:

I only lie upon this shelf

To be a mark to all

Which on the same may fall,

That none may perish but myself.

If in or outward you be bound

Do not forget to sound;

Neglect of that was caused of this

To steer amiss.

The seas were calm, the wind was fair,

That made me so secure,

That now I must endure

All weathers, be they foul or fair.

The winter’s cold, the summer’s heat

Alternatively beat

Upon my bruised sides, that rue,

Because too true,

That no relief can ever come:

But why should I despair

Being promised so fair,

That there shall be a day of Doom.