Poems of Tragedy: XV. The Sea – The Three Fishers by Charles Kingsley (1819–1875)

THREE fishers went sailing out into the west,—

Out into the west as the sun went down;

Each thought of the woman who loved him the best,

And the children stood watching them out of the town;

For men must work, and women must weep;

And there ’s little to earn, and many to keep,

Though the harbor bar be moaning.

Three wives sat up in the light-house tower,

And trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;

And they looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower, 10

And the rack it came rolling up, ragged and brown;

But men must work, and women must weep,

Though storms be sudden, and waters deep,

And the harbor bar be moaning.

Three corpses lay out on the shining sands 15

In the morning gleam as the tide went down,

And the women are watching and wringing their hands,

For those who will never come back to the town;

For men must work, and women must weep,—

And the sooner it ’s over, the sooner to sleep,— 20

And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.

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