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(1 January 1819 – 13 November 1861 / Liverpool)

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How In All Wonder...

How in all wonder Columbus got over,
That is a marvel to me, I protest,
Cabot, and Raleigh too, that well-read rover,
Frobisher, Dampier, Drake and the rest.
Bad enough all the same,
For them that after came,
But, in great Heaven's name,
How he should ever think
That on the other brink
Of this huge waste terra firma should be,
Is a pure wonder, I must say, to me.

How a man ever should hope to get thither,
E'e'n if he knew of there being another side;
But to suppose he should come any whither,
Sailing right on into chaos untried,
Across the whole ocean,
In spite of the motion,
To stick to the notion
That in some nook or bend
Of a sea without end
He should find North and South Amerikee,
Was a pure madness as it seems to me.

What if wise men had, as far back as Ptolemy,
Judged that the earth like an orange was round,
None of them ever said, 'Come along, follow,
Sail to the West, and the East will be found.'
Many a day before
Ever they'd touched the shore
Of the San Salvador,
Sadder and wiser men
They'd have turned back again;
And that he did not, but did cross the sea,
Is a pure wonder, I must say, to me.
And that he crossed and that we cross the sea
Is a pure wonder, I must say, to me.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003


Read poems about / on: sea, ocean, heaven, hope

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Comments about this poem (In the Depths by Arthur Hugh Clough )

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  • Thomas Vaughan Jones (3/6/2014 1:16:00 PM)

    Oh well done, ancient and archaic scouser. The humour of it bubbles over into a historic anthem of our fearless old- time explorers. Not too long ago I saw an old fashioned sailing ship. It was smaller than one of our Liverpool cross river ferries. (And the old timers didn't have Gerry Marsden singing Ferry Cross the Mersey ad infinitum.) No wonder the venerable Mr Clough stood back in amazed disbelief. If he was still around I'd take him down to Lime Street and buy him a pint of real ale. (Not lager, mind you. Real men didn't drink lager in his day)

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  • Gajanan Mishra (3/6/2013 5:03:00 AM)

    pure wonder.I must say.

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