The Land of Lost Content

When I was one and twenty,
             "Rise up, lad!" said the world.
"Your bark is built and fitted,
             Your sails yet unfurled.

"The Golden realms that beckon,
             The oceans to be crossed
Call you to the landing, lad,
             Ere the tide be lost."

My humble cottage on the hill,
             The boyhood years I'd spent
In quiet solitude now seemed
             A land of lost content.

I hied me to the harbor
             And took the tide that ran
Beneath my cottage on the hill,
             And so my voyage began.

On ocean-seas to distant shores
             Through storms without relent
I sailed onward to escape
             The land of lost content.

And long I ate the salt-sea wave.
             My body felt the cat.
I knew the grog, the scurvy,
             The brig and bilge and rat.

But I, at least, was sailing!
             And I was glad I went,
For every anchorage was in
             A land of lost content.

As seaman, I was sorely flogged.
             As mate, I held the whip.
Then years as first lieutenant,
             Then captain of the ship.

From the Arctic to the Congo,
             For one and forty years,
I navigated skillfully
             By sun and moon and stars.

But every port where I put in,
             In sultry climes or cold,
Was just a land of lost content,
             And not the realms of Gold.

I chose a sailor's life for fair,
             But still I must lament
That even Neptune's Kingdom
             Was a land of lost content.

My journey done, I'm home again.
             The cottage on the hill
And quiet solitude are mine
             To value as I will.

The gilded lands of lost content
             Were everywhere I'd been,
But not of earth and water, lads.
             They were the realms within.