The Children Of The Foam

written by William Wilfred Campbell

The Children Of The Foam

— William Wilfred Campbell

OUT forever and forever,
Where our tresses glint and shiver
On the icy moonlit air;
Come we from a land of gloaming,
Children lost, forever homing,
Never, never reaching there;
Ride we, ride we, ever faster,
Driven by our demon master,
The wild wind in his despair.
Ride we, ride we, ever home,
Wan, white children of the foam.

In the wild October dawning,
When the heaven's angry awning
Leans to lakeward, bleak and drear;
And along the black, wet ledges,
Under icy, caverned edges,
Breaks the lake in maddened fear;
And the woods in shore are moaning;
Then you hear our weird intoning,
Mad, late children of the year;
Ride we, ride we, ever home,
Lost, white children of the foam.

All grey day, the black sky under,
Where the beaches moan and thunder,
Where the breakers spume and comb,
You may hear our riding, riding,
You may hear our voices chiding,
Under glimmer, under gloam;
Like a far-off infant wailing,

You may hear our hailing, hailing,
For the voices of our home;
Ride we, ride we, ever home,
Haunted children of the foam.

And at midnight, when the glimmer
Of the moon grows dank and dimmer,
Then we lift our gleaming eyes;
Then you see our white arms tossing,
Our wan breasts the moon embossing,
Under gloom of lake and skies;
You may hear our mournful chanting,
And our voices haunting, haunting,
Through the night's mad melodies;
Riding, riding, ever home,
Wild, white children of the foam.

There, forever and forever,
Will no demon-hate dissever
Peace and sleep and rest and dream:
There is neither fear nor fret there
When the tired children get there,
Only dews and pallid beam
Fall in gentle peace and sadness
Over long surcease of madness,
From hushed skies that gleam and gleam,
In the longed-for, sought-for home
Of the children of the foam.

There the streets are hushed and restful,
And of dreams is every breast full,
With the sleep that tired eyes wear;
There the city hath long quiet
From the madness and the riot,
From the failing hearts of care;
Balm of peacefulness ingliding,
Dream we through our riding, riding,
As we homeward, homeward fare;
Riding, riding, ever home,
Wild, white children of the foam.

Under pallid moonlight beaming,
Under stars of midnight gleaming,
And the ebon arch of night;
Round the rosy edge of morning,
You may hear our distant horning,
You may mark our phantom flight;
Riding, riding, ever faster,
Driven by our demon master,
Under darkness, under light;
Ride we, ride we, ever home,
Wild, white children of the foam.

About the poet


William Wilfred Campbell

William Wilfred Campbell was born 15 June 1860 in Newmarket, Upper Canada (present-day Ontario). There is some doubt as to the date and place of his birth. His father, Rev. Thomas Swainston Campbell, was an Anglican clergyman who had been assigned the task of setting up several frontier parishes in "Canada West", as Ontario was then called. Consequently, the family moved frequently. In 1871, the Campbells settled in Wiarton, Ontario, where Wilfred grew up, attending high school in nearby Owen Sound. The school later be renamed Owen Sound Collegiate and Vocational Institute). Campbell would look back on his childhood with fondness. Campbell taught in Wiarton before enrolling in the University of Toronto's University College in 1880, Wycliffe College in 1882, and at the Episcopal Theological...

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