Come away, O human child!To the waters and the wildWith a faery, hand in hand,For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
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Come away, O human child!To the waters and the wildWith a faery, hand in hand,For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

-W.B. Yeats

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Oh, Starbuck! it is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky. On such a day - very much such a sweetness as this - I struck my first whale - a boy-harpooneer of eighteen! Forty - forty - forty years ago! - ago! Forty years of continual whaling! forty years of privation, and peril, and storm-time! forty years on the pitiless sea! for forty years has Ahab forsaken the peaceful land, for forty years to make war on the horrors of the deep! Aye and yes, Starbuck, out of those forty years I have not spent three ashore. When I think of this life I have led; the desolation of solitude it has been; the masoned, walled-town of a Captain's exclusiveness, which admits but small entrance to any sympathy from the green country without - oh, weariness! heaviness! Guinea-coast slavery of solitary command! - when I think of all this; only half-suspected, not so keenly known to me before - and how for forty years I have fed upon dry salted fare - fit emblem of the dry nourishment of my soul - when the poorest landsman has had fresh fruit to his daily hand, and broken the world's fresh bread to my mouldy crusts - away, whole oceans away, from that young girl-wife I wedded past fifty, and sailed for Cape Horn the next day, leaving but one dent in my marriage pillow - wife? wife? - rather a widow with her husband alive! Aye, I widowed that poor girl when I married her, Starbuck; and then, the madness, the frenzy, the boiling blood and the smoking brow, with which, for a thousand lowerings old Ahab has furiously, foamingly chased his prey - more a demon than a man! - aye, aye! what a forty years' fool - fool - old fool, has old Ahab been! Why this strife of the chase? why weary, and palsy the arm at the oar, and the iron, and the lance? how the richer or better is Ahab now? Behold. Oh, Starbuck! is it not hard, that with this weary load I bear, one poor leg should have been snatched from under me? Here, brush this old hair aside; it blinds me, that I seem to weep. Locks so grey did never grow but from out some ashes! But do I look very old, so very, very old, Starbuck? I feel deadly faint, bowed, and humped, as though I were Adam, staggering beneath the piled centuries since Paradise. God! God! God! - crack my heart! - stave my brain! - mockery! mockery! bitter, biting mockery of grey hairs, have I lived enough joy to wear ye; and seem and feel thus intolerably old? Close! stand close to me, Starbuck; let me look into a human eye; it is better than to gaze into sea or sky; better than to gaze upon God. By the green land; by the bright hearth-stone! this is the magic glass, man; I see my wife and my child in thine eye. No, no; stay on board, on board! - lower not when I do; when branded Ahab gives chase to Moby Dick. That hazard shall not be thine. No, no! not with the far away home I see in that eye!

-Herman Melville

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My child, I know you're not a childBut I still see you running wildBetween those flowering trees.Your sparkling dreams, your silver laughYour wishes to the stars above Are just my memories.And in your eyes the oceanAnd in your eyes the seaThe waters frozen overWith your longing to be free.Yesterday you'd awokenTo a world incredibly old.This is the age you are brokenOr turned into gold.You had to kill this child, I know.To break the arrows and the bowTo shed your skin and change.The trees are flowering no moreThere's blood upon the tiles floorThis place is dark and strange.I see you standing in the stormHolding the curse of youthEach of you with your storyEach of you with your truth.Some words will never be spokenSome stories will never be told.This is the age you are brokenOr turned into gold.I didn't say the world was good.I hoped by now you understoodWhy I could never lie.I didn't promise you a thing. Don't ask my wintervoice for springJust spread your wings and fly.Though in the hidden gardenDown by the green green laneThe plant of love grows next toThe tree of hate and pain.So take my tears as a token.They'll keep you warm in the cold.This is the age you are brokenOr turned into gold.You've lived too long among usTo leave without a traceYou've lived too short to understandA thing about this place.Some of you just sit there smokingAnd some are already sold. This is the age you are brokenOr turned into gold.This is the age you are broken or turned into gold.

-Antonia Michaelis

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