The mer-folk, they who drew us down, for aye
have lingered in the chambers of the sea
till God's own sunlight makes them flinch and cry
and seek the human salt of you and me.
They round your eyes with coral gems and pearls
and xylophone your ears with magic shells.
You dally-dangle with bright mermaids' curls
and feast on bounty, fresh from briny swells.
But lads, remember you are sons of earth
and darkling depths a strange unhallowed space.
Think on the blessed land that gave you birth,
the holy breeze, a mother's kiss upon your face.
Down here, my shipmates, far beneath the waves,
I smell the churchyard grass in Neptune's caves.