I once made a boat at the midsummer time

  When our lake was so glassy and still,

I was proud of her build, I was proud of her trim,

  And rejoiced in the might of my skill.

She was small, and her timbers were not over


  But I thought they might weather a blast;

A pair of white sails bore her gaily along,

And a red flag flew high from the mast.


I launched her in triumph! My young sisters stood

  In wonder the voyage to see;

Poor Watch too was there, saying, plain as he


  There will none of you drown without me.

She went like the wind, and my glory was high,

  As a monarch’s might be in his crown.

But just in the middle, I never know why,

  The light vessel heeled and went down.


With her disappeared the delight of the day—

  The hope of my holidays all—

The labour of hours that were borrowed from


  The savings so prized and so small.

Poor Watch, at my bidding, plunged in at the


  Where last we had seen her float,

The dog came to shore again weary and wet,

  But he never could bring back the boat.


Since then I have steered a good ship on the sea,

  I’ve weathered the winds of the world,

And seen the red cross from the mast flying free,

  When around it the cannon smoke curled.

I’ve learned to take wisely life’s sunshine or gale;

  I trust a fair haven to make;

But many a brave hope that went out in full sail

  Has gone down like my boat on the lake.