Hope for Experience boldly steers,
And gains that chilling shore,
But only to be wrecked on ice,
And sink to rise no more.
This is that hope whose sordid views
To earth alone are given;
That hope which wreck nor ruin fears
Its anchor casts in heaven.
For he that would outride the storm
Though whirlwinds waked the blast,
Makes that his first and only hope,
That all must make their last.”
May 25. 1839.
A contribution by possibly Hannah Stickney, this poem is one of the more difficult to place thematically in the album. There are no explicit references to abolitionism, religion, friendship, or womanhood. Instead, this poem describes a bleak outlook for a ship about to sink. The poem analogizes the sinking ship to hope, which has two possible paths to take. The first path, toward earthly “Experience,” leads to wreckage. Alternatively, the ship can direct its path to some greater spiritual power. In order to “outride the storm,” a person must choose this path, making the “last” hope of all—heaven—her “first” and “only” hope, as well.
This poem advocates to have faith in an afterlife. In light of the themes of slavery throughout the album, the tone of the entry corresponds with religious arguments about the immorality of slavery.