The Ocean Said To Me Once,
The ocean said to me once,
Yonder on the shore
Is a woman, weeping.
I have watched her.
Go you and tell her this --
Her lover I have laid
In cool green hall.
There is wealth of golden sand
And pillars, coral-red;
Two white fish stand guard at his bier.
"Tell her this
And more --
That the king of the seas
Weeps too, old, helpless man.
The bustling fates
Heap his hands with corpses
Until he stands like a child
With a surplus of toys."
by Stephen Crane.
Mid-Ocean In War-Time
The fragile splendour of the level sea,
The moon's serene and silver-veiled face,
Make of this vessel an enchanted place
Full of white mirth and golden sorcery.
Now, for a time, shall careless laughter be
Blended with song, to lend song sweeter grace,
And the old stars, in their unending race,
Shall heed and envy young humanity.
And yet to-night, a hundred leagues away,
These waters blush a strange and awful red.
Before the moon, a cloud obscenely grey
Rises from decks that crash with flying lead.
And these stars smile their immemorial way
On waves that shroud a thousand newly dead!
by Joyce Kilmer.
Ocean: An Ode. Concluding With A Wish.
What do we see! Cato then become
A greater name in Britain than in Rome?
Does mankind now admire his virtues more,
Though Lucan, Horace, Virgil, wrote before?
How will posterity this truth explain?
"Cato begins to live in Anna's reign."
The world's great chiefs, in council or in arms,
Rise in your lines with more exalted charms;
Illustrious deeds in distant nations wrought,
And virtues by departed heroes taught,
Raise in your soul a pure immortal flame,
Adorn your life, and consecrate your fame;
To your renown all ages you subdue,
And Caesar fought, and Cato bled for you.
by Edward Young.
Sonnet Xii. The Ocean Steamer.
WITH streaming pennons, scorning sail and oar,
With steady tramp and swift revolving wheel,
And even pulse from throbbing heart of steel,
She plies her arrowy course from shore to shore.
In vain the siren calms her steps allure;
In vain the billows thunder on her keel;
Her giant form may toss and rock and reel
And shiver in the wintry tempest's roar;
The calms and storms alike her pride can spurn.
True to the day she keeps her appointed time.
Long leagues of ocean vanish at her stern —
She drinks the air, and tastes another clime,
Where men their former wonder fast unlearn,
Which hailed her coming as a thing sublime.
The Voice Of Ocean
A cry went through the darkness; and the moon,
Hurrying through storm, gazed with a ghastly face,
Then cloaked herself in scud: the merman race
Of surges ceased; and then th' Aeolian croon
Of the wild siren, Wind, within the shrouds
Sunk to a sigh. The ocean in that place
Seemed listening; haunted, for a moment's space,
By something dread that cried against the clouds.
Mystery and night; and with them fog and rain:
And then that cry again as if the deep
Uttered its loneliness in one dark word:
Her horror of herself; her Titan pain;
Her monsters; and the dead that she must keep,
Has kept, alone, for centuries, unheard.
Sonnet To Ocean
Shall I rebuke thee, Ocean, my old love,
That once, in rage, with the wild winds at strife,
Thou darest menace my unit of a life,
Sending my clay below, my soul above,
Whilst roar'd thy waves, like lions when they rove
By night, and bound upon their prey by stealth!
Yet didst thou n'er restore my fainting health?—
Didst thou ne'er murmur gently like the dove?
Nay, dost thou not against my own dear shore
Full break, last link between my land and me?—
My absent friends talk in thy very roar,
In thy waves' beat their kindly pulse I see,
And, if I must not see my England more,
Next to her soil, my grave be found in thee!
by Thomas Hood.
Sonnet I: Unto The Boundless Ocean
Unto the boundless Ocean of thy beauty
Runs this poor river, charg'd with streams of zeal:
Returning thee the tribute of my duty,
Which here my love, my youth, my plaints reveal.
Here I unclasp the book of my charg'd soul,
Where I have cast th'accounts of all my care:
Here have I summ'd my sighs, here I enroll
How they were spent for thee; look what they are.
Look on the dear expences of my youth,
And see how just I reckon with thine eyes:
Examine well they beauty in my truth,
And cross my cares ere greater sums arise.
Read it, sweet maid, though it be done but slightly;
Who can show all his love, doth love but lightly.
by Samuel Daniel.
Out Of The Rolling Ocean, The Crowd
OUT of the rolling ocean, the crowd, came a drop gently to me,
Whispering, I love you, before long I die,
I have travel'd a long way, merely to look on you, to touch you,
For I could not die till I once look'd on you,
For I fear'd I might afterward lose you.
(Now we have met, we have look'd, we are safe;
Return in peace to the ocean, my love;
I too am part of that ocean, my love--we are not so much separated;
Behold the great rondure--the cohesion of all, how perfect!
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate us, 10
As for an hour, carrying us diverse--yet cannot carry us diverse for
Be not impatient--a little space--Know you, I salute the air, the
ocean and the land,
Every day, at sundown, for your dear sake, my love.)
by Walt Whitman.
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
~ Psalm cvii. 23, 24.
HE that in venturous barks hath been
A wanderer on the deep,
Can tell of many an awful scene,
Where storms for ever sweep.
For many a fair, majestic sight
Hath met his wandering eye,
Beneath the streaming northern light,
Or blaze of Indian sky.
Go! ask him of the whirlpool's roar,
Whose echoing thunder peals
Loud, as if rushed along the shore
An army's chariot wheels;
Of icebergs, floating o'er the main,
Or fixed upon the coast,
Like glittering citadel or fane,
'Mid the bright realms of frost;
Of coral rocks, from waves below
In steep ascent that tower,
And fraught with peril, daily grow,
Formed by an insect's power;
Of sea-fires, which at dead of night
Shine o'er the tides afar,
And make th' expanse of ocean bright
As heaven, with many a star.
Oh God! thy name they well may praise,
Who to the deep go down,
And trace the wonders of thy ways,
Where rocks and billows frown.
If glorious be that awful deep,
No human power can bind,
What then art Thou, who bidst it keep
Within its bounds confined!
Let heaven and earth in praise unite,
Eternal praise to Thee,
Whose word can rouse the tempest's might,
Or still the raging sea!
Lines To The Ocean
Old Ocean, none knoweth thy story;
Man cannot thy secrets unfold,
Thy blue waves sing songs of thy glory
But where are thy treasures untold?
Are they hidden away in the mosses
And sea-weed that covers thy bed?
O tell us, where are all our losses,
Our gold and our gems and our dead?
O where are the loved ones who perished,
Who found in thy bosom their grave?
O where are the fond hopes so cherished
That sank 'neath thy cold, cruel wave?
Ships loaded with jewels unnumbered
Have sunk in thy waters from sight,
While passengers, e'en while they slumbered,
Were lost in thy cold cheerless night.
Down deep in thy depths they are buried,
NO more on the earth will they shine.
Far, far, from our reach they are carried
To rest in the Ocean's vast mine.
Thou hast them, old Ocean, and mortals
Can never take from thee thy prey;
In thee did they find the tomb's portals,
And none knew the spot where they lay.
None knoweth? One sees where they slumber,
And greater than thine is His will;
He seeth thy gems without number,
He speaks and thy breakers are still.
There is One who hath had in all ages,
Dominion o'er sea and o'er land;
He ruleth the sea when it rageth,
He holdeth the deep in his hand.
Roll on, chilly wave and fierce breaker,
And guard the vast stores of thy bed;
'Till at the command of their Maker,
The waters shall give up their dead.
The Ocean Yacht Race
A noble sight is this, I ween,
Fair panorama of the sea,
The ocean white with crested foam
To windward and to lee;
Bright shines the day on Staten Isle,
On woods of emerald green,
On stately dome and villa roof,
With field and lawn between.
Long Island stretches east away,
Engirdled with the brine;
On sandy bar and weedy rock
The glorious sunbeams shine.
Full many a score of stately yachts
Wide o'er the sea are spread,
Careening like white-plumag'd birds,
On rushing pinions sped.
Vast steamers bound for foreign land,
Their smoky banners raise;
The flag of every nation
Its blazon's field displays.
The sound of martial music
From many a deck arise,
Loud shouts of acclamation
Swell grandly to the skies;
From fortress wall and green parade
Ring out the cannonade.
Off Sandy Hook two stately yachts
The broad arena sweep,
While meteor flag and flag of stars
To each tall masthead leap;
Each emulous to win the prize
For speed in ocean race;
To claim the palm of victory
O'er ocean's rolling space.
See how they matchless ride the seas,
Like rush of desert steed,
Graceful as swan on limpid lake,
Swift as the eagle's speed.
A cloud of canvas each displays
From deck to topmast head,
Jib, mainsail, spinnaker,
In ample folds outspread.
Onward, right onward see them fly,
Cleaving the tumbling surge;
A score of miles away the goal
To which the champions urge.
The mark is reach'd, and homeward now
On free wind turns each dashing prow.
So ends the race, the first great race,
Where Puritan holds foremost place;
But nobly in the watery way
Genesta bore her flag that day!
Once more these yachts the challenge fling,
Again on rushing wings they swing;
From Scotland Lightship swift they bear,
Each yacht a pyramid of snow,
The white sails blossoming high in air,
Balloon jibs all aglow!
Yielding to pressure of the breeze,
Thro' the salt ocean sleet they dash,
Plunging thro' maelstrom of green waves,
Through whirling foam they flash,
'Tis battle of the flight and chase,
Pursuer and pursued;
The centreboard, the cutter race,
Fought out o'er ocean flood.
Ah, Puritan hath won the prize!
And cheers exultant rend the skies.
by Isaac McLellan.
The Ocean To Cynthia
But stay, my thoughts, make end, give fortune way ;
Harsh is the voice of woe and sorrow's sound ;
Complaints cure not, and tears do but allay
Griefs for a time, which after more abound.
To seek for moisture in the Arabian sand
Is but a loss of labor and of rest ;
The links which time did break of hearty bands
Words cannot knit, or wailings make anew.
Seek not the sun in clouds when it is set.
On highest mountains, where those cedars grew,
Against whose banks the troubled ocean beat,
And were the marks to find thy hopëd port,
Into a soil far off themselves remove ;
On Sestos' shore, Leander's late resort,
Hero hath left no lamp to guide her love.
Thou lookest for light in vain, and storms arise;
She sleeps thy death that erst thy danger sighed;
Strive then no more, bow down thy weary eyes,
Eyes which to all these woes thy heart have guided.
She is gone, she is lost, she is found, she is ever fair;
Sorrow draws weakly where love draws not too;
Woe's cries sound nothing, but only in love's ear.
Do then by dying what life cannot do.
Unfold thy flocks and leave them to the fields,
To feed on hills or dales, where likes them best,
Of what the summer or the springtime yields,
For love and time hath given thee leave to rest.
Thy heart which was their fold, now in decay
By often storms and winter's many blasts,
All torn and rent becomes misfortune's prey;
False hope, my shepherd's staff, now age hath brast.
My pipe, which love's own hand gave my desire
To sing her praises and my woe upon,
Despair hath often threatened to the fire,
As vain to keep now all the rest are gone.
Thus home I draw, as death's long night draws on;
Yet every foot, old thoughts turn back mine eyes;
Constraint me guides, as old age draws a stone
Against the hill, which over-weighty lies
For feeble arms or wasted strength to move:
My steps are backward, gazing on my loss,
My mind's affection and my soul's sole love,
Not mixed with fancy's chaff or fortune's dross.
To God I leave it, who first gave it me,
And I her gave, and she returned again,
As it was hers; so let His mercies be
Of my last comforts the essential mean.
But be it so or not, the effects are past;
Her love hath end; my woe must ever last.
Morn on the Summer Sea- the breaking light
Is trembling on the mountain's misty height,
And upland lea- and on the distant glen-
And o'er the waters- far from haunts of men.
How faint and sweet from yonder secret dell,
Swells o'er the wave the early village bell,
Borne with the sounds of tinkling herds- and hark!
O'er the blue hills, the music of the lark
Rings clearly from the silver clouds that rest,
Like a bright Crown, above the mountain-crest.
O! green and happy land! whose headlands grey,
Are, in the distance, melting fast away;
Ye peaceful vales- the wanderer's own sweet home,
And ye old woods!- farewell.- The curling foam-
The boundless sea, with all its host of waves,
May dash ere evening o'er our lonely graves.
Thou dark, unfathomed Ocean! in thy halls
No searching glance of kindly sunlight falls-
Far through thy azure depths the sea-snakes sweep,
And the huge Krakens haunt thee- stormy deep!
Yet hast thou wealth of glorious things, far down
Thy hidden palaces- jewels and crown,
And the reich spoils of many a shattered bark,
Lie with thy Sea-Stars and the ocean shark;
And from thy many-twinkling sands, bright gems
Shine like the pearls in kingly diadems.
The broad Sea-Fag lies there- and tufts of green,
Oft through thy glassy depths are dimly seen;
And the Sea-Grape and yellow Fan o'erspread
Thy pathless empire- and the Coral's red
Glows mid thy snowy pebbles and rich sand,
And scarlet Shells that glisten o'er the strand.
- Sea! thou art full of life! things swift and strange
Through thy mysterious tides, half shapeless, range.
Noon on the flashing billows. All the day
We have gone lightly on our foaming way;
And the glad sun a tranquil smile hath sent
From his bright throne in yonder firmament.
Far on our lee, the giant Whales upturn
The boisterous water from the sea's full urn;
The storm-drenched Petrel curbs his tired wing,
To view awhile our rapid wandering-
And the blue Halcyon bends his gentle eye
On the strong ship that flies so gaily by-
The purple Mullets through our pathway sweep,
And the blue Dolphins in our white track leap.
O! boundless Sea! with thy upheaving surge,
Whitened with foam-wreaths to thy glorious verge;
With thy strong tides- thy multitude of waves-
And the wild voices of thy thousand caves-
And thy stern rage when tempests madden thee!
Fearful thou ever art, Eternal Sea!
by Isaac McLellan.
The Ocean Liner
They went down to the sea in ships,
In ships they went down to the sea.
In boats hewn of oak-tree strips,
In galleys with skin-sewn sails,
In triremes, caravels, brigs—
Frail, flimsily rolling rigs—
They went down where the huge wave rips,
Where the black storm lashes and hales.
They went down to the sea in ships,
To the sounding, sorrowing sea.
They go down to the sea—O me !—
What ships that outbrave the sea,
What ships that outrun the gale,
With a feather of steam for a sail
And a whirling shaft for an oar,
Are the ships that my brothers build
To carry me over the sea,
That my hand with treasures filled
May knock at the morrow's door !
Steel hulls impenetrable
To the waves that tease and pull,
Bright engines that answer the beat
Of their foam-slippered dancing feet,
Hot fires that shudder and drive,
Close-tended, untiring, sure—
Like queen-bees deep in the hive
Who labor and serve and endure:
All these are down below
Far under the slippery water,
While the babe sleeps soft in his bed,
And the banquet table is spread,
And my neighbor's laughing daughter
Trims her hair with a rose-red bow.
They went down to the sea in ships,
In ships they went down to the sea.
And the sea had a million lips
And she laughed in her throat for glee.
And. the floor of the sea was strewn
With tempest trophies dread,
And the deep-sea currents croon
As they wash through the bones of the dead.
But the ships that my brothers build—
Ah, they mock at the storm's mad rage;
And their burning hearts are thrilled
When he throws them his battle gauge.
On the sea-foam they lean for a pillow,
They drive without paddle or sail
Straight over the mountainous billow,
Straight on through the blustering gale !
Oh they shake out gay flags as they run,
Flags that flutter and gleam in the sun!
From the tip of their turrets above
They send news of the storm to the shore;
And they hear from afar through the roar,
Down the cloud-built aisles of the sky,
Some land-bound lady's cry
To her ocean-wandering love.
They go down to the sea in ships,
In ships they go down to the sea.
And my brothers, the masterful, free,
Fear no more the white foam of her lips,
They have won her, she harks to their wooing,
The love of ten thousand years,
The suing, the wild undoing,
The faith unto death, the tears.
Oh, their glory her song shall be;
Soft, soft is the kiss of her lips!
They go down to the sea in ships,
In ships they go down to the sea.
by Harriet Monroe.
On The Ice Islands Seen Floating In The German Ocean
What portents, from what distant region, ride,
Unseen till now in ours, the astonished tide?
In ages past, old Proteus, with his droves
Of sea-calves, sought the mountains and the groves;
But now, descending whence of late they stood,
Themselves the mountains seem to rove the flood;
Dire times were they, full-charged with human woes;
And these, scarce less calamitous than those.
What view we now? More wondrous still! Behold!
Like burnished brass they shine, or beaten gold;
And all around the pearl's pure splendour show,
And all around the ruby's fiery glow.
Come they from India, where the burning earth,
All bounteous, gives her richest treasures birth;
And where the costly gems, that beam around
The brows of mightiest potentates, are found?
No. Never such a countless dazzling store
Had left, unseen, the Ganges' peopled shore;
Rapacious hands, and ever-watchful eyes,
Should sooner far have marked and seized the prize.
Whence sprang they then? Ejected have they come
From Ves'vius', or from Ætna's burning womb?
Thus shine they self-illumed, or but display
The borrowed splendours of a cloudless day?
With borrowed beams they shine. The gales, that breathe
Now landward, and the current's force beneath,
Have borne them nearer; and the nearer sight,
Advantaged more, contemplates them aright.
Their lofty summits crested high, they show,
With mingled sleet, and long-incumbent snow,
The rest is ice. Far hence, where, most severe,
Bleak winter well-nigh saddens all the year,
Their infant growth began. He bade arise
Their uncouth forms, portentous in our eyes.
Oft as dissolved by transient suns, the snow
Left the tall cliff to join the flood below,
He caught, and curdled with a freezing blast
The current, ere it reached the boundless waste.
By slow degrees uprose the wondrous pile,
And long successive ages rolled the while,
Till, ceaseless in its growth, it claimed to stand
Tall as its rival mountains on the land.
Thus stood, and, unremovable by skill,
Of force of man, had stood the structure still;
But that, though firmly fixt, supplanted yet
By pressure of its own enormous weight,
It left the shelving beach,-- and with a sound
That shook the bellowing waves and rocks around,
Self-launched, and swiftly, to the briny wave,
As if instinct with strong desire to lave,
Down went the ponderous mass. So bards of old,
How Delos swam the Ægean deep, have told.
But not of ice was Delos. She, crowned with laurel, wore
Even under wintry skies, a summer smile;
And Delos was Apollo's favourite isle.
But, horrid wanderers of the deep, to you
He deems Cimmerian darkness only due.
Your hated birth he deigned not to survey,
But, scornful, turned his glorious eyes away.
Hence! Seek your home, nor longer rashly dare
The darts of Phœbus, and a softer air;
Lest ye regret, too late, your native coast,
In no congenial gulf for ever lost!
by William Cowper.
Apostrophe To The Ocean
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
Stops with the shore;—upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth's destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth:—there let him lay.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals.
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee—
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters washed them power while they were free
And many a tyrant since: their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts: not so thou,
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play—
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow—
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed—in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving;—boundless, endless, and sublime—
The image of Eternity—the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee: thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.
The Voices Of The Ocean
All the night the voices of ocean around my sleep
Their murmuring undulation sleepless kept.
Rocked in a dream I slept,
Till drawn from trances deep
At the invocation of morning calling strong,
I felt through sanguine eyelids light suffuse
My brain, and woke to a wonder of glad hues,
And over the trembling choir of birds that throng
Among the tamarisk and the glittering dews
I heard, O sea, thy song.
A charm has lured my feet, and I to the beach come down,
The bright abandoned beach, the curving strand,
And stripping upon the sand
I meet the salt spray o'er my body blown,
Embracing swift the jubilant waves that send
Their triumphing surges shouting to the shores around,
Until in a rushing splendour senses drowned
The solid earth forgetting, haste to spend
Their ever--fresh delight in the glory of swift sound
And the thunder without end.
But now from the wave withdrawn in indolent ease
Again desire upsprings to know thy heart.
I pace by the foam apart
Or linger in shadow shy, removed from any breeze.
Come, thou hast more to tell, thou hast not done,
I will be patient, all day lying in wait to hear
Upon the warm rock ledges hearkening near,
Of all thy thousand tones to lose not one,
While the shattered surf blows o'er me, leaping clear
To the seaward--journeying sun.
Radiant, hurrying delight of crests that dance and advance,
Careless, arrogant legions, tossing their milky manes;
How the wet light leaps and rains
From shivered plumes that melt in a lightning glance
And splendour of airy tresses backward blown!
What shouts of exultation, laughter sweet,
Wail of vanishing hosts and sighs of defeat,
Irresistible menace and anguished moan;
A thousand voices mingle in triumph and retreat:
But tell me, O sea, thine own!
Surely to happy mirth thou wooest my desire;
Willing is my heart with thy young waves to roam,
Lightly tripping foam,
Ever laughing nearer, ever dancing higher.
Sweeter than all glory, where the spirit wills
With heart outpoured in song triumphant as the tide,
With eager, open heart, ever to ride and ride!
Yet now at height of joy what tumult fills
Thy rushing strength? A sudden gloom invades thy pride
Resisted, an anger thrills.
Mutinous indignation that heavy Fate defies,
The ignorant rocks that set their sullen jaws,
In thy white flames that never pause
Rebelliously upleaping, my own heart I recognise.
I see the world's embattled towers uplift their height,
The wise, distrusting faces of them that trample truth;
I see the bodies slain of hopeless hoping youth;
And dark my heart upswells to the vainly echoing fight,
Cries of the helpless, tears of idle ruth,
And the wrong I cannot right.
Melancholy, to thee must I my vows resign?
The bitterness of my spirit give away
To the bitter broken spray?
O down--drawn sighing streams, with you repine?
Cover me, heavy waters, that I may hide my face
In darkness, nor behold the ruined flowers I sowed
Desolately forsaken that so sweetly glowed.
Defeated too am I, and languish in my place,
And still as glory fades, I bear a heavier load,
And the desert spreads apace.
Figures of sorrow now in my remembrance stand,
I see the face of her that her children ask for bread--
She turns away her head:
The face of him that all day toils on a stony land;
Women that ere the morning to their woe awake;
And him that sightless hears the murmur gaily streams,
Knocking weary the pavement that opens not for him.
O loud bewailing waves, you tremble as you break,
And you lift your dirges wild as you vanish into dream
For these and for my sake.
But hark! what voice emerges from the lamenting choir?
Surely Love is speaking! My heart trembles to hear.
Now no more I fear,
I cast my grief behind, I have but one desire;
To give my soul entire, nor to count any cost,
To pour my heart in passionate unreason sweet,
To follow and to follow with ever faithful feet
The steps adored of Love, whatever peril crossed,
With bliss or woe extreme my longing to complete,
In love divinely lost.
Sea, was this thy errand? Ah, but hush;
Again the wild lament, again the strife!
And now in mirth of life
Thy gleeful waters all overriding rush.
O have I heard at last? For now thy voices call
Mingled and sounding clear in a mighty voice as one.
In my heart they mingle that rejecteth none;
Sorrow that no longer shall my head appal,
Love, my sweetest joy; pain that I fear to shun;
I need, I need them all.
As I Ebb'D With The Ocean Of Life
As I ebb'd with the ocean of life,
As I wended the shores I know,
As I walk'd where the ripples continually wash you Paumanok,
Where they rustle up hoarse and sibilant,
Where the fierce old mother endlessly cries for her castaways,
I musing late in the autumn day, gazing off southward,
Held by this electric self out of the pride of which I utter poems,
Was seiz'd by the spirit that trails in the lines underfoot,
The rim, the sediment that stands for all the water and all the
land of the globe.
Fascinated, my eyes reverting from the south, dropt, to follow
&nb sp; those slender windrows,
Chaff, straw, splinters of wood, weeds, and the sea-gluten,
Scum, scales from shining rocks, leaves of salt-lettuce, left by the
Miles walking, the sound of breaking waves the other side of me,
Paumanok there and then as I thought the old thought of likenesses,
These you presented to me you fish-shaped island,
As I wended the shores I know,
As I walk'd with that electric self seeking types.
As I wend to the shores I know not,
As I list to the dirge, the voices of men and women wreck'd,
As I inhale the impalpable breezes that set in upon me,
As the ocean so mysterious rolls toward me closer and closer,
I too but signify at the utmost a little wash'd-up drift,
A few sands and dead leaves to gather,
Gather, and merge myself as part of the sands and drift.
O baffled, balk'd, bent to the very earth,
Oppress'd with myself that I have dared to open my mouth,
Aware now that amid all that blab whose echoes recoil upon me I
&n bsp;have not once had the least idea who or what I am,
But that before all my arrogant poems the real Me stands yet
untouch'd, untold, altogether unreach'd,
Withdrawn far, mocking me with mock-congratulatory signs and
With peals of distant ironical laughter at every word I have written,
Pointing in silence to these songs, and then to the sand beneath.
I perceive I have not really understood any thing, not a single
&nb sp; object, and that no man ever can,
Nature here in sight of the sea taking advantage of me to dart
; upon me and sting me,
Because I have dared to open my mouth to sing at all.
You oceans both, I close with you,
We murmur alike reproachfully rolling sands and drift, knowing
&n bsp; not why,
These little shreds indeed standing for you and me and all.
You friable shore with trails of debris,
You fish-shaped island, I take what is underfoot,
What is yours is mine my father.
I too Paumanok,
I too have bubbled up, floated the measureless float, and been
; wash'd on your shores,
I too am but a trail of drift and debris,
I too leave little wrecks upon you, you fish-shaped island.
I throw myself upon your breast my father,
I cling to you so that you cannot unloose me,
I hold you so firm till you answer me something.
Kiss me my father,
Touch me with your lips as I touch those I love,
Breathe to me while I hold you close the secret of the murmuring
Ebb, ocean of life, (the flow will return,)
Cease not your moaning you fierce old mother,
Endlessly cry for your castaways, but fear not, deny not me,
Rustle not up so hoarse and angry against my feet as I touch you
or gather from you.
I mean tenderly by you and all,
I gather for myself and for this phantom looking down where we
& nbsp;lead, and following me and mine.
Me and mine, loose windrows, little corpses,
Froth, snowy white, and bubbles,
(See, from my dead lips the ooze exuding at last,
See, the prismatic colors glistening and rolling,)
Tufts of straw, sands, fragments,
Buoy'd hither from many moods, one contradicting another,
From the storm, the long calm, the darkness, the swell,
Musing, pondering, a breath, a briny tear, a dab of liquid or soil,
Up just as much out of fathomless workings fermented and thrown,
A limp blossom or two, torn, just as much over waves floating,
drifted at random,
Just as much for us that sobbing dirge of Nature,
Just as much whence we come that blare of the cloud-trumpets,
We, capricious, brought hither we know not whence, spread out
You up there walking or sitting,
Whoever you are, we too lie in drifts at your feet.
by Walt Whitman.
Ocean: An Ode. Concluding With A Wish.*
Sweet rural scene!
Of flocks and green!
At careless ease my limbs are spread;
All nature still
But yonder rill;
And listening pines not o'er my head:
In prospect wide,
The boundless tide!
Waves cease to foam, and winds to roar;
Without a breeze,
The curling seas
Dance on, in measure, to the shore.
Who sings the source
Of wealth and force?
Vast field of commerce and big war:
Where wonders dwell!
Where terrors swell!
And Neptune thunders from his car?
Where? where are they,
Whom Pean's ray
Has touch'd, and bid divinely rave?
What, none aspire?
I snatch the lyre,
And plunge into the foaming wave.
The wave resounds!
The rock rebounds!
The Nereids to my song reply!
I lead the choir,
And they conspire
With voice and shell to lift it high;
They spread in air
Their bosoms fair;
Their verdant tresses pour behind.
The billows beat
With nimble feet,
With notes triumphant swell the wind.
Who love the shore,
And they conspire
With voice and shell to lift it high;
Let those adore
The God Apollo, and his Nine,
And Orpheus' skill;
But let Arion's harp be mine.
The main! the main!
Is Britain's reign;
Her strength, her glory, is her fleet;
The main! the main!
Be Briton's strain;
As Triton's strong, as Syren's sweet.
Through nature wide,
Is nought descry'd
So rich in pleasure, or surprize;
How sweet the scene!
How dreadful, when the billows rise.
And storms deface
The fluid glass
In which ere-while Britannia fair
Look'd down with pride,
Like Ocean's bride,
Adjusting her majestic air.
When tempests cease,
And hush'd in peace
The flatten'd surges smoothly spread
Deep silence keep,
And seem to sleep
Recumbent on their oozy bed;
With what a trance
The level glance,
Unbroken, shoots along the seas!
Whichtempt from shore
the painted oar;
And every canvas courts the breeze!
When rushes forth
The frowning North
On blackening billows, with what dread
My shuddering soul
Beholds them roll,
And hears their roarings o'er my head!
With terror mark
Yon flying bark!
Now, center-deep descend the brave;
Now, toss'd on high
It takes the sky,
A feather on the towering wave!
Now, spins around
In whirls profound;
Now, whelm'd; now, pendant near the clouds;
Now, stunn'd, it reels
Midst thunder's peals;
And, now, fierce lightening fires the shrouds.
All aether burns!
And blends once more the seas and skies;
No space between
Thy bosom green,
O Deep! and the blue concave, lies.
The northern blast,
The shatter'd mast,
The fyrt, the whirlpool, and the rock,
The breaking spout,
the stars gone out,
The boiling sreight, the monsters shock.
Let others fear;
To Britain dear
What'er promotes her daring claim;
Those terrors charm,
Which keep her warm
In chace of honest gain or fame.
The stars are bright
To chear the night,
And shed, through shadows, temper'd fire;
And Phoebus flames
With burnish'd beams,
Which some adore, and all admire.
Are then the seas
Outshone by these?
Bright Thetys! thou art not outshone;
With kinder beams
And softer gleams,
Thy bosom wears them as thy own
There, set in green,
Gold-stars are seen,
A mantle rich! thy charms to wrap;
And when the sun
His race has run
He falls enamour'd in thy lap.
Those clouds, whose dyes
Adorn the skies,
That silver snow, that pearly rain;
Has Phoebus stole
To grace the pole,
The plunder of th' invaded main!
The gaudy bow,
Whose colours glow,
Whose arch with so much skill is bent,
To Phoebus' ray
Which paints so gay,
By thee the watery woof was lent.
In chambers deep,
Where waters sleep,
What unknown treasures pave the floor!
The pearl in rows
Pale lustre throws;
The wealth immense, which storms devour.
From Indian mines,
With proud designs,
the merchant, swoin, digs golden ore.
The tempests rise,
And seize the prize,
And toss him breathless on the shore.
His son complains
In pious strains
"Ah! cruel thirst of gold!" he cries;
Then ploughs the main,
In zeal for gain,
The tears yet swelling in his eyes.
Thou watery vast!
What mounds are cast
To bar thy dreadful flowings-o'er?
Thy proudest foam
Must know its home;
But rage of gold disdains a shore.
Gold Pleasure buys;
But Pleasure dies,
Too soon the tross fruition cloys:
Though raptures court,
The sense is short;
But Virtue kindles living joys;
Joys felt alone!
Joys ask'd of none!
Which Time's and Fortune's arrows miss;
Joys that subsist,
Though Fates resist,
And unprecarious endless bliss!
The soul refin'd
Is most inclin'd
To every moral excellence;
All Vice is dull,
A knave's a fool;
And Virtue is the child of Sense
The virtuous mind
Nor wave, nor wind,
Nor civil rage, nor tyrant's frown,
The shaken ball
Nor planets fall,
From its firm basis can dethrone.
This Britain knows,
And therefore glows
With generous passions, and expends
Her wealth and zeal
On public weal,
And brightens both by godlike ends.
What end so great,
As that which late
Awoke the Genius of the main,
Which towering rose
With George to close,
And rival great Eliza's reign?
A voice has flown
From Britain's throne
To reinflame a grand design;
That voice shall rear
Yon fabrick fair,1
As Nature's rose at the divine.
When nature sprung,
Blest angels sung,
And shouted o'er the rising balll;
For strains as high
As main's can fly,
These sea-devoted honours call.
From boisterous seas,
The lap of ease
Receives our wounded and our old;
High domes ascend!
Stretc'd arches bend!
Proud columns swell! wide gates unfold!
So sleeps the grain,
In fostering rain,
And vital beams, till Jove descend;
Then bursts the root!
the verdures shoot!
And earth enrich, adorn, defend!
From wave, from wind,
And Fortune's tempest safe ashore,
To cheat their care,
Of former war
They talk the pleasing shadows o'er.
In lengthen'd tales,
Our fleet prevails;
In tales the lenitives of age!
And, o'er the bowl,
They fire the soul
Of listening youth, to martial rage.
The story done,
Their setting sun,
Serenely smiling down the West,
In soft decay,
They drop away;
And Honour leads them to their rest.
And falsely gay!
Who bask for ever in success;
A constant feast
Quite palls the taste,
And long enjoyment is distress.
What charms us most,
Our joy, our boast,
Familiar, loses all its bloss;
And gold refin'd
The fated mind
Fastidious turns to perfect dross.
When, after toil,
His native soil
The panting mariner regains
What transport flows
From bare repose!
We reap our pleasure from our pains.
Ye warlike slain!
Beneath the main,
Wrapt in a watery winding sheet;
Who bought with blood
Your country's good,
Your country's full-blown glorys greet.
What powerful charm
Can death disarm?
Your long, your iron slumbers break?
By Jove, by Fame,
By George's name,
Awake! awake! awake!
Our joy so proud,
Our shout so loud,
Without a charm the dead might hear:
And see, they rouze!
Their awful brows,
Deep-scar'd, froomm oozy pillows rear!
With spiral shell,
That all your watery realms should sing;
Should echo theirs, and Britain's king.
As long as stars
As Carolina's virtues please,
Or suns invite
The ravish'd sight,
The British flag shall sweep the seas.
Our soil's strong growth,
And our bold natives hardy mind;
Sure Heaven bespoke
Our hearts, and oak,
To give a master to minkind.
That noblest birth
Of teaming earth,
Of forests fair that daughter proud,
To foreign coasts
Our grandeur boasts
And Britain's pleasure speaks aloud.
Now big with war
Sends Fate from far,
If rebel realms their Fate demand;
Now, sumptuous spoils
Of foreign soils
Pours in the bottom of our land.
Hence, Britain lays
In scales, and weighs
The fates of kingdoms and of kings;
And as she frowns
Or smiles, on crown
A night or day of glory springs.
Thus Ocean swells
The streams and rills,
And to their borders lifts them high;
Or else withdraws
The mighty cause,
And leaves their famish'd channels dry.
How mixt, how frail,
How sure to fail,
Is every pleasure of mankind!
A damp destroys
My blooming joys,
While Britain's glory fires my mind.
For who can gaze
On restless seas,
Unstruck with life's more restless state?
Where all are toss'd,
And most are lost
By tides of passion, blasts of fate?
The world's the main,
How vext! how vain!
Ambition swells, and Anger foams;
May good men find,
Beneath the wind,
A noiseless shore, unruffled homes!
The public scene
Of harden'd men
Teach me, O teach me to despise!
The world few know
But to their woe,
Our crimes with our experience rise;
All tender sense
Is banish'd thence,.
All maiden nature's first alarms;
What shock'd before
Disgusts no more,
And what disgusted has its charms
In landskips green
True Bliss is seen,
With Innocence, in shades, the sports;
In wealthy towns
Proud labour frowns,
And painted Sorrow smiles in courts.
These scenes untry'd
Seduc'd my pride,
To Fortune's arrows bar'd my breast;
Till Wisdom came,
A hoary dame!
And told me pleasure was in rest.
"O may I steal
"Along the vale
"Of humble life, secure from foes!
"My friend sincere!
"My judgment clear!
"And gentle business my repose!
by Edward Young.