The sea, from silvery white to deepest blue, Changed 'neath the changing colors of the sky; The distant light-house broke upon the view, And the long land-point spread before the eye.

Clear as a mirror lay the rock-bound cove; Far off, one blasted pine against the sky

Lifted its scraggy form; the crow above Flapped his black wings, and wound his long shrill cry.

I paced the beach like some sleep-waking child,
Wrapped in a dream of beauty and of awe;
Were they ideal visions that beguiled?
Was it my eye, or but my soul that saw ?



It was the holy hour of dawn:
By hands invisible withdrawn,
The curtain of the summer night
Had vanished; and the morning light,
Fresh from its hidden day-springs, threw
Increasing glory up the blue.

O sacred balm of summer dawn,

When odors from the new-mown lawn

Blend with the breath of sky and sea,
And like the prayers of sanctity,
Go up to Him who reigns above,
An incense-offering of love!

Alone upon a rock I stood,
Far out above the ocean-flood,
Whose vast expanse before me lay,
Now silver-white, now leaden-gray,
As o'er its face alternate threw
The rays and clouds their varying hue.

I felt a deep, expectant hush
Through nature, as the increasing flush
Of the red Orient seemed to tell

The approach of some great spectacle,
O'er which the birds in heaven's far height
Hung, as entranced, in mute delight.
But when the sun, in royal state
Through his triumphant golden gate,
Came riding forth in majesty
Out of the fleckéd Eastern sky,
As comes a conqueror to his tent;
And up and down the firmament,
The captive clouds of routed night,
Their garments fringed with golden light
Bending around the azure arch,

Lent glory to the victor's march;
And when he flung his blazing glance
Across the watery expanse,
Methought, along that rocky coast,
The foaming waves, a crested host,

As on their snowy plumes the beams
Of sunshine fell in dazzling gleams,
Thrilled through their ranks with wild delight,
And clapped their hands to hail the sight,
And sent a mighty shout on high
Of exultation to the sky!

O Father! 'tis on Thee I call;
Father of lights! revealed in all.
To live in nature and in Thee!
I am Thy child: Oh! let me hear
Thy voice and feel Thy footstep near.
And as, upon my bended brow,
It comes with holy influence now,
So, Father! may Thy gentle breath
Refresh me in the hour of death!
Then be my feverish temples fanned
With breezes from that unseen land,
With morning breezes from the shore
Where death and darkness dwell no more,
And dawnings of eternal light
Prevent the steps of life's last night!



THE rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
And on its outer point, some miles away,
The Light-house lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides,

Upheaving, break unheard along its base, A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides In the white lip and tremor of the face.

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,

Through the deep purple of the twilight air, Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light

With strange, unearthly splendor in its glare!

Not one alone; from each projecting cape

And perilous reef along the ocean's verge, Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,

Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.

Like the great giant Christopher it stands

Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave, Wading far out among the rocks and sands, The night-o'ertaken mariner to save.

And the great ships sail outward and return,
Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn,

They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,

And eager faces, as the light unveils,

Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

The mariner remembers when a child,


On his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink And when, returning from adventures wild, He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.

Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same

Year after year, through all the silent night Burns on for evermore that quenchless flame, Shines on that inextinguishable light!

It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp

The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace; It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp, And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.

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