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THE poet, child of heavenly birth,
Is suckled by the mother Earth ;
But thy blue bosom, holy Sea!
Cradles his infant fantasy.
The old, blind minstrel on the shore
Stood listening the eternal roar,
And golden ages, long gone by,
Swept bright before his spirit's eye.
On wing of swan the holy flame
Of melodies celestial came,
And Iliad and Odyssey
Rose to the music of the Sea.
From the German of STOLBERG.
THERE sat he high retired from the seas;
There looked with pity on his Grecians beaten ;
There burned with rage at the god-king who slew them.
Then rushed he forward from the rugged mountain ;
He beat the forest also as he came downward,
And the high cliffs shook underneath his footsteps;
Three times he trod, his fourth step reached his sea-
There was his palace in the deep sea-water,
Shining with gold and builded firm forever;
And there he yoked him his swift-footed horses
(Their hoofs are brazen, and their manes are golden)
With golden thongs: his golden goad he seizes;
He mounts upon his chariot and doth fly;
Yea, drives he forth his steeds into the billows.
The sea-beasts from the depths rise under him
They know their King: and the glad sea is parted,
That so his wheels may fly along unhinder'd.
Dry speeds between the waves his brazen axle:
So bounding fast they bring him to his Grecians.
From HOMER: Iliad vi.
THE Ocean stood like crystal. The soft air Stirred not the glassy waves, but sweetly there Had rocked itself to slumber. The blue sky Leaned silently above, and all its high And azure-circled roof, beneath the wave Was imaged back, and seemed the deep to pave With its transparent beauty. While between The waves and sky, a few white clouds were seen Floating upon their wings of feathery gold, As if they knew some charm the universe enrolled.
A holy stillness came, while in the ray
Of heaven's soft light, a delicate foam-wreath lay
Like silver on the sea. Look! look! why shine
Those floating bubbles with such light divine?
They break, and from their mist a lily form
Rises from out the wave, in beauty warm.
The wave is by the blue-veined feet scarce prest,
Her silky ringlets float about her breast,
Veiling its fairy loveliness; while her eye
Is soft and deep as the blue heaven is high.
The Beautiful is born, and sea and earth
May well revere the hour of that mysterious birth.
Love still hath something of the sea
From whence his mother rose;
No time his slaves from doubt can free,
Nor give their thoughts repose.
They are becalmed in clearest days,
And in rough weather tost,
They wither under cold delays,
Or are in tempests lost.
One while they seem to touch the port,
Then straight into the main
Some angry wind in cruel sport
The vessel drives again.
At first, disdain and pride they fear,
Which if they chance to escape, Rivals and falsehoods soon appear In a more dreadful shape.
By such degrees to joy they come,
And are so long withstood,
So slowly they receive the sum,
It hardly does them good.
'Tis cruel to prolong a pain ;
And to defer a joy,
Believe me, gentle Celemène,
Offends the winged boy.
An hundred thousand oaths your fears
Perhaps would not remove ;
And, if I gazed a thousand years,
I could no deeper love.