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The strange deep harmonies that haunt his breast:
Pleasant shall be thy way where meekly bows
The shutting flower, and darkling waters pass,
And where the o'ershadowing branches sweep the grass.
Stoop o'er the place of graves, and softly sway
The sighing herbage by the gleaming stone;
That they who near the churchyard willows stray,
And listen in the deepening gloom, alone,
May think of gentle souls that pass'd away,
Like thy pure breath, into the vast unknown, Sent forth from heaven among the sons of men, And gone into the boundless heaven again.
The faint old man shall lean his silver head
To feel thee; thou shalt kiss the child asleep, And dry the moisten'd curls that overspread
His temples, while his breathing grows more deep; And they who stand about the sick man's bed,
Shall joy to listen to thy distant sweep,
And softly part his curtains to allow
Thy visit, grateful to his burning brow.
Go-but the circle of eternal change,
Which is the life of nature, shall restore,
With sounds and scents from all thy mighty range,
Thee to thy birth-place of the deep once more.
Sweet odors in the sea-air, sweet and strange,
Shall tell the home-sick mariner of the shore;
And, listening to thy murmur, he shall deem
He hears the rustling leaf and running stream.
W. C. BRYANT.
THE evening hour had brought its peace,
Brought end of toil to weary day;
From wearying thoughts to find release,
I sought the sands that skirt the bay.
Dark rain-clouds southward hovering nigh,
Gave to the sea their leaden hue,
But in the west the open sky
Its rose-light on the waters threw.
I stood, with heart more quiet grown,
And watched the pulses of the tide,
The huge black rocks, the sea-weeds brown,
The gray beach stretched on either side,
The boat that dropped its one white sail
Where the steep yellow bank ran down, And o'er the clump of willows pale
The white towers of the neighboring town.
A cool light brooded o'er the land;
A changing lustre lit the bay;
The tide just plashed along the sand,
And voices sounded, far away.
The Past came up to Memory's eye,
Dark with some clouds of leaden hue,
But many a space of open sky
Its rose-light on those waters threw.
Then came to me the dearest friend,
Whose beauteous soul doth, like the sea,
To all things fair new beauty lend,
Transfiguring the earth to me.
The thoughts that lips could never tell,
Through subtler senses were made known;
I raised my eyes, — the darkness fell,
I stood upon the sands, alone.
A FAIRER face of evening cannot be :
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the sea:
But list! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl, that standest with me here!
If thou appear untouch'd with serious thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worship'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.
OUT from the deep, deep caverns of the sea,
The evening bells are ringing faint and low;
List to the tidings that they bring to thee
From the old Wonder-City far below.
While 'neath the bosom of the quiet stream
The circling floods those ancient ruins lave, Their towers send out a passing golden gleam Through the smooth surface of the upper wave.
To glittering waters with enchantments bright,
Once seen beneath the glow of evening skies, The sailor oft returns with eager sight,
Though near his bark the threatening cliffs arise.
Thus from the heart's deep well is music ringing,
The evening bells are chiming faint and low;
Sweet memories, alas! the charm is bringing
Of the true love it lived with, long ago!