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And in every wave that rolls
We behold the happy souls
Swimming on the smiling sea,
Then we linger round the shore,
Lovers of the earth no more.
Once, 't was in our infancy,
We were drifted by this sea
To the coast of human birth,
To this body and this earth:
Gentle were the hands that bore
Our young spirits to the shore;
Gentle lips that bade us look
Outward from our cradle-nook
To the spirit-bearing ocean
With such wonder and devotion,
As each stilly Sabbath day,
We were led a little way,
Where we saw the waters swell
Far away from inland dell,
And received with grave delight
Symbols of the Infinite :---
Then our home was near the sea;
'Heaven was round our infancy: '
Night and day we heard the waves
Murmuring by as to their caves;
Floated in unconscious life,
With no later doubts at strife,
Trustful of the upholding power
Who sustained us hour by hour.
Now we've wandered from the shore,
Dwellers by the sea no more;
Yet at times there comes a tone
Telling of the visions flown,
Sounding from the distant sea,
Where we left our purity;
Distant glimpses of the surge
Lure us down to ocean's verge;
There we stand with vague distress,
Yearning for the measureless;
By half-wakened instincts driven,
Half-loving earth, half-loving heaven,
Fearing to put off and swim,
Yet impelled to turn to Him
In whose life we live and move,
And whose very name is Love.
Grant me courage, Holy One,
To become indeed Thy son,
And in thee, thou Parent-Sea,
Live and love eternally.
THE mist that like a dim soft pall was lying,
Mingling the gray sea with the low gray sky,
Floats upward now; the sunny breeze is sighing,
And Youth stands pale before his destiny;
O passionate heart of Youth!
Each rolling wave with herald voice is crying, Thou canst delay, but never shun replying, It calls thee living or it calls thee dying, Though all the beauty fade before the glare of Truth.
Thou wanderest onward 'neath the solemn morning,
It seems like mid-day ere the sun rides high,
The soft mist fades, whose shadowy adorning
Wrapt in a dreamy haze the earth and sky;
The Ocean lies before!
O thou art lost if thou discard the warning
To make hot Day more fair than fairest dawning, Till Eve look back serenely on the morning When Youth stood trembling on the ocean-shore.
T. W. HIGGINSON.
As ships becalmed at eve, that lay
With canvas drooping, side by side, Two towers of sail at dawn of day
Are scarce, long leagues apart, descried;
When fell the night, upsprung the breeze, And all the darkling hours they plied, Nor dreamt but each the self-same seas By each was cleaving, side by side;
but why the tale reveal
Of those whom, year by year unchanged, Brief absence joined anew to feel,
Astounded, soul from soul estranged?
At dead of night their sails were filled,
And onward each rejoicing steered:
Ah, neither blame, for neither willed
Or wist, what first with dawn appeared.
To veer, how vain! On, onward strain, Brave barks! In light, in darkness too, Through winds and tides one compass guides, To that, and your own selves, be true.
But O blithe breeze! and O great seas!
Though ne'er, that earliest parting past,
On your wide plain they join again,
Together lead them home at last!
One port, methought, alike they sought,
One purpose hold where'er they fare:-
O bounding breeze, O rushing seas!
At last, at last, unite them there!