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THE sea is mighty, but a mightier sways His restless billows. Thou, whose hands have scooped His boundless gulfs and built his shore, thy breath, That moved in the beginning o'er his face, Moves o'er it evermore. The obedient waves To its strong motion roll, and rise and fall. Still from that realm of rain thy cloud goes up, As at the first, to water the great earth, And keep her valleys green. A hundred realms Watch its broad shadow warping on the wind, And in the dropping shower with gladness hear Thy promise of the harvest. I look forth Over the boundless blue, where joyously The bright crests of innumerable waves Glance to the sun at once, as when the hands Of a great multitude are upward flung
In acclamation. I behold the ships
But who shall bide thy tempest, who shall face The blast that wakes the fury of the sea O God thy justice makes the world turn pale, When on the arméd fleet, that royally Bears down the surges, carrying war, to smite Some city or invade some thoughtless realm, Descends the fierce tornado. The vast hulks Are whirled like chaff upon the waves; the sails Fly, rent like webs of gossamer; the masts Are snapped asunder; downward from the decks Downward are slung, into the fathomless gulf, Their cruel engines; and their hosts, arrayed In trappings of the battle-field, are whelmed By whirlpools or dashed dead upon the rocks. Then stand the nations still with awe, and pause A moment from the bloody work of war.
These restless surges eat away the shores Of earth's old continents; the fertile plain Welters in shallows, headlands crumble down, And the tide drifts the sea-sand in the streets Of the drowned city. Thou, meanwhile, afar In the green chambers of the middle sea, Where broadest spread the waters and the line Sinks deepest, while no eye beholds thy work, Creator' thou dost teach the coral worm To lay his mighty reefs. From age to age, He builds beneath the waters, till, at last, His bulwarks overtop the brine, and check The long wave rolling from the southern pole To break upon Japan. Thou bid'st the fires, That smoulder under ocean, heave on high The new-made mountains, and uplift their peaks, A place of refuge for the storm-driven bird. The birds and wasting billows plant the rifts With herb and tree; sweet fountains gush ;
sweet airs Ripple the living lakes that, fringed with flow. ers,
Are gathered in the hollows. Thou dost look
The murmuring shores in a perpetual hymn. WILLIAM CULLtix ery axT.