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And treasure of dear lives, till in the port
The shouting seaman climbs and furls the sail.
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 armed 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
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 bidst 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 wafting billows plant the rifts
With herb and tree; sweet fountains gush; sweet airs
Ripple the living lakes that, fringed with flowers,
Are gathered in the hollows. Thou dost look
Its valleys, glorious with their summer green,
Praise thee in silent beauty, and its woods,
Swept by the murmuring winds of ocean, join
The murmuring shores in a perpetual hymn.
W. C. BRYANT.
THE ocean, at the bidding of the moon,
Forever changes with his restless tide;
Flung shoreward now, to be re-gather'd soon
With kingly pauses of reluctant pride
And semblance of return :- Anon from home
He issues forth anew, high-ridged and free —
The gentlest murmur of his seething foam,
Like armies whispering where great echoes be !
Oh leave me here upon this beach to rove,
Mute listener to that sound, so grand and lone -
A glorious sound, deep drawn and strongly thrown,
And reaching those on mountain-heights above,
To British ears (as who shall scorn to own ?)
A tutelar fond voice, a saviour-tone of love!
Who had ever such adventure,
Holy priest or virgin nun, As befel the Count Arnaldos
At the rising of the sun ?
On his wrist the hawk was hooded,
Forth with horn and hound went he, When he saw a stately galley
Sailing on the silent sea.
Sail of satin, mast of cedar,
Burnished poop of beaten gold, Many a morn you'll hood your falcon,
Ere you such a bark behold.
Sails of satin, masts of cedar,
Golden poops may come again, But mortal ear no more shall listen
To yon grey-haired sailor's strain.
Heart may beat, and eye may glisten,
Faith is strong, and Hope is free, But mortal ear no more shall listen
To the song that rules the sea.
When the grey-haired sailor chaunted,
Every wind was hushed to sleep, — Like a virgin's bosom panted
All the wide reposing deep.
Bright in beauty rose the star-fish
From her green cave down below, Right above the eagle poised him
Holy music charmed them so.
‘Stately galley! glorious galley !
God hath poured his grace on thee ! Thou alone mayst scorn the perils
Of the dread devouring sea !
* False Almeria's reefs and shallows,
Black Gibraltar's giant rocks, Sound and sand-bank, gulf and whirlpool,
All, my glorious galley mocks!'
• For the sake of God our Maker!'
(Count Arnaldos' cry was strong) •Old man, let me be partaker
In the secret of thy song!'