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THESE grassy vales are warm and deep,
Where apple-orchards wave and glow;
Upon soft uplands whitening sheep
Drift in long wreaths. Below
Sun-fronting beds of garden-thyme, alive
With the small humming merchants of the hive;
And cottage homes in every shady nook '
Where willows dip and kiss the dimples of the brook.
But all too close against my face
My thick breath feels these crowding trees;
They crush me in their green embrace:-
I miss the Life of Seas;
The wild free life that round the flinty shores
Of my bleak isles expanded ocean pours, –
So free, so far, that in the lull of even,
Nought but the rising moon stands in your path to
These inland love-bowers sweetly bloom,
White with the hawthorn's summer snows;
Along soft turf a purple bloom
The elm at sunset throws;
There the fond lover, listening for the sweet
Half soundless coming of his maiden's feet,
Thrills if the linnet's rustling pinions pass,
Or some light leaf is blown rippling along the grass.
But Love his pain as sweetly tells
Beneath some cavern beetling hoar,
Where silver sands and rosy shells
Pave the smooth, glistening shore, -
When all the winds are low, and to thy tender
Accents, the wavelets, stealing in, make slender
And tinkling cadence, wafting, every one
A golden smile to thee from the fast-sinking sun.
Or if (like some) thou 'st loved in vain,
Or madly wooed the already won,-
Go, when the Passion and the Pain
Their havoc have begun,
And dare the Thunder, rolling up behind
The Deep, to match that hurricane of mind;
Or to the sea-winds, raging on thy pale
Grief-wasted cheek, pour forth as bitter keen a tale.
When most thy fevered spirits reel,
Sick with desires unsatisfied, -
Dwell life and balm to heal.
Raise thy free sail, and seek o'er ocean's breast —
It boots not what — those rose-clouds in the west,
And deem that thus thy spirit freed shall be,
Ploughing the stars through seas of blue eternity.
I never think without a thrill
Of wild and pure delight
Of all the leagues of blue, blue sea,
Which I have sailed o'er merrily
In day or dead of night.
With moon and stars, at morn and eve,
In sunny wind or shower,
How often hath it worked in me, -
That mystery of the kingly sea,
With joyous spells of power!
O it is well sick men should go .: Unto the royal sea;
For on their souls, as on a glass,
From its bright fields the breath doth pass
Of its infinity.
My mother taught me how to love
The mystery of the sea ;
She sported with my childish wonder
At its white waves and gentle thunder,
Like a man's deep voice to me.
She helped to set them free;
I learned from ocean's murmurings
How infinite, eternal things,
Though viewless, yet could be.
In gentle moods I love the hills
Because they bound my spirit ;
When I would feel the destiny
Immortal souls inherit.
O ye keen breezes from the salt Atlantic,
Which to the beach, where memory loves to wander,
On your strong pinions waft reviving coolness,
Bend your course hither!
For, in the surf ye scattered to the sunshine,
Did we not sport together in my boyhood,
Screaming for joy amid the flashing breakers,
O rude companions ?
Then to the meadows beautiful and fragrant, Where the coy Spring beholds her earliest verdure Brighten with smiles that rugged sea-side hamlet,
How would we hasten!
There under elm-trees affluent in foliage,
High o'er whose summit hovered the sea-eagle,
Through the hot, glaring noontide have we rested
After our gambols.
Vainly the sailor called you from your slumber: Like a glazed pavement shone the level ocean; While, with the snow-white canvass idly drooping,
Stood the tall vessels.
And when, at length, exulting ye awakened,
Rushed to the beach, and ploughed the liquid acres,
How have I chased you through the shivered billows,
In my frail shallop !
Playmates, old playmates, hear my invocation !
In the close town I waste this golden summer,
Where piercing cries and sounds of wheels in motion
When shall I feel your breath upon my forehead ?
When shall I hear you in the elm-trees' branches ?
When shall we wrestle in the briny surges,
Friends of my boyhood ?