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- EVER at night have I looked up for thee,
- O'er thy sidereal sisterhood supreme!
- Ever at night have scanned the purple sea
- For the reflection of thy quivering beam!
- When the white cloud thy diamond radiance screened,
- And the Bahama breeze began to wail,
- How on the plunging bows for hours I've leaned,
- And watched the gradual lifting of thy veil!
- Bright planet! lustrous effluence! thou ray
- From the Eternal Source of life and light!
- Gleam on the track where Truth shall lead the way,
- And gild the inward as the outward night!
- Shine but as now upon my dying eyes,
- And Hope, from earth to thee, from thee to Heaven, shall rise!
- Epes Sargent
- AFTER a night of languor without rest,--
- Striving to sleep, yet wishing morn might come,
- By the pent, scorching atmosphere oppressed,
- Impatient of the vile mosquito's hum,--
- With what reviving freshness from the sea,
- Its airy plumage glittering with the spray,
- Comes the strong day-breeze, rushing joyously
- Into the bright arms of the encircling bay!
- It tempers the keen ardor of the sun;
- The drooping frame with life renewed it fills;
- It lashes the green waters as they run;
- It sways the graceful palm-tree on the hills;
- It breathes of ocean solitudes, and caves,
- Luminous, vast and cool, far down beneath the waves.
- Epes Sargent
- PALE ocean rock! that, like a phantom shape,
- Or some mysterious spirit's tenement,
- Risest amid this weltering waste of waves,
- Lonely and desolate, thy spreading base
- Is planted in the sea's unmeasured depths,
- Where rolls the huge leviathan o'er sands
- Glistening with shipwrecked treasures. The strong wind
- Flings up thy sides a veil of feathery spray
- With sunbeams interwoven, and the hues
- Which mingle in the rainbow. From thy top
- The sea-birds rise, and sweep with sidelong flight
- Downward upon their prey; or, with poised wings,
- Skim to the horizon o'er the glittering deep.
- Our bark, careening to the welcome breeze,
- With white sails filled and streamers all afloat,
- Shakes from her dripping prow the foam, while we
- Gaze on thy outline mingling in the void,
- And draw our breath like men who see, amazed,
- Some mighty pageant passing. What had been
- Our fate last night, if, when the aspiring waves
- Were toppling o'er our mainmast, and the stars
- Were shrouded in black vapors, we had struck
- Full on thy sea-bound pinnacles, Rockall!
- But now another prospect greets our sight,
- And hope elate is rising with our hearts:
- Intensely blue, the sky's resplendent arch
- Bends over all serenely; not a cloud
- Mars its pure radiance; not a shadow dims
- The flashing billows. The refreshing air
- It is a luxury to feel and breathe;
- The senses are made keener, and drink in
- The life, the joy, the beauty of the scene.
- Repeller of the wild and thundering surge!
- For ages has the baffled tempest howled
- By thee with all its fury, and piled up
- The massive waters like a falling tower
- To dash thee down; but there thou risest yet,
- As calm amid the roar of storms, the shock
- Of waves uptorn, and hurled against thy front,
- As when, on summer eves, the crimsoned main
- In lingering undulations, girds thee round!
- O, might I stand as steadfast and as free
- 'Mid the fierce strife and tumult of the world,
- The crush of all the elements of woe,--
- Unshaken by their terrors, looking forth
- With placid eye on life's uncertain sea,
- Whether its waves were darkly swelling high
- Or dancing in the sunshine,--then might frown
- The clouds of fate around me! Firm in faith,
- Pointing serenely to that better world,
- Where there is peace, would I abide the storm,
- Unmindful of its rage and of its end.
- Epes Sargent
- A LIFE on the ocean wave,
- A home on the rolling deep,
- Where the scattered waters rave,
- And the winds their revels keep!
- Like an eagle caged, I pine
- On this dull, unchanging shore:
- Oh! give me the flashing brine,
- The spray and the tempest's roar!
- Once more on the deck I stand
- Of my own swift-gliding craft:
- Set sail! farewell to the land!
- The gale follows fair abaft.
- We shoot through the sparkling foam
- Like an ocean-bird set free; --
- Like the ocean-bird, our home
- We'll find far out on the sea.
- The land is no longer in view,
- The clouds have begun to frown;
- But with a stout vessel and crew,
- We'll say, Let the storm come down!
- And the song of our hearts shall be,
- While the winds and the waters rave,
- A home on the rolling sea!
- A life on the ocean wave!
- Epes Sargent
Poets' Corner .
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