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From the tumbling surf that buries
The Orkneyan skerries,
A WEARY weed, tossed to and fro,
Drearily drenched in the ocean brine, Soaring high and sinking low,
Lashed along without will of mine; Sport of the spoom of the surging sea ;
Flung on the foam, afar and anear, Mark my manifold mystery, –
Growth and grace in their place appear.
Ever drifting, drifting, drifting
On the shifting
Of sandy beaches,
So when storms of wild emotion
Strike the ocean
In its vastness,
I bear round berries, gray and red,
Rootless and rover though I be;
Arboresce as a trunkless tree;
White and hard in apt array; Mid the wild waves' rude uproar,
Gracefully grow I, night and day. Hearts there are on the sounding shore,
Something whispers soft to me, Restless and roaming for evermore,
Like this weary weed of the sea; Bear they yet on each beating breast
The eternal type of the wondrous whole — Growth unfolding amidst unrest, Grace informing with silent soul.
CORNELIUS GEORGE FENNER.
From the far-off isles enchanted
Heaven has planted
A picture had it been of lasting ease,
Elysian quiet without toil or strife; No motion but the moving tide, a breeze,
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.
Such, in the fond illusion of my heart,
Such picture would I at that time have made; And seen the soul of truth in every part, A steadfast peace that might not be be
Thou little bird, thou dweller by the sea,
And with that boding cry
O'er the waves dost thou fly?
er, bird, with me
Thy cry is weak and scared,
As if thy mates had shared The doom of us. Thy wail
What does it bring to me? Thou call'st along the sand, and haunt'st the surge, Restless and sad; as if, in strange accord
With the motion and the roar
Of waves that drive to shore, One spirit did ye urge
The Mystery — the Word.
So once it would have been ;- 'tis so no more;
I have submitted to a new control; A power is gone, which nothing can restore;
A deep distress hath humanized my soul.
Not for a moment could I now behold
A smiling sea, and be what I have been; The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old ;
This, which I know, I speak with mind serene.
Of thousands thou both sepulchre and pall, Old Ocean, art! A requiem o'er the dead
From out thy gloomy cells
A tale of mourning tells Tells of man's woe and fall,
His sinless glory fled.
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky; For are we not God's children both, Thou little sand-piper and If
The Coral Grove.
Then turn thee, little bird, and take thy flight Where the complaining sea shall sadness bring
Thy spirit never more.
Come, quit with me the shore
RICHARD HENRY Dana.
The Sand- Piper. Across the narrow beach we flit,
One little sand-piper and I; And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered drift-wood, bleached and dry. The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high, As up and down the beach we flit
One little sand-piper and I.
Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud black and swift across the sky; Like silent ghosts, in misty shrouds
Stand out the white light-houses nigh. Almost as far as eye can reach,
I see the close-reefed vessels fly, As fast we flit along the beach
One little sand-piper and I.
Deep in the wave is a coral grove,
flow; The water is calm and still below, For the winds and waves are absent there, And the sands are bright as the stars that glow In the motionless fields of upper air. There, with its waving blade of green, The sea-flag streams through the silent water, And the crimson leaf of the dulse is seen To blush, like a banner bathed in slaughter. There, with a light and easy motion, The fan-coral sweeps through the clear, deep
sea; And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean Are bending like corn on the upland lea. And life, in rare and beautiful forms, Is sporting amid those bowers of stone, And is safe, when the wrathful spirit of storms Has made the top of the wave his own. And when the ship from his fury flies, Where the myriad voices of ocean roar, When the wind-god frowns in the murky
skies, And demons are waiting the wreck on shore; Then, far below, in the peaceful sea, The purple mullet and gold-fish rove Where the waters murmur tranquilly, Through the bending twigs of the coral
I watch him as he skims along,
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry; He starts not at my fitful song,
Or flash of fluttering drapery: He has no thought of any wrong,
He scans me with a fearless eye; Staunch friends are we, well-tried and strong,
This little sand-piper and I.
Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night,
When the loosed storm breaks furiously? My drift-wood fire will burn so bright !
To what warm shelter canst thou fly!
JAMES GATES PERCIVAL,