“Lines Written at Sea.”


To him, who loves all Beauty,
It is a rare delight
On the ocean—in the summer,
In the magical moonlight;

On the deck of a proud vessel
That rides triumphantly,
While the golden moonfire wrinkles
A pathway ‘er the sea.

Like giant sea-shells humming
Æolian harmonies,
The white sails high above him
Are rounded in the breeze;

While down their stainless whiteness
The cordage shadows flow,
Like leafless forest branches
Shadowed upon the snow:

The regal moon before him,
The northern morn behind,
And starry Cassiopœia,
And the good ship filled with wind.

And whither—say O whither
Speeds on the moonlit ship?
Westward forever, homeward
Where the stars in ocean dip.

The night has drunk the nectar
Of the moon’s o’erflowing cup,
That drowns far to the eastward
The pale stars coming up.

So drinks the soul thy Beauty,
O spirit of the sea,
Till dreaming and awaking
Seem each a mystery.

And in the spirit’s dreamlight
The present disappears,
And past and future mingling
Dissolve the weight of years.