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Title: Sea Poems
Author: Rice, Cale Young, 1872-1943
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sea Poems" ***

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by The Kentuckiana Digital Library.)



SEA POEMS

BY

CALE YOUNG RICE

AUTHOR OF

"WRAITHS AND REALITIES," "TRAILS SUNWARD," "COLLECTED POEMS," ETC.

NEW YORK
THE CENTURY CO.
1921


Copyright, 1921, by
The Century Co.


TO
HARRISON S. MORRIS
A HATER OF SHAM AND PRETENSE,
A LOVER OF BEAUTY AND TRUTH,
A FIRM FRIEND.



FOREWORD


The poems of this volume, gathered here after many requests, are, with a
few exceptions, from my previous lyrical publications. They are also in
a real sense an intimate record. For the sea has often enough seemed to
me almost as a vast external subconsciousness in which the forces of my
being--as well as the world's--were at play.

Cale Young Rice.

Louisville, Ky., August, 1921.



CONTENTS


                                PAGE

Sea-Hoardings                      3

The Shore's Song to the Sea        5

To a Firefly by the Sea            9

Invocation                        11

I Know Your Heart, O Sea!         11

A Sea-Ghost                       13

Finitude                          15

The Colonel's Story               16

Cosmism                           21

Off the Irish Coast               22

The Fairies of God                23

The Song of the Homesick Gael     24

Pageants of the Sea               26

A Song of the Old Venetians       29

Basking                           30

Sappho's Death Song               32

The Wind's Word                   33

Submarine Mountains               34

The Song of the Storm-Spirits     36

The Great Seducer                 37

K'u-Kiang                         38

Typhoon                           39

Penang                            41

Nights on the Indian Ocean        42

Sighting Arabia                   44

"All's Well"                      45

Somnambulism                      47

Chartings                         48

The Trail from the Sea            50

Haunted Seas                      54

Sea Lure                          54

Songs to A. H. R.

  I Minglings                     56
  II Love and Infinity            56
  III Recompense                  57
  IV At the Ebb-Hour              58
  V In a Dark Hour                59
  VI Via Amorosa                  59
  VII Transfusion                 61

Need of Storm                     62

A Florida Interlude               63

A Florida Boating Song            65

Dawn Bliss                        66

Atavism                           68

Re-reckoning                      69

To the Afternoon Moon, At Sea     70

Paths                             71

From a Northern Beach             73

Passage                           74

Aleen                             75

To a Solitary Sea-Gull            76

Ineffable Things                  77

The Song of a Sea-Farer           78

Waves                             79

In a Storm                        80

After Their Parting               80

A Word's Magic                    82

Sea Rhapsody                      83

In an Oriental Harbour            84

Under the Sky                     85

A Song for Healing                86

A Singhalese Love Lament          87

The City                          89

Full Tide                         89

The Herding                       91

On the Maine Coast                92

Séance                            93

A Sidmouth Lad                    93

Widowed                           94

To the Sea                        95

Sea-Mad                           97

The Atheist                       98

At the Helm                       99

Imperturbable                    100

Waste                            100

Resurgence                       101

Life's Answer                    103

As the Tide Comes In             103

Sense-Sweetness                  104

Tidals                           105

A Sailor's Wife                  105

To Sea!                          106

Give Over, O Sea!                107

The Nun                          109

Last Sight of Land               110



SEA POEMS

BY CALE YOUNG RICE



SEA-HOARDINGS


   My heart is open again and sea flows in,
   It shall fill with a summer of mists and winds and clouds and waves breaking,
   Of gull-wings over the green tide, of the surf's drenching din,
   Of sudden horizon-sails that come and vanish, phantom-thin,
   Of arching sapphire skies, deep and unaching.

   I shall lie on the rocks just over the weeds that drape
   The clear sea-pools, where birth and death in sunny ooze are teeming.
   Where the crab in quest of booty sidles about, a sullen shape,
   Where the snail creeps and the mussel sleeps with wary valves agape,
   Where life is too grotesque to be but seeming.

   And the swallow shall weave my dreams with threads of flight,
   A shuttle with silver breast across the warp of the waves gliding;
   And an isle far out shall be a beam in the loom of my delight,
   And the pattern of every dream shall be a rapture bathed in light--
   Its evanescence a beauty most abiding.

   And the sunsets shall give sadness all its due,
   They shall stain the sands and trouble the tides with all the ache of sorrow.
   They shall bleed and die with a beauty of meaning old yet ever new,
   They shall burn with all the hunger for things that hearts have failed to do,
   They shall whisper of a gold that none can borrow.

   And the stars shall come and build a bridge of fire
   For the moon to cross the boundless sea, with never a fear of sinking.
   They shall teach me of the magic things of life never to tire,
   And how to renew, when it is low, the lamp of my desire--
   And how to hope, in the darkest deeps of thinking.



THE SHORE'S SONG TO THE SEA


    Out on the rocks primeval,
    The grey Maine rocks that slant and break to the sea,
    With the bay and juniper round them,
    And the leagues on leagues before them,
    And the terns and gulls wheeling and crying, wheeling and crying over,
    I sat heart-still and listened.

    And first I could only hear the wind in my ears,
    And the foam trying to fill the high rock-shallows.
    And then, over the wind, over the whitely blossoming foam,
    Low, low, like a lover's song beginning,
    I heard the nuptial pleading of the old shore,
    A pleading ever occultly growing louder:--

    _O sea, glad bride of me!
    Born of the bright ether and given to wed me,
    Given to glance, ever, for me, and gleam and dance in the sun--
    Come to my arms, come to my reaching arms,
    That seem so still and unavailing to take you, and hold you,
    Yet never forget,
    Never by day or night,
    The hymeneal delights of your embracings._

    _Come, for the moon, my rival, shall not have you;
    No, for tho twice daily afar he beckons and you go,
    You, my bride, a little way back to meet him,
    As if he once had been your lover, he too, and again enspelled you,
    Soon, soon, I know it is only feigning!
    For turning, playfully turning, tidally turning,
    You rush foamingly, swiftly back to my arms!_

    _And so would I have you rush; so rush now!
    Come from the sands where you have stayed too long,
    Come from the reefs where you have wandered silent,
    For ebbings are good, the restful ebbings of love,
    But, oh, the bridal flowings of it are better!
    And now I would have you loose again my tresses,
    My locks rough and weedy, rough and brown and brinily tangled,
    But, oh, again as a bridegroom's, when your tide, whispering in,
    Lifts them up, pulsingly up with kisses!_

    _Come with your veil thrown back, breaking to spray!
    And oh, with plangent passion!
    Come with your naked sweetness, salt and wholesome, to my bosom;
    Let not a cave or crevice of me miss you, or cranny,
    For, oh, the nuptial joy you float into me,
    The cooling ambient clasp of you, I have waited over-long,
    And I need to know again its marriage meaning!_

    _For I think it is not alone to bring forth life, that I mate you;
    More than life is the beauty of life with love!
    Plentiful are the children that you bear to me, the blossoms,
    The fruits and all the creatures at your breast dewily fed,
    But mating is troubled with a far higher meaning--
    A hint of a consummation for all things.
    Come utterly then,
    Utterly to me come,
    And let us surge together, clasped close, in infinite union,
    Until we reach a transcendence of all birth, and all dying,
    An ecstasy holding the universe blended--
    Such ecstasy as is its ultimate Aim!_

    So sang the shore, the long bay-scented shore,
    Broken by many an isle, many an inlet bird-embosomed,
    And the sea gave answer, bridally, tidally turning,
    And leapt, radiant, into his rocky arms!



TO A FIREFLY BY THE SEA


    Little torch-bearer, alone with me in the night,
    You cannot light the sea, nor I illumine life.
    They are too vast for us, they are too deep for us.
    We glow with all our strength, but back the shadows sweep:
    And after a while will come--unshadowed Sleep.

    Here on the rocks that take the turning tide;
    Here by the wide lone waves and lonelier wastes of sky,
    We keep our poet-watch, as patient poets should,
    Questioning earth's commingled ill and good to us.
    Yet little of them, or naught, have truly understood.

    Bright are the stars, and constellated thick.
    To you, so quick to flit along your flickering course,
    They seem perhaps as glowing mates in other fields.
    And all the knowledge I have gathered yields to me
    Scarce more of the great mystery their wonder wields.

    For the moon we are waiting--and behold
    Her ardent gold drifts up, her sail has caught the breeze
    That blows all being thro the Universe always.
    So now, little light-keeper, you no more need nurse
    Your gleam, for lo! she mounts, and sullen clouds disperse.

    And I with aching thought may cease to burn,
    And humbly turn to rest--knowing no glow of mine
    Can ever be so beauteous as have been to me
    Your soft beams here beside the sea's elusive din:
    For grief too oft has kindled me, and pain, and the world's sin.



INVOCATION

(_From a High Cliff_)


    Sweep unrest
    Out of my blood,
    Winds of the sea! Sweep the fog
    Out of my brain
    For I am one
    Who has told Life he will be free.
    Who will not doubt of work that's done,
    Who will not fear the work to do,
    Who will hold peaks Promethean
    Better than all Jove's honey-dew.
    Who when the Vulture tears his breast
    Will smile into the Terror's Eyes.
    Who for the World has this Bequest--
    Hope, that eternally is wise.



I KNOW YOUR HEART, O SEA!


  I know your heart, O Sea!
  You are tossed with cold desire to flood earth utterly;
  You run at the cliffs, you fling wild billows at beaches,
  You reach at islands with fingers of foam to crumble them;
  Yes, even at mountain tops you shout your purpose
  Of making the earth a shoreless circle of waters!

  I know your surging heart!
  Tides mighty and all-contemptuous rise within it,
  Tides spurred by the wind to champ and charge and thunder--
  Tho the sun and moon rein them--
  At the troubling land, the breeding-place of mortals,
  Of men who are ever transmuting life to spirit,
  And ever taking your salt to savor their tears.

  I know your tides, I know them!
  "Down," they rage, "with the questing of men, and crying!
  With their continents--cradles of grief and despair!
  Better entombing waters for them, better our deeps unfathomed,
  Where birth is soulless, life goalless, death toll-less for all,
  And where dark ooze enshrouds past resurrection!"

  Ah, yes, I know your heart!
  I have heard it raving at coast-lights set to reveal you,
  I have watched it foam at ships that sought to defy you,
  I have seen it straining at cables that cross you, bearing whispers hid to you,
  Or heaving at waves of the air that tell your hurricanes.

  I know, I know your heart!
  Men you will sink, and shores will sink; but a shore shall be man's forever,
  From whence his lighthouse soul shall signal the Infinite,
  Whose fleets go by, star after star, bearing their unknown burden
  To a Port which only eternity shall determine!



A SEA-GHOST


    Oh, fisher-fleet, go in from the sea
      And furl your wings.
    The bay is gray with the twilit spray
      And the loud surf springs.

    The chill buoy-bell is rung by the hands
      Of all the drowned,
    Who know the woe of the wind and tow
      Of the tides around.

    Go in, go in! Oh, haste from the sea,
      And let them rest--
    The throng who long for the air--still long,
      But are still unblest.

    Aye, even as I, whose hands at the bell
      Now labour most.
    The tomb has gloom, but oh, the doom
      Of the drear sea-ghost!

    He evermore must wander the ooze
      Beneath the wave,
    Forlorn--to warn of the tempest born,
      And to save--to save!

    Then go, go in! and leave us the sea,
      For only so
    Can peace release us and give us ease
      Of our salty woe.



FINITUDE


I

    One ruby, amid a diamond spray of stars,
        The coast light flashes;
        The tide plashes,
    Across a mile of bay-sweet land the moon
        Comes soon:
    She has lost half of her lustre and looks old.

    A cricket, finitude's incarnate cry,
    And the infinite waters with their hushless sigh
        Are the two sounds
        The night has:
    Each in eternal wistfulness abounds.


II

    I have wakened out of my sleep because I too
        Am wistful,
            Tristeful;
    Because I know that half of _me_ is gone,
    And that all frailty cries in the cricket's tone.

    I have wakened out of my sleep to watch and listen.
        For what?
    To see for a moment universes glisten;
    To wonder and want--and go to sleep again,
            And die,
        And be forgot.



THE COLONEL'S STORY


    No, no, my friend; there is an agony
    Not to be exorcised out of the world
    By any voice of hope.--But, I will tell you.

    The _Sonia_ was sailing without lights--
    Bearing three hundred souls--and without bells;
    For she had reached the "Zone," where the Hun sharks
    With their torpedo tongues could spit death at us
    Out of the inky sea-hells where they hid.
    On the main deck we stood, in a wind-shelter,--
    My wife, and by us a pale girl whose eyes
    Had all disaster in them. And my thought was,
    "I hope to God the moon is shut so deep
    In cloud-murk there in the East that hurricanes
    Can't blow her out of it." For in the Zone
    The moon had come to mean only betrayal,
    And now, if ever, was her wanton chance.

    The slipping water soaked with soulless dark
    Fell under and around us shudderingly,
    Yet somehow brought an anxious hopefulness.
    "We're making twenty knots," I said; and felt
    Our bow cut thro the tangle of the waves
    As if the No Man's _Sea_ ahead of us
    Would soon be crossed; and I, out to rejoin
    My regiment, could set my wife safe somewhere,
    And help again to stab that curst amphibian,
    Autocracy--whose spawn in the sea gave it
    A terror greater than infinitude's.
    For God knows, with the woman that one loves
    Aboard a ship, and only a cloud perhaps
    Between the Hun's shark eyes and sure escape
    From the black icy fathoms that would choke her,
    There's little left within a man but nerves.
    So when I drew her closer into the shelter,
    Out of the sheering wind, the life belt
    She wore seemed like a coffin in that sepulchre
    Of night and sea. And when the other, there,
    With the disaster eyes and pallid face,
    Turned half toward us, I was shaken as if
    The moon had suddenly walked out of her shroud
    With phosphorescent purpose to reveal us.

    But on we plunged and tumbled, till at last
    The blank monotonous sink and swell lulled me
    To faith. And I was only thinking softly
    Of her--my wife's--first kiss on a summer night
    Under the moonlit laurels of our home,
    When came a cry from the wan girl gazing
    Frozenly on the sea--where the moon now
    Indeed was pointing at us pallidly
    A death-path. And my throat was gripped by it,
    That clutching cry, as if the glacial depths
    Down under us already had risen up.
    So starting toward the slipping rail I called,
    "What is it? where?" For, tense as a clairvoyant,
    With eyes that seemed to feel under the tide
    The stealthy peril stalking us, she stood there.

    After a moment's gazing, I too saw--
    What she foresensed--destruction seething toward us.
    "The boats!" I cried, "the rafts!" And stumbled back
    Over the streaming deck to her I loved.
    Then the shock came, as if the sea's wild heart
    Had broken under us, and ripped the entrails,
    The human hundreds, out of our vessel's hold,
    To strew the foam with mania and despair,
    With shrieks strangled by wind and wave and terror.
    And thro that floating, mangled, blind confusion,
    Where hands reached at the infinite then sank,
    Where faces clung to wreckage as to eternity,
    I sought for her who shared my life's voyage,
    Who had been my heart's pilot; and who now,
    Wrecked with me, swirled, too, in the torn waters....
    And soon I saw her, still by that wan girl,
    Tossed on a watery omnipotence.

    Blind with brine I swam for her--as the moon,
    Her treachery done, again got to a cloud.
    Flung back by every wave, I fought; beating
    Against them as against God. And soon, somehow,
    Had reached to a limp body on the surge,
    Limp and strange--but living ... and not drowned!
    Then seeing a raft near, I struggled onward,
    Gulping the sea and being gulped by it,
    But finding arms at last that drew my burden
    And me from horror to half-swooning safety.

    I could have died, I think, of the relief.
    But the moon came again, nakedly out,
    As if to see what she had done. Then I,
    Bending over the form that I had fought for,
    And chafing it, saw ... not her I loved!
    Infinite Cruelty, not her I loved!...
    But that pale girl, with the eyes of all disaster.

    Oh, yes, I raved, and said God was a Hun,
    A Kaiser of a Universe that loathed him.
    And back, too, would have leapt, into the waves,
    But the same hands that saved were ready to hold me.



COSMISM


    The sea asleep like a dreamer sighs;
      The salt rock-pools lie still in the sun,
    Except for the sidling crab that creeps
      Thro the moveless mosses green and dun.
    The small gray snail clings everywhere,
      For the tide is out; and the sea-weed dries
    Its tangled tresses in the warm air,
      That seems to ooze from the far blue skies,
      Where not a white gull on white wing flies.

    The mollusc gleams like a gem amid
      The scurf and the clustered green sea-grapes,
    Whose trellis is but the rock's bare side,
      Whose husbandman but the tide that drapes.
    The little sandpiper tilts and picks
      His food, on the wet sea-marges hid,
    Till sudden a wave comes in and flicks
      Him off, then flashes away to bid
      Another frighten him--as it did.

    O sweet is the world of living things,
      And sweet are the mingled sea and shore!
    It seems as if I never again
      Shall find life ill--as oft before.
    As if my days should come as the clouds
      Come yonder--and vanish without wings;
    As if all sorrow that ever shrouds
      My soul and darkly about it clings
      Had lost forever its ravenings.

    As if I knew with a deeper sense
      That good alone is ultimate;
    That never an evil wrought of God
      Or man came truly out of hate.
    That Better springs from the heart of Worse,
      As calm from the heaving elements;
    That all things born to the Universe
      May suffer and perish utterly hence,
      But never refute its Innocence.



OFF THE IRISH COAST


    Gulls on the wind,
    Crying! crying!
    Are you the ghosts
    Of Erin's dead?
    Of the forlorn
    Whose days went sighing
    Ever for Beauty
    That ever fled?

    Ever for Light
    That never kindled?
    Ever for Song
    No lips have sung?
    Ever for Joy
    That ever dwindled?
    Ever for Love that stung?



THE FAIRIES OF GOD


    Last night I slipt from the banks of dream
    And swam in the currents of God,
    On a tide where His fairies were at play,
    Catching salt tears in their little white hands,
    For human hearts;
    And dancing, dancing, in gala bands,
    On the currents of God;
    And singing, singing:--

    _There is no wind blows here or spray--
    Wind upon us!
    Only the waters ripple away
    Under our feet as we gather tears.
    God has made mortals for the years,
    Us for alway!
    God has made mortals full of fears,
    Fears for the night and fears for the day.
    If they would free them of grief that sears,
    If they would keep what love endears,
    If they would lay no more lilies on biers--
    Let them say!
    For we are swift to enchant and tire
    Time's will!
    Our feet are wiser than all desire,
    Our song is better than faith or fame;
    To whom it is given no ill e'er came,
    Who has it not grows chill!
    Who has it not grows laggard and lame,
    Nor knows that the world is a Minstrel's lyre,
    Smitten and never still!..._

    Last night on the currents of God.



THE SONG OF THE HOMESICK GAEL

(_In the characteristic minor of a recent literary movement_)


    I long to see the solan-goose
      Wing over Ailsa crag
    At dusk again--or Girvan gulls at dawn;
    To see the osprey grayly glide
      The winds of Kamasaig:
    For grayness now my heart is set upon.

    The grayness of sea-spaces where
      There's loneliness alone,
    Save for the wings that sweep it with unrest,
    Save for the hunger-cries that sound
      And die into a moan,
    Save for the moaning hunger in my breast.

    For grayness is the hue of all
      In life that is not lies.
    A thousand years of tears are in my heart;
    And only in their mystery
      Can I be truly wise:
    From light and laughter follies only start.

    I long to see the mists again
      Above the tumbling tide
    Of Ailsa, at the coming of the night.
    There's weariness and emptiness
      And soul unsatisfied
    Forever in the places of delight.



PAGEANTS OF THE SEA


    What memories have I of it,
    The sea, continent-clasping,
    The sea whose spirit is a sorcery,
    The sea whose magic foaming is immortal!
    What memories have I of it thro the years!

    What memories of its shores!...
    Of shadowy headlands doomed to stay the storm;
    And red cliffs clawing ever into the tides;
    Of misty moors whose royal heather purples;
    Of channeled marshes, village-nesting hills;
    Of crags wind-eaten, homes of hungry gulls;
    Of bays--
    Where sails float furled, resting softly at harbour,
    Until, winging again, they sweep away.

    What memories have I, too,
    Of faring out at dawn upon tameless waters,
    Upon the infinite wasted yearning of them,
    While winds, the mystic harp-strings of the world,
    Were sounding sweet farewells;
    While coast and lighthouse tower were fading fast,
    And from me all the world slipped like a garment.

    What memories of mid-deeps!...
    Of heaving on thro haunted vasts of foam,
    Thro swaying terrors of tormented tides;
    While the wind, no more singing, took to raving,
    In rhythmic infinite words,
    A chantey ancient and immeasurable
    Concerning man and God.

    What memories of fog-spaces--
    Wide leaden deserts of dim wavelessness,
    Smooth porpoise-broken glass
    As gray as a dream upon despair's horizon;
    What sailing soft till lo the shroud was lifted
    And suddenly there came, as a great joy,
    The blue sublimity of summer skies,
    The azure mystery of happy heavens,
    The passionate sweet parley of the breeze,
    And dancing waves--that lured us on and on
    Past islands above whose verdant mountain-heads
    Enchanted clouds were hanging,
    And whence wild spices wandered;
    Past iridescent reefs and vessels bound
    For ports unknown:
    O far, far past, until the sun, in fire,
    An impotent and shrunken orb lay dying,
    On heaving twilight purple gathered round.

    And then, what nights!...
    The phantom moon in misty resurrection
    Arising from her sepulchre in the East
    And sparkling the dark waters--
    The unremembering moon!
    And covenants of star to faithful star,
    Dewy, like tears of God, across the sky;
    And under the moon's fair ring Orion running
    Forever in great war adown the West.
    What far, infinite nights!
    With cloud-horizons where the lightning slumbered
    Or wakened once and again with startled watch,
    Again to fall asleep
    And leave the moon-path free for all my thoughts
    To wander peacefully
    Away and still away
    Until the stars sighed out in dawn's great pallor,
    Just as the lands of my desire appeared.

    What memories ... have I of it!



A SONG OF THE OLD VENETIANS


    The seven fleets of Venice
    Set sail across the sea
    For Cyprus and for Trebizond
    Ayoub and Araby.
    Their gonfalons are floating far,
    St. Mark's has heard the mass,
    And to the noon the salt lagoon
    Lies white, like burning glass.

    The seven fleets of Venice--
    And each its way to go,
    Led by a Falier or Tron,
    Zorzi or Dandalo.
    The Patriarch has blessed them all,
    The Doge has waved the word,
    And in their wings the murmurings
    Of waiting winds are heard.

    The seven fleets of Venice--
    And what shall be their fate?
    One shall return with porphyry
    And pearl and fair agàte.
    One shall return with spice and spoil
    And silk of Samarcand.
    But nevermore shall _one_ win o'er
    The sea, to any land.

    _Oh, they shall bring the East back,
    And they shall bring the West,
    The seven fleets our Venice sets
    A-sail upon her quest.
    But some shall bring despair back
    And some shall leave their keels
    Deeper than wind or wave frets,
    Or sun ever steals._



BASKING


    Give me a spot in the sun,
      With a lizard basking by me,
    In Sicily, over the sea,
      Where Winter is sweet as Spring,
    Where Etna lifts his plume
      Of curling smoke to try me,
    But all in vain for I will not climb
      His height so ravishing.

    Give me a spot in the sun,
      So high on a cliff that, under,
    Far down, the flecking sails
      Like white moths flit the blue;
    That over me on a crag
      There hangs, O aëry wonder,
    A white town drowsing in its nest
      That cypress-tops peep thro.

    Give me a spot in the sun,
      With contadini singing,
    And a goat-boy at his pipes
      And donkey bells heard round
    Upon steep mountain paths
      Where a peasant cart comes swinging
    Mid joyous hot invectives--that
      So blameless here abound.

    Give me a spot in the sun,
      In a land whose speech is flowers,
    Whose breath is Hybla-sweet,
      Whose soul is still a faun's,
    Whose limbs the sea enlaps,
      Thro long delicious hours,
    With liquid tenderness and light
      Sweet as Elysian dawns.

    Give me a spot in the sun
      With a view past vale and villa,
    Past grottoed isle and sea
      To Italy and the Cape
    Around whose turning lies
      Old heathen-hearted Scylla,
    Whom may an ancient sailor prayed
      The gods he might escape.

    Give me a spot in the sun:
      With sly old Pan as lazy
    As I, ever to tempt me
      To disbelief and doubt
    Of all gods else, from Jove
      To Bacchus born wine-crazy.
    Give me, I say, a spot in the sun,
      And Realms I'll do without!



SAPPHO'S DEATH SONG

(_On her sea-cliff in Leucady_)


    What have I gathered the years did not take from me?
     (Swallows, hear, as you fly from the cold!)
    Whom have I bound to me never to break from me?
     (Whom, O wind of the wold?)
    Whom, O wind! O hunter of spirits!
     (Pierce his spirit whose spear is in mine!)
    Then let Oblivion loose this ache from me, Proserpine!

    Lyre and the laurel the Muses gave to me,
     (Why comes summer when winter is nigh!)
    Spent am I now and pain-voices rave to me.
     (O sea and its cry!)
    O the sea that has suffered all sorrow!
     (Sea of the Delphian tongue ever shrill!)
    Nought from the wreck of love can now save to me
            Any thrill!

    Life that we live passes pale or amorous.
     (Tread, O vintagers, grapes in the press!)
    Mine's but a prey to Erinñyes clamorous.
     (O for wine that will bless!)
    Wine that foams, but is free of all madness
     (Free, O Cypris, of fury's breath!)
    Free as I now shall be, O glamorous
            Queen of Death!



THE WIND'S WORD


    A star that I love,
      The sea, and I,
    Spake together across the night.
      "Have peace," said the star,
      "Have power," said the sea;
    "Yea!" I answered, "and Fame's delight!"
      The wind on his way
      To Araby
    Paused and listened and sighed and said,
      "I passed on the sands
      A Pharaoh's tomb:
    All these did he have--and he is dead."



SUBMARINE MOUNTAINS


    Under the sea, which is their sky, they rise
      To watery altitudes as vast as those
      Of far Himàlayan peaks impent in snows
      And veils of cloud and sacred deep repose.
    Under the sea, their flowing firmament,
      More dark than any ray of sun can pierce,
      The earthquake thrust them up with mighty tierce
    And left them to be seen but by the eyes
    Of awed imagination inward bent.

    Their vegetation is the viscid ooze,
      Whose mysteries are past belief or thought.
      Creation seems around them devil-wrought,
      Or by some cosmic urgence gone distraught.
    Adown their precipices chill and dense
      With the dank midnight creep or crawl or climb
      Such tentacled and eyeless things of slime,
    Such monster shapes as tempt us to accuse
    Life of a miscreative impotence.

    About their peaks the shark, their eagle, floats,
      In the thick azure far beneath the air,
      Or downward sweeps upon what prey may dare
      Set forth from any silent weedy lair.
    But one desire on all their slopes is found,
      Desire of food, the awful hunger strife,
      Yet here, it may be, was begun our life
    Here all the dreams on which our vision dotes
    In unevolved obscurity were bound.

    Too strange it is, too terrible! And yet
      It matters not how we were wrought or whence
      Life came to us with all its throb intense
      If in it is a Godly Immanence.
    It matters not,--if haply we are more
      Than creatures half-conceived by a blind force
      That sweeps the universe in a chance course:
    For only in Unmeaning Might is met
    The intolerable thought none can ignore.



THE SONG OF THE STORM-SPIRITS


    Come over the tide,
    Come over the foam,
    Dance on the hurricane, leap its waves,
    Dream not of the calm sea-caves
    Nor of content in them and home.
    For that is the reason the hearts of men
    Are ever weary--they would abide
    Somewhere out of the spumy stride
    Of the world's spindrift--a want denied.
    That is the reason: tho they know
    That the restive years have no true home,
    But only a Whence, Whither, and When--
    Whence and Whither, for hearts to roam.
    So who would tarry and rest the while,
    Not dance as we, and sing on the wind,
    Against the whole flow of the world has sinned,
    And soon is weary and cannot smile.
    Dance then, dance, on the fleeting spray!
    None can gather eternity
    Into his heart and bid it stay,
    Swiftly again it slips away.
    Dance, and know that the will of Life
    Is the wind's will and the will of the tide,
    And who finds not a home in its strife
    Shall find no home on any side!



THE GREAT SEDUCER


    Who looks too long from his window
    At the gray, wide, cold sea,
    Where breakers scour the beaches
    With fingers of sharp foam;
    Who looks too long thro the gray pane
    At the mad, wild, bold sea,
    Shall sell his hearth to a stranger
    And turn his back on home.

    Who looks too long from his window--
    Tho his wife waits by the fireside--
    At a ship's wings in the offing,
    At a gull's wings on air,
    Shall latch his gate behind him,
    Tho his cattle call from the byre-side,
    And kiss his wife--and leave her--
    And wander everywhere.

    Who looks too long in the twilight,
    Or the dawn-light, or the noon-light,
    Who sees an anchor lifted
    And hungers past content,
    Shall pack his chest for the world's end,
    For alien sun--or moonlight,
    And follow the wind, sateless,
    To Disillusionment!



K'U-KIANG


    Because the sun like a Chinese lantern
    Set in a temple of clouds tonight,
    I was back in K'u-Kiang!

    Because in a temple of dragon clouds,
    As if with incense misty red,
    It hung there over the rim of the sea,
    I was back in a narrow street,
    Where amber faces pass all day,
    Going to pay, going to pray,
    Going the same old human way
    They have gone for a thousand years, men say,
    In K'u-Kiang.

    And I heard the coolie cry for his fare,
    I heard the merchant praise his ware
    Of bronze and porcelain set to snare,
    In K'u-Kiang!
    I saw strange streaming signs in black
    With gold and crimson on their back--
    Opiate signs in an opiate street;
    Where the slip and patter of felt-shod feet
    Is old as the sun;
    And the temple door
    As cool and dark as the night.

    And where dim lanterns, swinging there,
    As a lure to human grief and care,
    Half reveal and half conceal
    The ancestral gloom of the gods.

    I saw all this with sudden pang,
    As if by hashish swept or bhang,
    Because the sun, like a Chinese lantern,
    Set in a temple of clouds!



TYPHOON

(_At Hong-kong_)


    I was weary and slept on the Peak;
      The air clung close like a shroud,
    And ever the blue-fly at my ear
      Buzzed haunting, hot and loud;
    I awoke and the sky was dun
      With awe and a dread that soon
    Went shuddering thro my heart, for I knew
      That it meant typhoon! typhoon!

    In the harbour below, far down,
      The junks like fowl in a flock
    Were tossing in wingless terror, or fled
      Fluttering in from the shock.
    The city, a breathless bend
      Of roofs, by the water strewn,
    Lay silent and waiting, yet there was none
      Within it but said typhoon!

    Then it came, like a million winds
      Gone mad immeasurably,
    A torrid and tortuous tempest stung
      By rape of the fair South Sea.
    And it swept like a scud escaped
      From crater of sun or moon,
    And struck as no power of Heaven could,
      Or of Hell--typhoon! typhoon!

    And the junks were smitten and torn,
      The drowning struggled and cried,
    Or, dashed on the granite walls of the sea,
      In succourless hundreds died.
    Till I shut the sight from my eyes
      And prayed for my soul to swoon:
    If ever I see God's face, let it
      Be guiltless of that typhoon!



PENANG


    I want to go back to Singapore
        And ship along the Straits,
    To a bungalow I know beside Penang;
      Where cocoanut palms along the shore
        Are waving, and the gates
    Of Peace shut Sorrow out forevermore.
      I want to go back and hear the surf
        Come beating in at night,
    Like the washing of eternity over the dead.
      I want to see dawn fare up and day
        Go down in golden light;
    I want to go back to Penang! I want to go back!

    I want to go back to Singapore
      And up along the Straits
    To the bungalow that waits me by the tide.
      Where the Tamil and Malay tell their lore
        At evening--and the fates
    Have set no soothless canker at life's core.
      I want to go back and mend my heart
        Beneath the tropic moon,
    While the tamarind-tree is whispering thoughts of sleep.
      I want to believe that Earth again
        With Heaven is in tune.
    I want to go back to Penang! I want to go back!

    I want to go back to Singapore
      And ship along the Straits
    To the bungalow I left upon the strand.
      Where the foam of the world grows faint before
        It enters, and abates
    In meaning as I hear the palm-wind pour.
      I want to go back and end my days
        Some evening when the Cross
    On the southern sky hangs heavily far and sad.
      I want to remember when I die
        That life elsewhere was loss.
    I want to go back to Penang! I want to go back!



NIGHTS ON THE INDIAN OCEAN


    Nights on the Indian Ocean,
      Long nights of moon and foam,
    When silvery Venus low in the sky
      Follows the sun home.
    Long nights when the mild monsoon
      Is breaking south-by-west,
    And when soft clouds and the singing shrouds
      Make all that is seem best.

    Nights on the Indian Ocean,
      Long nights of space and dream,
    When silent Sirius round the Pole
      Swings on, with steady gleam;
    When oft the pushing prow
      Seems pressing where before
    No prow has ever pressed--or shall
      From hence forevermore.

    Nights on the Indian Ocean,
      Long nights--with land at last,
    Dim land, dissolving the long sea-spell
      Into a sudden past--
    That seems as far away
      As this our life shall seem
    When under the shadow of death's shore
      We drop its ended dream.



SIGHTING ARABIA


    My heart, that is Arabia, O see!
      That talismanic sweep of sunset coast,
      Which lies like richly wrought enchantment's ghost
    Before us, bringing back youth's witchery!

    "Arabian Nights!" At last to us one comes,
      The crescent moon upon its purple brow.
      Will not Haroun and Bagdad rise up now
    There on the shore, to beating of his drums?

    Is not that gull a roc? That sail Sindbad's?
      That rocky pinnacle a minaret?
      Does the wind call to prayer from it? O yet
    I hear the fancy, fervid as a lad's!

    "Allah il Allah," rings it; O my heart,
      Fall prostrate, for to Mecca we are near,
      That flashing light is but a sign sent clear
    From her, your houri, as her curtains part!

    Soon she will lean out from her lattice, soon,
      And bid you climb up to your Paradise,
      Which is her panting lips and passion eyes
    Under the drunken sweetness of the moon!

    O heart, my heart, drink deeply ere they die,
      The sunset dome, the minaret, the dreams
      Flashing afar from youth's returnless streams:
    For we, my heart, must grow old, you and I!



"ALL'S WELL"


    I

    The illimitable leaping of the sea,
    The mouthing of its madness to the moon,
    The seething of its endless sorcery,
    Its prophecy no power can attune,
    Swept over me as, on the sounding prow
    Of a great ship that steered into the stars,
    I stood and felt the awe upon my brow
    Of death and destiny and all that mars.


    II

    The wind that blew from Cassiopeia cast
    Wanly upon my ear a rune that rung;
    The sailor in his eyrie on the mast
    Sang an "All's well," that to the spirit clung
    Like a lost voice from some aërial realm
    Where ships sail on forever to no shore,
    Where Time gives Immortality the helm,
    And fades like a far phantom from life's door.


    III

    "And is all well, O Thou Unweariable,
    Who launchest worlds upon bewildered space,"
    Rose in me, "All? or did thy hand grow dull
    Building this world that bears a piteous race?
    O was it launched too soon or launched too late?
    Or can it be a derelict that drifts
    Beyond thy ken toward some reef of Fate
    On which Oblivion's sand forever shifts?"


    IV

    The sea grew softer as I questioned--calm
    With mystery that like an answer moved,
    And from infinity there fell a balm,
    The old peace that God _is_, tho all unproved.
    The old faith that tho gulfs sidereal stun
    The soul, and knowledge drown within their deep,
    There is no world that wanders, no not one
    Of all the millions, that He does not keep.



SOMNAMBULISM


    I

    Night is above me,
    And Night is above the night.
    The sea is beside me soughing, or is still.
    The earth as a somnambulist moves on
    In a strange sleep ...
    A sea-bird cries.
    And the cry wakes in me
    Dim, dead sea-folk, my sires--
    Who more than myself are me.
    Who sat on their beach long nights ago and saw
    The sea in its silence;
    And cursed it or implored;
    Or with the Cross defied;
    Then on the morrow in their boats went down.


    II

    Night is above me ...
    And Night is above the night.
    Rocks are about me, and, beyond, the sand ...
    And the low reluctant tide,
    That rushes back to ebb a last farewell
    To the flotsam borne so long upon its breast.
    Rocks ... But the tide is out,
    And the slime lies naked, like a thing ashamed
    That has no hiding-place.
    And the sea-bird hushes--
    The bird and all far cries within my blood--
    And earth as a somnambulist moves on.



CHARTINGS


    There is no moon, only the sea and stars;
      There is no land, only the vessel's bow
      On which I stand alone and wonder how
    Men ever dream of ports beyond the bars
      Of Finitude that fix the Here and Now.
    A meteor falls, and foam beneath me breaks;
      Dim phosphor fires within it faintly die.
      So soft the sea is that it seems a sky
    On which eternity to life awakes.

    The universe is spread before my face,
      Worlds where perchance a million seas like this
      Are flowing and where tides of pain and bliss
    Find, as on earth, so prevalent a place
      That nothing of their wont we there should miss.
    The Universe, that man has dared to say
      Is but one Being--ah, courageous thought!
      Which is so vast that hope itself is fraught
    With shame, while saying it, and shrinks away.

    Shrinks, even as now! For clouds sweep up the skies
      And darken the wide waters circling round,
      From out whose deep arises the old sound
    Of Terror unto which no tongue replies
      But Faith--that nothing ever shall confound.
    Not only pagan Perseus but the Cross
      Is shrouded--with wild wind and wilder rain,
      That on me beat until my soul again
    Sings unsurrendering to fears of Loss.

    For this I know,--yea, tho all else lie hid
      Uncharted on the waters of our fate,
      All lands of Whence or Whither, whose estate
    In vain imagination seeks to thrid,
      Yet cannot, for the fog within Death's gate,--
    This thing I know, that life, whatever its Source
      Or Destiny, comes with an upward urge,
      And that we cannot thwart its mighty surge,
    But with a joy in strife must keep the course.



THE TRAIL FROM THE SEA


    I took the trail to the wooded canyon,
    The trail from the sea:
    For I heard a calling in me,
    A landward calling irresistible in me:--

    _Have done with things of the sea--things of the soul;
    Have done with waters that slip away from under you.
    Have done with things faithless, things unfathomable and vain;
    With the vast deeps of Time and the Hereafter._

    _Have done with the fog-breather, the fog-beguiler;
    With the foam of the never-resting.
    Have done with tides and passions, tides and mysteries for a season.
    Have done with infinite yearnings cast adrift on infinite vagueness--
    With never a certain sail, never a rudder sure for guidance,
    With never a compass-needle free of desire._

    _For the ways of earth are good, as well as sea-ways,
    The peaks of it as well as ports unknown.
    Not only perils matter, stormy perils, over the pathless,
    Not only the shoals that sink your ship of dreams.
    Not only the phantom lure of far horizons,
    Not only the windy guess at the goals of God._

    _But morning matters, and dew upon the rose,
    And noon, shadowless noon, and simple sheep on the pastures straying.
    And toil matters, amid the accustomed corn,
    And peace matters, the valley-spirit of peace, unprone to wander,
    Unprone to pierce to the world's end--and past it.
    And zephyrs matter, that never lift up a sail,
    Save that of the thistle voyaging over the meadow._

    _And the lark--oh--the sunny lark--as well as the songless petrel,
    Who cries the foamy length of a thousand leagues.
    And silence matters, silence free of all surging,
    Silence, the spirit of happiness and home._

    _And oh how much the laugh of a child matters:
    More than the green of an island suddenly lit by sun at dawn.
    And friends, the greetings of friends, how they matter:
    More than ships that meet and fling a wild ahoy and pass,
    On any alien tides however enchanted.
    And the face of love, the evening face of love, at a window waiting,
    Shall ever a kindled Light on any long-unlifting shore,
    Shall ever a Harbor Light like that light matter?_

    _Ah no! so enough of the sea and the soul for a season.
    Too long followed they leave life as a dream,
    Reality as a mirage when port is made.
    "Ever in sight of the human," is the helm-word of the wisest,
    For earth is not earth to one upon the flood of infinity;
    To the eye, then, it is but an atom-star, adrift, and oh,
    No longer warm with the beating of countless hearts._

    _No longer warm with the human throb--the simple breath of today,
    With yester-hours or the near dreams of to-morrow.
    No longer rich with the little innumerous blooms of brief delights,
    Nor all divinely drenched with sympathy.
    No longer green with the humble grass of duties that must grow,
    To clothe it against desert aridity.
    No longer zoned with the air of hope, no longer large with faith--
    No longer heaven enough--if Heaven fails us!_



HAUNTED SEAS


    A gleaming glassy ocean,
      Under a sky of gray;
    A tide that dreams of motion,
      Or moves, as the dead may;
    A bird that dips and wavers
      Over lone waters round,
    Then with a cry that quavers
      Is gone--a spectral sound.

    The brown sad sea-weed drifting
      Far from the land, and lost.
    The faint warm fog unlifting,
      The derelict long-tossed,
    But now at rest--tho haunted
      By the death-scenting shark,
    Whose prey no more undaunted
      Slips from it, spent and stark.



SEA LURE

(_The Maine Coast_)


    It is so, O sea! wild roses
      Bloom here in the scent of your brine.
    And the juniper round them closes,
      And the bays amid them twine,
    To guard and to praise their beauty;
      And the gulls above them cry,
    And the stern rocks stand on duty,
      Where the surf beats white and high.

    It is so, O sea! wild roses,
      With the day-long fog bedrenched,
    Have come from their inland closes
      With a thirst for you unquenched.
    And over your cliffs they clamber,
      And over your vast they gaze;
    For the tides of you can enamour
      Even them with their woodland ways.

    Yea, the passion of you and the power
      And the largeness are a lure
    To even the heart of a flower,
      O sea, with a heart unsure!
    For love is a thing unsated,
      Nor ever in any breast
    Has it dwelt, all want abated,
           At rest.



SONGS TO A. H. R.


I

MINGLINGS

    It is the old old vision,
      The moonlit sea--and you.
    I cannot make disseverance
      Between the two.
    For all the world's wide beauty
      To me you seem,
    All that I love in shadow
      Or glow or gleam.

    It is the old old murmur,
      The sea's sound and your voice.
    God in his Bliss between them
      Could make no choice.
    For all the world's deep music
      In you I hear:
    Nor shall I ask death, ever,
      For aught more dear.


II

LOVE AND INFINITY

    Across the kindling twilight moon
      A late gull wings to rest.
    The sea is murmuring underneath
      Its vast eternal quest.
    The coast-light flashes over the tide
      A red and warning eye,
    And oh the world is very wide,
      But you are nigh!

    The stars come out from zone to zone,
      The wind knows every one
    And blows their message to my heart,
      As it has ever done.
    "They are all God's," it tells me, "all,
      However huge or high."
    But ah I could not trust its call--
      Were you not by!


III

RECOMPENSE

    Not if I chose from a world of days
      Could I find a day like this.
    The sky is a wreath of azure haze
      And the sea an azure bliss.
    The surf runs racing the young salt wind,
      Shouting without a fear
    Over reef, bar, cliff and scaur,
      Where you and I lie near.

    O you and I who have watched the sky
      And sea from many a shore!
    You, love, and I who will live and die--
      And watch the sea no more!
    O joy of the world! Joy of love,
      Joy that can say to death,
    "Tho you end all with your wanton pall,
      We two have had this breath!"


IV

AT THE EBB-HOUR

    As I hear, thro the midnight sighing,
      The low ebb-tide withdrawn,
    And gulls on the dark cliff crying
      For far discernless dawn,
    It seems that all life is lying
      Within your every breath,
    Yet I can not believe in dying,
            Or death.

    As I hear, from the gray church tower,
      The bell's unfailing sound
    Peal forth hour after hour
      To night's lone reaches round,
    It seems as if Time's wan power
      Would sear all things apace--
    All, save in my heart one flower,
            Your face.


V

IN A DARK HOUR

    You are not with me--only the moon,
    The sea and the gulls' cry, out of tune;
    The myriad cry of the gulls still strewn
    On the sands where the tide will enter soon.

    You are not with me, only the breath
    Of the wind--and then the wind's death.
    A shrouding silence then that saith,
    "Even as wind love vanisheth."

    You are not with me--only fear,
    As old as earth's first frenzied bier
    That severed two whose hearts were near,
    And left one with all Life unclear.


VI

VIA AMOROSA

    When we two walk, my love, on the path
      The moon makes over the sea,
    To the end of the world where sorrow hath
      An end that is ecstasy,
    Should we not think of the other road
      Of wearying dust and stone
    Our feet would fare did each but care
      To follow the way alone?

    When we two slip at night to the skies
      And find one star that we keep
    As a trysting-place to which our eyes
      May lead our souls ere sleep,
    Should we not pause for a little space
      And think how many must sigh
    Because they gaze over starry ways
      With no heart-comrade by?

    When we two then lie down to our dreams
      That deepen still the delight
    Of our wandering where stars and streams
      Stray in immortal light,
    Should we not grieve with the myriads
      From East of earth to West
    Who lay them down at night but to drown
      A longing for some loved breast?

    Ah, yes, for life has a thousand gifts,
      But love it is gives life.
    Who walks thro his world in loneness lifts
      A soul that is sorrow-rife.
    But they to whom it is given to tread
      The moon-path and not sink
    Can ever say the unhappiest way
      Earth has is fair, to the brink.


VII

TRANSFUSION

    A shoal-light flashes east,
      And livid lightning west,
    The silvery dark night-sea between,
      On which we ride at rest,
    And gaze far, far away
      Into the fretless skies,
    World-sadness in our thought--but ah,
      Content within our eyes.

    The ship's bell strikes--the sound
      Floats shrouded to our ears,
    Then suddenly, as at a touch,
      The universe appears
    A Presence Infinite
      That penetrates our love
    And makes us one with night and sea
      And all the stars above.



NEED OF STORM

(_Naples-on-the-Gulf_)


    On the green floor of the Gulf the wind is walking,
    Printing it with invisible feet;
    The tide is talking.

    Purple and grey the horizon walls them round
    With purpler clouds.
    They wander in it like guests gently astray
    In a house deep mystery shrouds.

    I do not know the speech of the tide,
    For too articulate have become my years:
    Beauty brings only words, not breathless tears.

    So the young heron fishing there in the foam
    On the sand's edge,
    Would once have taken my spirit far, far home
    To the infinite, when he vanished thro the gloam.

    But now I am left behind on the beach--a shell
    That no more knows the wonder of the sea's swell,
    Or more than the empty echo of its knell.

    To sea then, Life, wildly to sea with a storm
    Sweep me again,
    From the smooth dull beach of custom where I lie,
    That I may feel once more
    The swaying surge of passion thro me swarm!



A FLORIDA INTERLUDE

(_Naples-on-the-Gulf_)


    I

    Behind me lie the Everglades,
    The mystic grassy Everglades,
    Where the moccasin and the Seminole glide
    In secret silent Indian ways.
    Before me lies the Gulf,
    The cup of blue bright tropic waters,
    Held to the parched lips of the South
    To cool and quench its thirst.

    Behind me lie the Everglades,
    Before me lies the Gulf,
    Which the sunset soon shall change to wine,
    A Eucharist for the longing soul.
    Its rim of land shall be transformed
    To Mexic opal and chrysoprase,
    And then shall come the moon
    As calm as a thought of Christ.

    As calm as a thought of Christ--
    Over the cup's sand-rim enchased
    With palm and pine, Floridian friends,
    Saying their twilight litanies;
    While homeward flies the heron
    To his island cypress in the swamp,
    Which Spanish mosses drape and the moon
    Silverly soothes to peace.


    II

    Behind me lie the Everglades,
    Where the bittern wails to the moon's face.
    Peace is gone as I wake
    And memory in me wails
    From the primal swamp, Heredity,
    Whence I have come with all the desires
    Of creeping, walking, flying things,
    To creep or walk or fly.

    With all the desires of the earth-creatures;
    Yet with a want transcendent,
    A want that comes with the glimmer of stars
    And pierces to my heart.
    A want of the life I have not known,
    Of the life unknowable,
    In the Everglades of the Universe
    Where the Great Spirit glides.



A FLORIDA BOATING SONG


    Down thro Florida keys,
      From island, to island!
    Down thro Florida keys,
    Where mangrove roots dip in the seas!
    A myriad tangled roots
      From each palmetto byland,
    Oyster-encrusted roots mid which
    The heron wades in the shallow shades!

    Down thro Florida keys,
      Around them, between them,
    Thro low green Florida keys,
    So low they scarce seem born of the seas!
    Where pouchy pelicans roost
      On cypresses that lean them
    Out over the idle lap of the tide
    That comes and goes with balmy flows!

    Down thro Florida keys,
      Thro mazes on mazes
    Of ripple-encircled keys,
    Where sun and wind play as they please!
    Where the eaglet, high in air,
      Or the wild white ibis, dazes
    Eyes that follow them up the blue,
    As the heart would do, the heart too!

    Down thro Florida keys
      I'm going, I'm going!
    Thro low green Florida keys
    And greener glades of Florida seas!
    And this is all I know,
      That all in the world worth knowing
    Is joy like that of the tarpon's leap
    In air divine with the warm sunshine!



DAWN-BLISS

(_Naples-on-the-Gulf_)


    I went out at dawn,
    Pelicans were fishing,
    Big-beaked, grey and brown;
    Little waves were swishing.
    Clouds creamed the sky,
    As shells creamed the shore;
    Wild aery hues of beauty
    Round seemed to pour!

    I went out at dawn,
    Pelicans were floating,
    Big beaks on their breasts;
    Up the sun came boating.
    "Ship ahoy!" I cried,
    To his golden sail.
    Bliss-winds of beauty in me
    Broke--to a gale!

    I went out at dawn,
    Pelicans were winging.
    Palms waved passion plumes,
    Beach sands were singing.
    Stripped, save of strength,
    I plunged into the sea
    And swam, till the bliss of beauty
    Died away in me.



ATAVISM


    I leant out over a ledging cliff and looked down into the sea,
    Where weed and kelp and dulse swayed, in green translucency;
    Where the abalone clung to the rock and the star-fish lay about,
    Purpling the sands that slid away under the silver trout.

    And the sea-urchin too was there, and the sea-anemone.
    It was a world of watery shapes and hues and wizardry.
    And I felt old stirrings wake in me, under the tides of time,
    Sea-hauntings I had brought with me out of the ancient slime.

    And now, as I muse, I cannot rid my senses of the spell
    That in a tidal trance all things around me drift and swell
    Under the sea of the Universe, down into which strange eyes
    Keep peering at me, as I peered, with wonder and surmise.



RE-RECKONING


    Two years have gone, and again I stand
      On the bow of a mighty ship
    That pushes her way 'twixt sea and stars
      With soft and dreamy dip.
    Two years of labouring, heart and hand,
      Of waging spirit-wars,
    Of wondering ever what life is--
      And if death heals its scars.

    Two years; and again the mast-bell sounds
      Above me--with a low voice,
    As ghostly as the white phosphor-foam
      That breaks with the old noise
    Of waters that have washed all bounds
      Of earth, that is man's home--
    His ark--on the wide ether flung,
      Unrestingly to roam.

    For, even as we, is this our earth
      An endless wanderer
    Far down a universe with vast
      Strange voyagings astir;
    And where time ever brings to birth
      A craving, never past,
    To fare from where we are, to where
      No anchor ever was cast.

    A craving--in the mote, the man,
      The mollusc and the star;
    A yearning on--O life! O life!
      How far leads it, how far?
    All unbelievably began
      Our voyage, mid a strange strife--
    That, meaningless, yet seems to mean
      It is with Wisdom rife.

    But if it is not, shall we say,
      "Let man scuttle his ship,
    And drown in universal death
      The griefs that at him grip?"
    No; for no surety rests therein
      To certain end of breath.
    He can but let hope set the course
      His soul foretokeneth.



TO THE AFTERNOON MOON, AT SEA


    Take care, O wisp of a moon,
    Vague on the sunny blue above the sea,
    Or the gull flying across you
    Will pierce your veil-thin shape with a sharp wing!

    Take care, or the wind will wilt you,
    As he does the clouds snowily drifting by you,
    And diffuse you over the sky, a silvery mist,
    To give more cool to the day!

    Take care, so near the horizon,
    Or a phantom skipper, one who has long been drowned,
    Will reach above it and seize you
    And make you his sail to circle the world forever!

    Take care, take care! for frailty
    Is the prey of the strong, and you, a wraith of it,
    Have yet a long while to go before nightfall
    Brings you to sure effulgence!



PATHS


    Crushing in my hand
    The bay as I pass,
    Drinking in its fragrance
    With the sea's scent,
    While gull-wings write
    Poems white and fast
    On the blue sky
    That is soft with content;
    Crushing in my hand
    The bay and the juniper,
    While I record
    Each line the gulls write,
    I go by sea paths
    Down to the sea's edge,
    I go by heart paths
    Deep into delight.

    Simple is my joy
    As the little sandpiper's,
    Who follows beside me
    With silvery song;
    Blither than the breeze,
    That skims great billows
    Nor knows how deep
    Is their flow--or strong.
    Simple is my joy,
    A sunny sense-sweetness,
    Full of bird-bliss,
    Bay-warmth, spray-leap.
    Mysteries there are
    And miseries beneath it,
    But sunk, like wrecks,
    Far down in the deep.



FROM A NORTHERN BEACH


    Is it because for a million years
      The tide has entered here
        From cold north seas
        Where ice-floes freeze
      That ever unto my ear
    Primordial loneness in its voice
      Comes telling of that time
    When life was not, upon the earth,
      But only glacier-rime?

    Is it because these granite rocks
      I share with weed and scurf
        Were held so long
        By the ice-throng
      That now they take the surf
    So selflessly and soullessly,
      As if God's Immanence
    Had been pressed from them, never more
      To enter, with sweet sense?

    And is it because I, too, evolved
      From ice and sea and shore,
        Can understand
        How life has spanned
    The lifeless ages o'er,
    That as I sit here, suddenly
      The tide again seems stilled
    And earth beneath a great white pall
      Again lies changed and chilled?

    So it must be--ah, so; for soft
      Within my muted brain
        The heritage
        Of age on age
      Reverberates again.
    Wherefore when glacial Silence comes
      With Death shall I emerge
    From that as from the frozen Past,
      Under Life's endless urge?



PASSAGE


    A dark sail,
    Like a wild-goose wing,
    Where the sunset was.
    The moon soon will silver its sinewy flight
    Thro the night watches,
    And the far flight
    Of those immortal migrants,
    The ever-returning stars.



ALEEN


    The long line of the foaming coast
    Is muffled by the fog's gray ghost.
    I cross the league of sea between
    And lift the latch and kiss Aleen.

    She throws a log upon the fire.
    I draw her to me, nigh and nigher.
    She does not know what a brief time
    Ago it was my arms held--crime.

    The surf is beating on the shore.
    We hear our own heart-beatings more.
    She speaks of _him_ and my reply
    Is silence: does she wonder why?

    "I do not love him: have no fear,"
    Her whisper is, against my ear.
    At last, "I have no fear," say I.
    She starts, as at a wild-beast's cry.

    And then she sees red on my coat.
    A still-born cry throbs in her throat.
    The fog sweeps by the window pane.
    Her sight is fixed on one dull stain.

    I rise and light my pipe and go,
    Leaving her standing, staring so.
    The wind means storm, I think, to-night:
    But more than that will make her white.

    And yet had it been yesterday
    She said those words, I still could pray.
    There would be still a God above--
    For two, now overwhelmed, to love!



TO A SOLITARY SEA-GULL


    Lone white gull with sickle wings,
    You reap for the heart inscrutable things:
    Sorrow of mists and surf of the shore,
    Winds that sigh of the nevermore;
    Fret of foam and flurry of rain,
    Swept far over the troubled tide;
    Maths of mystery and grey pain
    The sea's voice ever yields, beside.
    Lone white gull, you reap for the heart
    Life's most sad and inscrutable part.



INEFFABLE THINGS


    The little song-sparrow is gone
    And the summer is nearly ended,
    The rill of his song was a happy rift
    In the surging sound of the sea.
    The swallow is lingering on,
    And the silvery swift sandpiper,
    And I--tho I know my saddened heart
      Has lost an ineffable thing,
      That summer no more can bring.

    With the first bay-leaves that flung
    Their scent to me by the billows,
    I twined some faith, some trust,
    As glad as the sparrow's song.
    And the terns that darted among
    The tides seemed weaving for me
    Impalpable wings of peace and hope--
      That now have taken flight
      Beyond the day and the night.

    Ah, Life, you have known my plea
    For sun and the tide of fortune,
    For winds to waken my sail and bear
    Me joyously over the world.
    Know too how much of your fog
    And storm and rain I will suffer,
    If only you do not sweep from me
      The dear ineffable things,
      To which your fragrance clings.



THE SONG OF A SEA-FARER


    Many are on the sea to-day
      With all sails set.
    The tide rolls in a restive gray,
      The wind blows wet.
    The gull is weary of his wings,
    And I am weary of all things.

    Heavy upon me longing lies,
      My sad eyes gaze
    Across sad leagues that sink and rise
      And sink always.
    My life has sunk and risen so,
    I'd have it cease awhile to flow.



WAVES


    The evening sails come home
      With twilight in their wings.
    The harbour-light across the gloam
            Springs;
          The wind sings.

    The waves begin to tell
      The sea's night-sorrow o'er,
    Weaving within their ancient spell
            More
          Than earth's lore.

    The rising moon wafts strange
      Low lures across the tide,
    On which my dim thoughts seem to range,
            Stride
          Upon stride,

    Until, with flooding thrill,
      They seem at last to blend
    With waves that from the Eternal Will
            Wend,
          Without end.



IN A STORM

(_To a Petrel_)


    All day long in the spindrift swinging,
    Bird of the sea! bird of the sea!
    How I would that I had thy winging--
    How I envy thee!

    How I would that I had thy spirit,
    So to careen, joyous to cry,
    Over the storm and never fear it!
    Into the night that hovers near it!
    Calm on a reeling sky!

    All day long, and the night, unresting!
    Ah! I believe thy every breath
    Means that life's best comes ever breasting
    Peril and pain and death!



AFTER THEIR PARTING

(_A Woman Speaks_)


    You know that rock on a rocky coast,
      Where the moon came up, a ruined ghost,
    Distorted until her shape almost
      Seemed breaking?
    Came up like a phantom silently
    And dropped her shroud on the red night sea,
    Then walked, a spectral mystery,
      Unwaking?

    You know how, sudden, there came a change,
    When she had left the sea's low range,
    Its lurid crimson, stark and strange,
      Behind her?
    How, sudden, her silver self shone thro,
    Tranquilly free of the earth's stained hue,
    And found a way where the clouds were few
      To bind her?

    You know this? Then go back some day,
    When I have gone the moonless way,
    To that dark rock whereon we lay
      And waited;
    And when the moon has arisen free,
    Your soiling doubt shall fall from me,
    And eased of unrest your heart shall be,
      And sated.



A WORD'S MAGIC


    Do you remember Etajima,
    And how, upon a moon-fogged sea,
    As ghostly as ever a tide shall be,
    We passed an island silently?

    And how a low voice in the gloom
    Of the temple pine-trees leaning there
    Said _sayonara_ to one somewhere
    Unseen in the shadow-haunted air?

    Just _sayonara_: but it seemed
    The soul of all farewells that night,
    The sigh of all withdrawn delight,
    The sound of love's last rapture-rite.

    And now, after long years, it comes
    Again from isles of memory
    To bring once more to birth in me
    The breath of all lost witchery.

    Yes, one low word of parting, now
    Echoing, thro the fog of years,
    Has touched my heart with beauty's tears,
    And youth thro all things reappears.



SEA RHAPSODY

(_Out of Hong-kong_)


    Never again, never again
      Did I hope to breathe such joy!
    The sea is blue and the winds halloo
      Up to the sun "Ahoy!"
    "Ahoy!" they shout and the mists they rout
      From the mountain-tops go streaming
    In happy play where the gulls sway,
      And a million waves are gleaming!

    And every wave, billowing brave,
      Is tipped with a wild delight.
    A garden of isles around me smiles,
      Bathed in the blue noon light,
    The rude brown bunk of the fishing junk
      Seems fair as a sea-king's palace:
    O wine of the sky the gods have spilt
      Out of its crystal chalice!

    For wine is the wind, wine the sea,
      Wine for the sinking spirit,
    To lift it up from the cling of clay
      Into high Bliss--or near it!
    So let me drink till I cease to think,
      And know with a sting of rapture
    That joy is yet as wide as the world
      For men, at last, to capture!



IN AN ORIENTAL HARBOUR


    All the ships of the world come here,
      Rest a little, then set to sea;
    Some ride up to the waiting pier,
      Some drop anchor beyond the quay.
    Some have funnels of blue and black,
      (Some come once but come not back!)
    Some have funnels of red and yellow,
      Some--O war!--have funnels of gray.

    All the ships of the world come here,
      Ships from every billow's foam;
    Fruiter and oiler, pirateer,
      Liner and lugger and tramp a-roam.
    Some are scented of palm and pine,
      (Some are fain for the Pole's far clime).
    Some are scented of soy and senna,
      Some--ah me!--are scented of home.

    All the ships of the world come here,
      Day and night there is sound of bells,
    Seeking the port they calmly steer,
      Clearing the port they ring farewells.
    Under the sun or under the stars
      (Under the light of swaying spars),
    Under the moon or under morning
      Do they swing, as the tide swells.

    All the ships of the world come here,
      Rest a little and then are gone,
    Over the crystal planet-sphere
      Swept, thro every season, on.
    Swept to every cape and isle
      (Every coast of cloud or smile),
    Swept till over them sweeps the sorrow
      Of their last sea-dawn.



UNDER THE SKY


    Far out to sea go the fishing junks,
      With all sails set,
    The tide swings gray and the clouds sway,
      The wind blows wet;
    Blows wet from the long coast lying dim
      As if mist-born.
    Far out they sail, as the stars pale,
      The stars of morn.

    Far out to sea go the fishing junks,
      And I who pass
    Upon a deck that is vaster reck
      No more, alas,
    Of all their life, or they of mine,
      Than comes to this,--
    That under the sky we live and die,
      Like all that is.



A SONG FOR HEALING

(_On the South Seas_)


    When I return to the world again,
      The world of fret and fight,
    To grapple with godless things and men,
      In battle, wrong or right,
    I will remember this--the sea,
      And the white stars hanging high,
        And the vessel's bow
        Where calmly now
      I gaze to the boundless sky.

    When I am deaf with the din of strife,
      And blind amid despair,
    When I am choked with the dust of life
      And long for free soul-air,
    I will recall this sound--the sea's,
      And the wide horizon's hope,
        And the wind that blows
        And the phosphor snows
      That fall as the cleft waves ope.

    When I am beaten--when I fall
      On the bed of black defeat,
    When I have hungered, and in gall
      Have got but shame to eat,
    I will remember this--the sea,
      And its tide as soft as sleep,
        And the clear night sky
        That heals for aye
      All who will trust its Deep.



A SINGHALESE LOVE LAMENT


      As the cocoanut-palm
        That pines, my love,
      Away from the sound
        Of the planter's voice,
      Am I, for I hear
        No more resound
    Your song by the pearl-strewn sea!
        The sun may come
        And the moon wax round,
      And in its beam
        My mates may rejoice,
      But I feast not
        And my heart is dumb,
    As I long, O long, for thee!

      In the jungle-deeps,
        Where the cobra creeps,
      The leopard lies
        In wait for me,
      But O, my love,
        When the daylight dies
    There is more to my dread than he!
        Harsh lonely tears
        That assail my eyes
      Are worse to bear,--
        For the misery
      That makes them well
        Is the long, long years
    That I moan away from thee!

      O again, again,
        In my katamaran
      A-keel would I push
        To your palmy door!
      Again would I hear
        The heave and hush
    Of your song by the plantain-tree.
        But far away
        Do I toil and crush
      The hopes that arise
        At my sick heart's core.
      For never near
        Does it come, the day
    That draws me again to thee!



THE CITY


    Soft and fair by the Desert's edge,
      And on the dim blue edge of the sea,
    Where white gulls wing all day and fledge
    Their young on the high cliff's sandy ledge,
    There is a city I have beheld,
    Sometime or where, by day or dream,
    I know not which, for it seems enspelled
      As I am by its memory.

    Pale minarets of the Prophet pierce
      Above it into the white of the skies,
    And sails enchanted a thousand years
    Flit at its feet while fancy steers.
    No face of all its faces to me
    Is known--no passion of it or pain.
    It is but a city by the sea,
      Enshrined forever beyond my eyes!



FULL TIDE


    Sea-scents, wild-rose scents,
    Bay and barberry too,
    Drench the wind, the Maine wind,
    That gulls are dipping thro,
    With soft hints, sweet hints,
    With lull, lure and desire;
    With memory-wafts and mysteries,
    And all the ineffable histories
    Made when the sea and land meet,
    And the sun lends nuptial fire.

    Sea-foam, and dream-foam,
    And which is which, who knows,
    When all day long the heart goes out
    To every wave that blows,
    That blossoms on the bright tide,
    Then sheds a shimmering crest
    And yields its tossing place to one
    Whose blooming is as quickly done--
    For beauty is ever swift--begot
    Of rapture and unrest.

    Sea-deeps, and soul-deeps,
    And where shall faith be found
    If not within the heart's beat
    Or in the surging sound
    Of the sea, which is the earth's heart,
    Beating with tireless might;
    Beating--tho but a tragedy
    Life seems on every land and sea;
    Beating to bring all breath, somehow,
    Out of despair's blight.



THE HERDING


    Quietly, quietly in from the fields
    Of the grey Atlantic the billows come,
      Like sheep to the fold.
    Shorn by the rocks of fleecy foam,
    They sink on the brown seaweed at home;
    And a bell, like that of a bellwether,
      Is scarcely heard from the buoy--
    Save when they suddenly stumble together,
      In herded hurrying joy,
    Upon its guidance: then soft music
      From it is tolled.

    Far out in the murk that follows them in
    Is heard the call of the fog-horn's voice,
      Like a shepherd's--low.
    And the strays as if waiting it seem to pause
    And lift their heads and listen--because
    It is sweet from wandering ways to be driven,
      When we have fearless breasts,
    When all that we strayed for has been given,
      When no want molests
    Us more--no need of the tide's ebbing
      And tide's flow.



ON THE MAINE COAST


    The rocks, lean fingers of the land,
    Reach out into the sea
    And cool themselves, all day long,
    In the tide drippingly.
    They catch the seaweed in them
    And the starfish on their tips,
    And gulls that light
    And the swift flight
    Of swallows skimming grey and white--
    And spars of broken ships.

    The moon, God's perfect silver,
    With which He pays the world
    For toil and quest and day's unrest,
    Is washed on them and swirled.
    And avidly they seize it,
    Then let it slip away,
    Only again
    And yet again
    To grasp at it--as eager men
    At joy no hand can stay.



SEANCE


    Hovering wings of terns
    Over the rock-pools flutter,
    For the tide, ebbed far out,
    Seems to stumble and stutter;
    Seems like a spirit lost,
    Unable to come again
    Back to the wonted ways and days
    Of ever-wanting men.

    And the moon, a medium
    Trance-pale, is laying her light
    Over its surge--till, lo,
    It turns from the deep and night.
    And the spirit-word it brings
    Is the message of all time,
    That doubt is only the ebb of faith,
    Which ever reflows sublime!



A SIDMOUTH LAD


    Salcombe Hill and four hills more
    Lie to leftward of this shore.
    On the right Peak Hill arises
    Ever rises, sickening, o'er.

    Two score rotting years I've seen
    Sidmouth sit those hills between:
    Only Sidmouth--and twice over
    Must I bide it, as I've been.

    Then a churchyard hole for me,
    By the dull voice of the sea.
    Rotting, still in Sidmouth rotting,
    Rotting to eternity.



WIDOWED


    One wild gull on a wilder storm,
    Winging to keep her lone heart warm.
    One wild gull by the surf--and I,
    Beaten by wind and rain and sky.

    One wild gull in the offing lost,
    Wilder heart in my bosom tost.
    One wild gull--O why but one!
    Two, dear God, should there be--or none!



TO THE SEA


    Are you enraged, O sea, with the blue peace
    Of heaven, so to uplift your armied waves,
    Your billowy rebellion against its ease,
    And with Tartarean mutter from cold caves,
    From shuddering profundities where shapes
    Of awe glide thro entangled leagues of ooze,
    To hoot your watery omens evermore,
    And evermore your moanings interfuse
    With seething necromancy and mad lore?

    Or do you labour with the drifting bones
    Of countless dead, O mighty Alchemist,
    Within whose stormy crucible the stones
    Of sunk primordial shores, granite and schist,
    Are crumbled by your all-abrasive beat?
    With immemorial chanting to the moon,
    And cosmic incantation, do you crave
    Rest to be found not till your wilds are strewn
    Frigid and desert over earth's last grave?

    You seem drunk with immensity, mad, blind--
    With raving deaf, with wandering forlorn,
    Parent of Demogorgon whose dire mind
    Is night and earthquake, shapeless shame and scorn
    Of the o'ermounting birth of Harmony.
    Bound in your briny bed and gnawing earth
    With foamy writhing and fierce-panted tides,
    You are as Fate in torment of a dearth
    Of black disaster and destruction's strides.

    And how you shatter silence from the world,
    Incarnate Motion of all mystery!
    Whose waves are fury-wings, whose winds are hurled
    Whither your Ghost tempestuous can see
    A desolate apocalypse of death.
    Yea, how you shatter silence from the world,
    With emerald overflowing, waste on waste
    Of flashing susurration, dashed and swirled
    On isles and continents that shrink abased!

    And yet, O veering veil of the Unknown,
    Gathered from primal mist and firmament;
    O surging shape of Life's unfathomed moan,
    Whelming humanity with fears unmeant;
    Yet do I love you, far above all fear,
    And loving you unconquerably trust
    The runes that from your ageless surfing start
    Would read, were they revealed, gust upon gust,
    That Immortality is might of heart!



SEA-MAD

(_A Breton Maid_)


    Three waves of the sea came up on the wind to me!
    One said:
    "Away! he is dead!
    Upon my foam I have flung his head!
    Go back to your cote, you never shall wed!--
             (Nor he!)"

    Three waves of the sea came up on the wind to me.
    Two brake.
    The third with a quake
    Cried loud, "O maid, I'll find for thy sake
    His dead lost body: prepare his wake!"
    (And back it plunged to the sea!)

    Three waves of the sea came up on the wind to me.
    One bore--
    And swept on the shore--
    His pale, pale face I shall kiss no more!
    Ah, woe to women death passes o'er!
             (Woe's me!)



THE ATHEIST


    Over a scurf of rocks the tide
    Wanders inward far and wide,
    Lifting the sea-weed's sloven hair,
    Filling the pools and foaming there,
    Sighing, sighing everywhere.

    Merged are the marshes, merged the sands,
    Save the dunes with pine-tree hands
    Stretching upward toward the sky,
    Where the sun, their god, moves high:
    Would I too had a god--yea, I!

    For, the sea is to me but sea,
    And the sky but infinity.
    Tides and times are but some chance
    Born of a primal atom-dance.
    All is a mesh of Circumstance.

    In it there is no Heart--no Soul--
    No illimitable Goal--
    Only wild happenings, by wont
    Made into laws no might can shunt
    From the deep grooves in which they hunt.

    Wings of the gull I watch or claws
    Of the cold crab whose strangeness awes:
    Faces of men that feel the force
    Of a hid thing they call life's course:
    It is their hoping or remorse.

    Yet it may be that I have missed
    Something that only they who tryst,
    Not with the sequence of events
    But with their viewless Immanence,
    Find and acclaim with spirit-sense.



AT THE HELM

(_Nova Scotia_)


    Fog, and a wind that blows the sea
    Blindly into my eyes.
    And I know not if my soul shall be
    When the day dies.

    But if it be not and I lose
    All that men live to gain--
    I who have known but heaving hues
    Of wind and rain--

    Still I shall envy no man's lot,
    For I have held this great,
    Never in whines to have forgot
    That Fate is Fate.



IMPERTURBABLE


    Three times the fog rolled in today, a silent shroud,
    From which the breakers ran like ghosts, moaning and tumbling.
    Three times a startled sea-bird cried aloud,
      On the wind stumbling.

    But I cast my net with never a fear, tho wraiths in me
    And birds of wild unrest were stirring and starting and crying.
    For I knew that under the sway of every sea
      There is calm lying.



WASTE


    I flung a wild rose into the sea,
      I know not why.
    For swinging there on a rathe rose-tree,
    By the scented bay and barberry,
    Its petals gave all their sweet to me,
      As I passed by.

    And yet I flung it into the tide,
      And went my way.
    I climbed the gray rocks, far and wide,
    And many a cove of peace I tried,
    With none of them all to be satisfied,
      The whole long day.

    For I had wasted a beautiful thing,
      Which might have won
    Each passing heart to pause and sing,
    On the sea-path there, of its blossoming.
    And who wastes beauty shall feel want's sting,
      As I had done.



RESURGENCE


    I was content, O Sea, to be free for a space from striving,
    Content as the brown weed is, at rest on rocks in the sun,
    When the salt tide is out, and the surf no more is riving
    At its roots, or swirling and bidding it sway where the white waves run.

    I was content--with life, and love, and a little over;
    A little achieved of the much that is given to men to do.
    But now with your tidal strife do you come again, vain rover,
    And tell of vastitudes, to be sailed, or sounded, anew.

    Now again do you surge. And the fathomless tides of thinking,
    Of wanting, waiting, despairing--or daring--with you come;
    The inner tides of the soul, that had ebbed with slumberous shrinking,
    But now are bursting again, thro the caves of it long numb.

    So vainly I lie on the cliff with the blissful Blue above me
    And listless sated gulls afloat below on the swells,
    For I am soothless, sateless, because of desires that shove me
    Out and away with the winds, on quests no distance quells!



LIFE'S ANSWER


    A stroke of lightning stabbed the storm-black sea,
    As if it sought the heart of Life thereunder,
    And meant to put an end to it utterly;--
      Then came thunder--
      Wildly applauding thunder.

    Riven with fear the foam-crests ran before it,
    Hissed by the rain and beaten down to darkness.
    A gull rose out of the murk with wings that tore it--
    Life's answer to the storm's terrible starkness.



AS THE TIDE COMES IN


    The quivering terns dart wild and dive,
      As the tide comes tumbling in.
    The calm rock-pools grow all alive,
      With the tide tumbling in.
    The crab who under the brown weed creeps,
    And the snail who lies in his house and sleeps,
    Awake and stir, as the plunging sweeps
      Of the tide come tumbling in.

    Gray driftwood swishes along the sand,
      As the tide comes tumbling in.
    With wreck and wrack from many a land,
      On the tide, tumbling in.
    About the beach are a broken spar,
    A pale anemone's torn sea-star
    And scattered scum of the waves' old war,
      As the tide tumbles in.

    And, oh, there is a stir at the heart of me,
      As the tide comes tumbling in.
    All life once more is a part of me,
      As the tide tumbles in.
    New hopes awaken beneath despair
    And thoughts slip free of the sloth of care,
    While beauty and love are everywhere--
      As the tide comes tumbling in.



SENSE-SWEETNESS


    Flowers are dancing, waves playing, pines swaying, gulls are a-swarm;
    Sea and heather, sunning together, glad of the weather, with God are warm.

    Flowers are dancing, clouds winging, larks singing, summer abrew--
    Summer the old ecstatic passion of Life to fashion the world anew.



TIDALS


    Low along the sea, low along the sea,
    The gray gulls are flying, and one sail swings;
    The tide is foaming in; the soft wind sighing;
    The brown kelp is stretching, to the surf, harp-strings.

    Low along the sea, low along the sea,
    The gray gulls are flying, and one sail fades;
    The tide is foaming out; the soft wind dying;
    And white stars are peeping from the night's pale shades.



A SAILOR'S WIFE


    Into port when the sun was setting
      Rode the ship that bore my love,
    Over the breakers wildly fretting,
      Under the skies above.

    Down to the beach I ran to meet him;
      He would come as he had said:
    And he came--in a sailor's coffin,
      Dead!  .   .   .   .   .   .

    O the ships of the sea! the lovers
      Torn by them apart!...
    The tide has nothing now to tell me,
      The breakers break my heart!



TO SEA!


    Give me the tiller; up with the sail!
      Now let her swing to the breeze.
    Out to sea with a dripping rail,
      To sea, with a heart at ease!

    Out of the Harbour! out of the Bay!
      Out by the valiant Light,
    Out by rocks where the young gulls lay--
      And glad winds teach them flight!

    Out of the Harbour! out of the Bay!
      Out to the open sea!
    O there's not in the world a way
      To feel so wildly free!

    So, let her quiver! So, let her leap!
      So, let her dance the foam!
    All life else is a narrow keep,
      The sea alone is home!



GIVE OVER, O SEA!


    Give over, O sea! You never shall reach Nirvana!
    Your tides, like the tidal generations, ever shall rise and fall,
    And your infinite waves find birth, rebirth, and billowy dissolution.

    The years of your existence are unending.
    The years of your unresting are forever.
    The sun, who is desire, ever begets in you his passion,
    And the moon is ever drawing you, with silvery soft alluring,
    To surge and sway, to wander and fret, to waste yourself in foam.
    So Buddha-calm shall never descend upon you.

    And tho it may often seem you have found the Way,
    Your tempest-sins return and quicken to wild reincarnations,
    And again great life, pulsing and perilous,
    Omnipotent life, that ever resurges thro the universe,
    Lashes you back to striving, back to yearning, back to speech.
    To utterance on all shores of the world
    Of things unutterable.

    Give over then, you never shall reach Nirvana!
    Nor I, who am your acolyte for a moment;
    Who swing a censer of fragrant words before your priestly feet,
    That tread these altar-rocks, bedraped with weeds gently afloat,
    And with the wild flutter of gulls wildly mysterious.

    Give over and call your winds again to join you!
    O chanter of deep enchantments, of uncharted litanies,
    Call them and bid them say with you that life transcends retreat,
    And that, in the temple of its Immanence,
    There is no peace that does not spring daily from peacelessness,
    And no Nirvana save in the lee of storm.



THE NUN


    A lone palm leans in the moonlight,
      Over a convent wall.
    The sea below is waking and breaking
      With a calm heave and fall.
    A young nun sits at a window;
      For Heaven she is too fair;
    Yet even the dove of God might nest
      In her bosom beating there.

    A lone ship sails from the harbour:
      Whom does it bear away?
    Her lover who, sin-hearted, has parted
      And left her but to pray?
    She has no lover, nor ever
      Has heard afar love's sigh.
    Only the Convent's vesper vow
      Has ever dimmed her eye.

    For naught knows she of her beauty,
      More than the palm of its peace:
    And none shall cross her portal, to mortal
      Desires to bend her knees.
    The ways of the world have flowers,
      And any who will pluck those;
    But in His hand, against all harm,
      God still will keep some rose.



LAST SIGHT OF LAND


    The clouds in woe hang far and dim;
      I look again, and lo,
    Only a faint and shadow line
      Of shore--I watch it go.

    The gulls have left the ship and wheel
      Back to the cliff's gray wraith.
    Will it be so of all our thoughts
      When we set sail on Death?

    And what will the last sight be of life
      As lone we fare and fast?
    Grief and a face we love in mist--
      Then night and awe too vast?

    Or the dear light of Hope--like that,
      Oh, see, from the lost shore
    Kindling and calling "Onward, you
      Shall reach the Evermore!"


THE END


     On this and following pages are listed other books by Cale
     Young Rice. They are all published by The Century Co., 353
     Fourth Avenue, New York City.


SHADOWY THRESHOLDS

By CALE YOUNG RICE

"Cale Young Rice is far too great a pout to be acclaimed in some
partisan circles.... He is intensely American ... as authentic an artist
as Shelley or Keats.... He has the magic of Poe without that poet's
morbidity.... He is America's living master-poet."--_D. F. Hannigan (The
Rochester Post-Express)._

"This volume maintains Mr. Rice's usual high level and proves anew his
right to one of the high places among modern poets."--_Edward J. Wheeler
(Current Opinion)._

"Mr. Rice is modern in the broadest sense of that term. Many of his
poems are without rhyme and have irregular metres, but they never offend
thereby.... His place in contemporary first class company is
secure.--_The Springfield Republican._

"A volume possessing range and variety, together with a lyric quality
which distinguishes this poet, who ranks among the foremost American
writers."--_The Post-Intelligencer (Seattle)._

"Mr. Rice in his dramas is an enchanter, and to cast a spell is better
than to have uttered the most lovely lyrics--but he has done both."--_E.
A. Jonas (The Louisville Herald)._

"A new volume showing again the power and beauty of Mr. Rice's
genius."--_The Boston Globe._

"What a pleasure to take up a new book by Cale Young Rice. Here we have
variety, if ever.... If one can only own one of his books this is a good
volume to choose."--_The Galveston News._

"Cale Young Rice is a poet capable of sounding the deep imaginative
strain not only with melody, but with vigor and power of thought. This
volume will add another shining stone to his reputation."--_The San
Francisco Chronicle._

"Once more a book of the same high order as all Mr. Rice's work."--_The
Rochester Democrat-Chronicle._

"Shadowy Thresholds has as great a variety of poetic forms as any volume
of late years.... Mr. Rice illumines many phases of life, uniting in his
work the finish and romance of the older poetry with the directness that
constitutes the best merit of the new."--_The Louisville Evening Post._

_12mo. 179 pages. Price $1.50_


WRAITHS AND REALITIES

By CALE YOUNG RICE

"In the writing of lyrics Mr. Rice is unequalled by any modern poet....
One must go outside of contemporary life to find anything of similar
excellence."--_Gordon Ray Young (The Los Angeles Times)._

"A new book by Mr. Rice is always an event in American
letters...."--_The New York Tribune._

"Here, for all to read, is poetic genius spurred and wrought upon ... by
a rare and wondrous poetic inspiration.... It is like great chimes
sounding--jangled at times or overborne--but always great."--_The
Philadelphia North American._

"Mr. Rice in his narratives can tell such tales as the old ballad-makers
would have gloated over, and can make them contemporary and convincing.
He can create life tragedies or comedies in a few lines and leave the
reader with a sense of having been given a full meal of circumstance....
He is original without striving to be so, and one can never be
embarrassed by the affirmation that he has come to hold a high place
among poets of America."--_The Chicago Tribune._

"Cale Young Rice has been credited with some of the finest poetry, and
regarded as a distinguished master of lyric utterance, and this latest
volume is warrant for such approval."--_The Brooklyn Eagle._

"We find in Mr. Rice the large and elemental vision a poet must have to
serve his people when overwhelmed by elemental sorrows and passions. His
poetry is a spiritual force interpreting life in the various phases of
intellect and emotion, with a beauty of finish and sense of form that
are unerring."--_The Louisville Post._

"All that has been said of Cale Young Rice, and that is much indeed, is
justified in this latest volume."--_The San Francisco Chronicle._

"Cale Young Rice is a real poet of genuine and sincere inspiration,
never reminiscent or imitative or obvious, but singing from a full heart
his keen, meditative songs."--_The New York Times._

_12mo. 187 pages. Price $1.50_


COLLECTED PLAYS AND POEMS

By CALE YOUNG RICE

"The great quality of Cale Young Rice's work is that, amid all
distractions and changes in contemporary taste, it remains true to the
central drift of great poetry. His interests are very wide ... and his
books open up a most varied world of emotion and romance."--_Gilbert
Murray._

"The quality of Mr. Rice's work is high. It is seen at its best in his
poetic dramas, which maintain an astonishing elevation and intensity of
passion ... but his visionary and philosophical poems are nearly as
fine. He has a thorough mastery of form, yet notwithstanding the ease of
his verse it is never slipshod or mechanical."--_The Spectator
(London)._

"With variations of phrase Cale Young Rice has been described by critics
here and in America as "the most distinguished master of lyric utterance
in the New World." ... He has dramatic genius ... and is a born maker of
songs.... His later volumes confirm the judgment of those who have named
him the first and most distinctive of modern American lyrists, and one
of the world's true poets."--_F. Heath (The London Bookman)._

"Mr. Rice is an American poet whose reputation is deserved.... He has
achieved a high position as poet and dramatist, a great fertility and
variety of outlook being marked features of his work."--_The London
Times._

"Foremost among writers who have brought America into prominence in the
realm of modern thought is Mr. Cale Young Rice.... 'Collected Plays and
Poems' is one of the best offerings of verse we have had for long.
Indeed, it has real brilliance.... Mr. Rice's plays are
masterful."--_The Book Monthly (London)._

"Cale Young Rice is highly esteemed by readers wherever English is the
native speech."--_The Manchester Guardian._

"In Mr. Rice we have a voice such as America has rarely known
before."--_The Rochester (N. Y.) Post-Express._

"Mr. Rice of today is the poet who sang to us yesterday of the big,
vital things of life.... With real genius he brings to the soul a sense
of things many of us have but dimly sensed in all our years."--_The
Philadelphia Record._

"These volumes are an anthology wrought by a master hand and endowed
with perennial vitality.... This writer is the most distinguished master
of lyric utterance in the new world ... and he has contributed much to
the scanty stock of American literary fame. Fashions in poetry come and
go, and minor lights twinkle fitfully as they pass in tumultuous review.
But these volumes are of the things that are eternal in poetic
expression.... They embody the hopes and impulses of universal
humanity."--_The Philadelphia North-American._

"Mr. Rice has been hailed by too many critics as the poet of his
country, if not of his generation, not to create a demand for a full
edition of his works."--_The Hartford (Conn.) Courant._

"This gathering of his forces stamps Mr. Rice as one of the world's true
poets, remarkable alike for strength, versatility and beauty of
expression."--_The Chicago Herald (Ethel M. Colton)._

"It is with no undue repetition that we speak of the very great range
and very great variety of Mr. Rice's subject, inspiration, and mode of
expression.... The passage of his spirit is truly from deep to
deep."--_Margaret S. Anderson (The Louisville Evening Post)._

"It is good to find such sincere and beautiful work as is in these two
volumes.... Here is a writer with no wish to purchase fame at the price
of eccentricity of either form or subject."--_The Independent._

"Mr. Rice's style is that of the masters.... Yet it is one that
is distinctively American.... He will live with our great
poets."--_Louisville Herald (J. J. Cole)._

"Mr. Rice is an American by birth, but he is not merely an American
poet. Over existence and the whole world his vision extends. He is a
poet of human life and his range is uncircumscribed."--_The Baltimore
Evening News._

"Viewing Mr. Rice's plays as a whole, I should say that his prime virtue
is fecundity or affluence, the power to conceive and combine events
resourcefully, and an abundance of pointed phrases which recalls and
half restores the great Elisabethans. His aptitude for structure is
great."--_The Nation (O. W. Firkins)._

"Mr. Rice has fairly won his singing robes and has a right to be ranked
with the first of living poets. One must read the volumes to get an idea
of their cosmopolitan breadth and fresh abiding charm.... The dramas,
taken as a whole, represent the most important work of the kind that has
been done by any living writer.... This work belongs to that great world
where the mightiest spiritual and intellectual forces are forever
contending; to that deeper life which calls for the rarest gifts of
poetic expression."--_The Book News Monthly (Albert S. Henry)._

_12mo. 2 vols. Price $4.00_


     The following volumes are now included in the author's
     "Collected Plays and Poems," and are not obtainable
     elsewhere:


At the World's Heart

"This book justifies the more than transatlantic reputation of its
author."--_The Sheffield (England) Daily Telegraph._


Porzia: A Play

"It matters little that we hesitate between ranking Mr. Rice highest as
dramatist or lyrist; what matters is that he has the faculty divine
beyond any living poet of America; his inspiration is true, and his
poetry is the real thing."--_The London Bookman._


Far Quests

"It shows a wide range of thought and sympathy, and real skill in
workmanship, while occasionally it rises to heights of simplicity and
truth, that suggest such inspiration as should mean lasting fame."--_The
Daily Telegraph (London)._


The Immortal Lure: Four Plays

"It is great art--with great vitality."--_James Lane Allen._

"Different from Paola and Francesca, but excelling it--or any of Stephen
Phillips's work--in a vivid presentment of a supreme moment in the lives
of the characters."--_The New York Times._


Many Gods

"These poems are flashingly, glowingly full of the East.... What I am
sure of in Mr. Rice is that here we have an American poet whom we may
claim as ours."--_William Dean Howells, in The North American Review._


Nirvana Days

"Mr. Rice has the technical cunning that makes up almost the entire
equipment of many poets nowadays, but human nature is more to him always
... and he has the feeling and imaginative sympathy without which all
poetry is but an empty and vain thing."--_The London Bookman._


A Night in Avignon: A Play

"It is as vivid as a page from Browning. Mr. Rice has the dramatic
pulse."--_James Huneker._


Yolanda of Cyprus: A Play

"It has real life and drama, not merely beautiful words, and so differs
from the great mass of poetic plays."--_Prof. Gilbert Murray._


David: A Play

"It is safe to say that were Mr. Rice an Englishman or a Frenchman, his
reputation as his country's most distinguished poetic dramatist would
have been assured by a more universal sign of recognition."--_The
Baltimore News._


Charles Di Tocca: A Play

"It is the most powerful, vital, and truly tragical drama written by an
American for some years. There is genuine pathos, mighty yet never
repellent passion, great sincerity and penetration, and great elevation
and beauty of language."--_The Chicago Post._


Song-Surf

"Mr. Rice's work betrays wide sympathies with nature and life, and a
welcome originality of sentiment and metrical harmony."--_Sydney Lee._


TRAILS SUNWARD

By CALE YOUNG RICE

"Cale Young Rice has written some of the finest poetry of the last
decade, and is the author of the very best poetic dramas ever written by
an American.... He is one of the few supreme lyrists ... and one of the
few remaining lovers of beauty ... who write it. One of the very few
writers of _vers libre_ who know just what they are doing."--_The Los
Angles Times._

"Another book by Cale Young Rice ... one of the few poetic geniuses this
country has produced.... In its sixty or more poems may be found the
hall mark of individuality that denotes preeminence and signalizes
independence."--_The Philadelphia North American._

"Mr. Rice attempts and succeeds in deepening the note of his singing ...
keeping its brilliant technique, its intricate verse formation, but
seeking all the while for words to interpret the profound things of
life. The music of his lines is more perfect than ever, his rhythms
fresh and varied."--_Littell's Living Age._

"Cale Young Rice's work is always simple and sincere ... but that does
not prevent him from voicing his song with passion and virility. Nearly
all his poems have elevation of thought and feeling, with beauty of
imagery and music."--_The New York Times._

"Whether the forms of this book are lyrical, narrative, or dramatic,
there is an excellence of workmanship that denotes the master hand....
And while the range of ideas is broad, the treatment of each is
distinguished by a strength and beauty remarkably fine."--_The Continent
(Chicago)._

"Mr. Rice proves the fine argument of his preface ... for this book has
in it form and beauty and a full reflection of the externals as well as
the soul of the America he loves."--_The Philadelphia Public Ledger._

"The work of this poet always demands and receives unstinted
admiration.... His is not the poetic fashion of the moment, but of all
poetic time."--_The Chicago Herald._

"In 'Trails Sunward,' Mr. Rice demonstrates as heretofore the
possibility of attaining poetic growth and originality even in the
Twentieth Century, without extremism.... Sanity linked with vitality and
breadth in art make for permanence, and one can but feel that Mr. Rice
builds for more than a day."--_The Louisville Courier Journal._

"I rarely use the term 'sublimity,' yet in touches of 'The Foreseers,'
particularly in its cavern-set opening, I should say that Mr. Rice had
scaled that eminence."--_O. W. Firkins (The Nation)._

_12mo. 150 pages. Price $1.50_


EARTH AND NEW EARTH

By CALE YOUNG RICE

"America has today no poet who answers so well the multiplex tests of
poetry as does Cale Young Rice."--_New York Sun._

"Glancing through the reviews quoted at the end of 'Earth and New Earth'
we note that we have said some very enthusiastic things in praise of the
poetry of Cale Young Rice, and yet there is not an adjective we would
withdraw. On the contrary each new volume only confirms the expectation
of the better work this writer was to produce."--_The San Francisco
Chronicle._

"This is a volume of verse rich in dramatic quality and beauty of
conception.... Every poem is quotable and the collection must appeal to
all who can appreciate the highest forms of modern verse."--_The
Bookseller (New York)._

"Any one familiar with 'Cloister Lays,' 'The Mystic,' etc., does not
need to be told that they rank with the very best poetry. And Mr. Rice's
dramas are not equaled by any other American author's.... And when those
who are loyal to poetic traditions cherished through the whole history
of our language contemplate the anemia and artificiality of
contemporaries, they can but assert that Mr. Rice has the grasp and
sweep, the rhythm, imagery and pulsating sympathy, which in wondering
admiration are ascribed to genius."--_The Los Angeles Times._

"This latest collection shows no diminution in Mr. Rice's versatility or
power of expression. Its poems are serious, keen, distinctively free and
vitally spiritual in thought."--_The Continent (Chicago)._

"Mr. Rice is concerned with thoughts that are more than timely; they
represent a large vision of the world events now transpiring ... and his
affirmation of the spiritual in such an hour establishes him in the
immemorial office of the poet-prophet.... The volume is a worthy
addition to the large amount of his work."--_Anna L. Hopper in The
Louisville Courier-Journal._

"Cale Young Rice is the greatest living American poet."--_D. F.
Hannigan, Lit. Ed. The Rochester Post-Express._

"The indefinable spirit of swift imaginative suggestion is never
lacking. The problems of fate are still big with mystery and propounded
with tense elemental dramatism."--_The Philadelphia North-American._

"The work of Cale Young Rice emerges clearly as the most distinguished
offering of this country to the combined arts of poetry and the drama.
'Earth and New Earth' strikes a ringing new note of the earth which
shall be after the War."--_The Memphis Commercial-Appeal._

_12mo. 158 pages. $1.50_


TURN ABOUT TALES

(PROSE)

By CALE YOUNG RICE and ALICE HEGAN RICE

"This volume of stories should hold its own with any collection likely
to be published this year."--_New York Post (The Literary Review)._

"American writers have been distinctive as narrators of the short story,
but few, if any, volumes of such stories have recently been published in
this country equal to 'Turn About Tales.'"--_D. F. Hannigan (The
Rochester Post-Express)._

"The gamut of the volume runs from spiritualism to the depths. It
contains something of almost anything one happens to want. Better yet,
it contains something new."--_The Boston Transcript._

"Mr. Rice has written well--so well as to justify prediction that he
will, if he elect to do so, achieve greater distinction as a short story
writer than as a poet. His 'Lowry,' 'Francella' and 'Aaron Harwood,' to
cite a few of the stories, meet the test of artistic stories.... Each
leaves an impression that will impel re-reading."--_Galveston News._

"Both writers portray, in their best vein, a consummate though
distinctive skill in analyzing and delineating human emotions and
experience."--_Buffalo Commercial._

"Those who have read Mr. Rice's poetry will find his dramatic genius
manifest in these stories."--_The Watchman, N. Y._

"Mrs. Rice's humor and pathos combine well with Mr. Rice's mastery of
diction and deep human understanding."--_Milwaukee Journal._

"Each story is notable for beauty of technique ... each has its definite
appeal."--_Louisville Evening Post (Margaret S. Anderson)._

"Each of the stories is of such finished workmanship as to make reading
of it an unadulterated pleasure."--_Baltimore Sun._

"The book is one of the best of the kind in this year's American
fiction."--_The Spectator (Portland, Ore.)_

"Mr. Rice has grappled with the constructive problems of his time, so
one finds them without surprise in this newly adopted vehicle.... Three
of his stories have a realism as relentless as Chekov's ... and it goes
without saying that his stories are technically admirable."--_Louisville
Courier-Journal._

"Mr. Rice so lives through his characters that, as Whitman says, he 'Is
that man' of whom he writes."--_Pittsburg Sun._

"The same dramatic power and beauty that mark Mr. Rice's lyrics will be
found in these prose stories."--_Cincinnati Times-Star._

"One seldom finds a book of short stories so satisfying
throughout."--_Minneapolis Journal._

_Price $1.90_





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translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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