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See, the prismatic colors glistening and rolling,)
Buoy'd hither from many moods, one contradicting another,
Musing, pondering, a breath, a briny tear, a dab of liquid or soil,
Just as much for us that sobbing dirge of Nature,
Just as much whence we come that blare of the cloud-trumpets, We, capricious, brought hither we know not whence, spread out before you,
You up there walking or sitting,
Whoever you are, we too lie in drifts at your feet.
TEARS! tears! tears!
In the night, in solitude, tears,
On the white shore dripping, dripping, suck'd in by the sand,
Moist tears from the eyes of a muffled head;
O who is that ghost? that form in the dark, with tears?
What shapeless lump is that, bent, crouch'd there on the sand?
O wild and dismal night storm, with wind
-O belching and des
O shade so sedate and decorous by day, with calm countenance and regulated pace,
But away at night as you fly, none looking - O then the unloosen'd
Of tears! tears! tears!
TO THE MAN-OF-WAR-BIRD.
THOU who hast slept all night upon the storm,
Far, far at sea,
After the night's fierce drifts have strewn the shore with wrecks,
Thou born to match the gale, (thou art all wings,)
To cope with heaven and earth and sea and hurricane,
Thou ship of air that never furl'st thy sails,
Days, even weeks untired and onward, through spaces, realms
At dusk that look'st on Senegal, at morn America,
That sport'st amid the lightning-flash and thunder-cloud,
ABOARD AT A SHIP'S HELM.
ABOARD at a ship's helm,
A young steersman steering with care.
Through fog on a sea-coast dolefully ringing,
O you give good notice indeed, you bell by the sea-reefs ringing, Ringing, ringing, to warn the ship from its wreck-place.
For as on the alert O steersman, you mind the loud admonition, The bows turn, the freighted ship tacking speeds away under her
The beautiful and noble ship with all her precious wealth speeds away gayly and safe.
But O the ship, the immortal ship! O ship aboard the ship!
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
From the beach the child holding the hand of her father,
Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears,
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky, they devour the stars only in apparition,
Jupiter shall emerge, be patient, watch again another night, the Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal, all those stars both silvery and golden shall shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again, they
The vast immortal suns and the long-enduring pensive moons shall again shine.
Then dearest child mournest thou only for Jupiter?
Something there is,
(With my lips soothing thee, adding I whisper,
I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,)
THE WORLD BELOW THE BRINE.
THE world below the brine,
Forests at the bottom of the sea, the branches and leaves, Sea-lettuce, vast lichens, strange flowers and seeds, the thick tangle, openings, and pink turf,
Different colors, pale gray and green, purple, white, and gold, the play of light through the water,
Dumb swimmers there among the rocks, coral, gluten, grass, rushes, and the aliment of the swimmers,
Sluggish existences grazing there suspended, or slowly crawling close to the bottom,
The sperm-whale at the surface blowing air and spray, or disporting with his flukes,
The leaden-eyed shark, the walrus, the turtle, the hairy sea-leopard, and the sting-ray,
Passions there, wars, pursuits, tribes, sight in those ocean-depths, breathing that thick-breathing air, as so many do, The change thence to the sight here, and to the subtle air breathed by beings like us who walk this sphere,
The change onward from ours to that of beings who walk other
ON THE BEACH AT NIGHT ALONE.
On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song, As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.
A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets, All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann'd,
SONG FOR ALL SEAS, ALL SHIPS.
TO-DAY a rude brief recitative,
Of ships sailing the seas, each with its special flag or ship-signal,
Of unnamed heroes in the ships of waves spreading and spreading far as the eye can reach,
Of dashing spray, and the winds piping and blowing,
Of sea-captains young or old, and the mates, and of all intrepid sailors,
Of the few, very choice, taciturn, whom fate can never surprise nor death dismay,
Pick'd sparingly without noise by thee old ocean, chosen by thee, Thou sea that pickest and cullest the race in time, and unitest nations,
Suckled by thee, old husky nurse, embodying thee,
(Ever the heroes on water or on land, by ones or twos appearing, Ever the stock preserv'd and never lost, though rare, enough for seed preserv'd.)
Flaunt out O sea your separate flags of nations!
Flaunt out visible as ever the various ship-signals!
But do you reserve especially for yourself and for the soul of man one flag above all the rest,
A spiritual woven signal for all nations, emblem of man elate above
Token of all brave captains and all intrepid sailors and mates,
WILD, wild the storm, and the sea high running,
Steady the roar of the gale, with incessant undertone muttering,