ACROSS THE SEA. I.—CHILDHOOD.
Ah! who can speak that country whence I fled?None but a lover may its beauty know,None but a poet can its rapture sing;And e'en his muse, upborne on Fancy's wing,Will grieve o'er beauties still unnoticed,O'er raptures language is too poor to show.
Fore'er remains the land where children dwell,Earth's fairest mem'ry and its Palestine;Tho' years have passed since on my forehead thereWere graven lines of weariness and care,Still on the silver string of memory oft I tellThe golden beads of joy that once were mine.
Dear distant Land of Childhood! God doth knowThat I have longed to dwell in thee again,As when by care unvexed, by doubt undriven,With eyes as blue, and heart as pure, as Heaven.Sweet are the days of childhood, glad the flowOf unhurt joyous life in every vein.
It may not be, those sunny hours are flown,And loud "The Fortune" knocks at every gate;Still move we on the path where none returns,Where wait afar, or near, our funeral urns,That mystic path, whose ways are all unknown,For only life's surprises make us great.
Yet still I dream, as o'er the swelling deep,I gaze upon the far enchanted shore,Through whose retreats the memory-brooding seaRolls in deep monotone continually.Waves of soft melody, which fall asleepIn rosy glens that I may see no more.
O holy music of the flowing sea,Heard never but at eve, when shifts and gleamsOn waves afar the light of joy still ours,Because remembered still, thy voice o'erpowersMy soul with pensiveness, sweet reverieAnd memory of half-forgotten dreams.
Twas early, Sea of Life, I loved thee well,And mused betimes upon thy strand, till rolledAshore from Daylight's wreck her gilded spars,And Night, in thee, a chandelier of starsHad hung, to light the grots where mermen dwell,The deep-sea grots of amethyst and gold.
Beyond thee, when thou wert of gentle mood,And held with all the weary winds a truce,Upon the other shore I could descryWhere, faintly outlined in the western sky,A mystic rainbow-girdled Headland stood,Whose silver sandals thou dost rise to loose.
Far on the verge, where sky and waters meet,The Headland's hazy outline I could trace;High in the blue of Heaven its summit lay;There sleeps the twilight, till the crystal Day,Waked by the song of birds from slumber sweet,Beams on the Headland fair with lovelit face.
For I have ne'er believed the Headland's browIs bathed forever in the noon-day glare;Dearer to me the quiet hour of eve,And when at last this passion world I leave,May I, sometimes, behold the stars, as now,—In the sweet gloaming—tho' "no night is there."
One early morn, ere earth had waked from sleep,From the calm shadow of my tent I stole;I could not rest, and as I sought the shore,To tell my longings to the ocean o'er,A warning Voice, uprising from the deep,Murmured in plaintive rhythm to my soul.THE VOICE.
Why wouldst thou go? the way is long and drear;Thou mayst be happy where thou art, but sternThe fortune is that rules the watery waste....