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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Coral Grove

By James Gates Percival (1795–1856)

[Born in Berlin, Conn., 1795. Died at Hazel Green, Wis., 1856. From Poetical Works. Collection of 1859.]

DEEP in the wave is a coral grove,

Where the purple mullet and gold-fish rove,

Where the sea-flower spreads its leaves of blue,

That never are wet with falling dew,

But in bright and changeful beauty shine,

Far down in the green and glassy brine.

The floor is of sand like the mountain drift,

And the pearl-shells spangle the flinty snow;

From coral rocks the sea-plants lift

Their boughs, where the tides and billows flow;

The water is calm and still below,

For the winds and waves are absent there,

And the sands are bright as the stars that glow

In the motionless fields of upper air:

There with its waving blade of green,

The sea-flag streams through the silent water,

And the crimson leaf of the dulse is seen

To blush, like a banner bathed in slaughter:

There with a light and easy motion,

The fan-coral sweeps through the clear, deep sea;

And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean

Are bending like corn on the upland lea:

And life, in rare and beautiful forms,

Is sporting amid those bowers of stone,

And is safe, when the wrathful spirit of storms,

Has made the top of the wave his own:

And when the ship from his fury flies,

Where the myriad voices of ocean roar,

When the wind-god frowns in the murky skies,

And demons are waiting the wreck on shore;

Then far below, in the peaceful sea,

The purple mullet and gold-fish rove,

Where the waters murmur tranquilly,

Through the bending twigs of the coral grove.