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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.

The Seaside and the Fireside

By the Seaside. Seaweed

WHEN descends on the Atlantic

The gigantic

Storm-wind of the equinox,

Landward in his wrath he scourges

The toiling surges,

Laden with seaweed from the rocks:

From Bermuda’s reefs; from edges

Of sunken ledges,

In some far-off, bright Azore;

From Bahama, and the dashing,


Surges of San Salvador;

From the tumbling surf, that buries

The Orkneyan skerries,

Answering the hoarse Hebrides;

And from wrecks of ships, and drifting

Spars, uplifting

On the desolate, rainy seas;—

Ever drifting, drifting, drifting

On the shifting

Currents of the restless main;

Till in sheltered coves, and reaches

Of sandy beaches,

All have found repose again.

So when storms of wild emotion

Strike the ocean

Of the poet’s soul, erelong

From each cave and rocky fastness,

In its vastness,

Floats some fragment of a song:

From the far-off isles enchanted,

Heaven has planted

With the golden fruit of Truth;

From the flashing surf, whose vision

Gleams Elysian

In the tropic clime of Youth;

From the strong Will, and the Endeavor

That forever

Wrestle with the tides of Fate;

From the wreck of Hopes far-scattered,


Floating waste and desolate;—

Ever drifting, drifting, drifting

On the shifting

Currents of the restless heart;

Till at length in books recorded,

They, like hoarded

Household words, no more depart.