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


I. Juvenile Poems. The Sea-Diver

MY way is on the bright blue sea,

My sleep upon its rocking tide;

And many an eye has followed me

Where billows clasp the worn seaside.

My plumage bears the crimson blush,

When ocean by the sun is kissed!

When fades the evening’s purple flush,

My dark wing cleaves the silver mist.

Full many a fathom down beneath

The bright arch of the splendid deep

My ear has heard the sea-shell breathe

O’er living myriads in their sleep.

They rested by the coral throne,

And by the pearly diadem;

Where the pale sea-grape had o’ergrown

The glorious dwellings made for them.

At night upon my storm-drench’d wing,

I poised above a helmless bark,

And soon I saw the shattered thing

Had passed away and left no mark.

And when the wind and storm were done,

A ship, that had rode out the gale,

Sunk down, without a signal-gun,

And none was left to tell the tale.

I saw the pomp of day depart—

The cloud resign its golden crown,

When to the ocean’s beating heart

The sailor’s wasted corse went down.

Peace be to those whose graves are made

Beneath the bright and silver sea!

Peace—that their relics there were laid

With no vain pride and pageantry.