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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

New England: Marblehead, Mass.

By the Sea-shore

By John White Chadwick (1840–1904)


Of cool, gray sand

Lies like a sickle by the sea;

The tide is low,

But soft and slow

Is creeping higher up the lea.

The beach-birds fleet,

With twinkling feet,

Hurry and scurry to and fro,

And sip, and chat

Of this and that

Which you and I may never know.

The runlets gay,

That haste away

To meet each snowy-bosomed crest,

Enrich the shore

With fleeting store

Of art-defying arabesque.

Each higher wave

Doth touch and lave

A million pebbles smooth and bright;

Straightway they grow

A beauteous show,

With hues unknown before bedight.

High up the beach,

Far out of reach

Of common tides that ebb and flow,

The drift-wood’s heap

Doth record keep

Of storms that perished long ago.

Nor storms alone:

I hear the moan

Of voices choked by dashing brine,

When sunken rock

Or tempest shock

Crushed the good vessel’s oaken spine.

Where ends the beach,

The cliffs upreach

Their lichen-wrinkled foreheads old;

And here I rest,

While all the west

Grows brighter with the sunset’s gold.

Far out at sea,

The ships that flee

Along the dim horizon’s line

Their sails unfold

Like cloth of gold,

Transfigured by that light divine.

A calm more deep,

As ’t were asleep,

Upon the weary ocean falls;

So low it sighs,

Its murmur dies,

While shrill the boding cricket calls.

O peace and rest!

Upon the breast

Of God himself I seem to lean,

No break, no bar

Of sun or star:

Just God and I, with naught between.

Oh, when some day

In vain I pray

For days like this to come again,

I shall rejoice

With heart and voice

That one such day has ever been.