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

New England: Seaconnet Point, R. I.

Nightfall on the Seaconnet Shore

By Sarah Helen Whitman (1803–1878)

To R. D. S.

WE sat together, you and I,

And watched the daylight’s dying bloom,

And saw the great white ships go by,

Like phantoms through the gathering gloom.

Like phantom lights the lonely stars

Looked through the sea-fog’s ghastly veil,

Beyond the headland’s rocky bars

We heard the stormy surges wail.

We sat together, hand in hand,

Upon the lonely, sea-girt wall,

And watched, along the glimmering strand,

The wild, white breakers plunge and fall.

You spoke of pleasures past away,

Of hopes that left the heart forlorn,

Of life’s unrest and love’s decay,

And lonely sorrows proudly borne.

The sea’s phantasmal sceneries

Commingled with your mournful theme;

The splendors of your starry eyes

Were drowned in memory’s deepening dream.

Darker and lonelier grew the night

Along the horizon’s dreary verge,

And lonelier through the lessening light

Sang the wild sea-wind’s wailing dirge.

When, kindling through the gathering gloom,

Beyond West-Island’s beetling brow,

Where breakers dash, and surges boom,

We saw Point Judith’s fires aglow.

Piercing night’s solemn mystery,

The lighthouse reared its lonely form,

Serene above the weltering sea

And guardant through the gathering storm.

So, o’er the sea of life’s unrest,

Through grief’s wild storm, and sorrow’s gloom,

Faith’s heavenly pharos in the breast

Lights up the dark with deathless bloom.

The sea-born sadness of the hour

Melted beneath its holy spell;

Faith blossomed into perfect flower,

And our hearts whispered, “All is well.”