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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Poems. I. A Sea Gleam

William Alexander (1824–1911)

’TWAS a sullen summer day;

Skies were neither dark nor clear,

Heaven in the distance sheer

Over sharp cliff’s sloped away—

Ocean did not yet appear.

Not as yet a white sail shimmer’d,

Not with full expanse divine

Did the great Atlantic shine;

Only very far there glimmer’d

Dimly one long tremulous line.

In the hedge were roses snow’d

Or blush’d o’er by summer morn,

Right and left grew fields of corn,

Stretching greenly from the road—

From the hay a breath was borne.

Not of small sweet wild rose twine,

Not of young corn waving free,

Not of clover fields thought we;

Only to that dim bright line

Looking, cried we, “’Tis the Sea.”

In life’s sullen summer day

Lo! before us dull hills rise,

And above, unlovely skies

Slope off with their bluish grey

Into some far mysteries.

Love’s sweet roses, hope’s young corn,

Green fields whisper’d round and round

By the breezes landward bound

(Yet, ah! scalded too and torn

By the sea winds), there are found.

And at times in life’s dull day,

From the flower, and the sod,

And the hill our feet have trod

To a brightness far away,

Turn we saying, “This is God.”