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Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean-roll !
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain ;
Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
Stops with the shore ; upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknell’d, uncoffin'd, and unkpown.
His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction, thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shiv'ring, in thy playful spray,
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth : there let him lay.
The armaments which thunder-strike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals ;
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada’s pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee-
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters wasted them while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage ; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts :—not so thou,
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play-
Time writes no wrinkle on thy azure brow-
Such as creation’s dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
No forest fell,
Imperial mistress of the fur-clad Russ,
When thou wouldst build, no quarry sent its stores
T'enrich thy walls : but thou didst hew the floods,
And make thy marble of the glassy wave.
Silently as a dream the fabric rose ;
No sound of hammer or of saw was there :
Ice upon ice, the well-adjusted parts
Were soon conjoin'd; nor other cement ask'd
Than water interfused to make them one.
Lamps gracefully disposed, and of all hues,
Illumined every side : a wat’ry light
Gleam'd through the clear transparency, that seem'd
Another moon new-risen, or meteor fall’n
From heaven to earth, of harmless flame serene.
So stood the brittle prodigy ; though smooth
And slipp’ry the materials, yet frost-bound
Firm as a rock. Nor wanted aught within
That royal residence might well befit
For grandeur or for use. Long wavy wreaths
Of flowers, that fear'd no enemy but warmth,
Blush'd on the pannels. Mirror needed none
Where all was glassy ; but in order due
Convivial table and commodious seat
(What seem'd at least commodious seat) were there,
Sofa, and couch, and high-built throne august.
The same lubricity was found in all,
And all was moist to the warm touch ; a scene
Of evanescent glory, once a stream,
And soon to slide into a stream again.
ON FINDING ONE IN BLOOM ON CHRISTMAS-DAY.
THERE is a flower, a little flower,
With silver crest and golden eye, That welcomes every changing hour,
And weathers every sky.
The prouder beauties of the field,
In gay but quick succession shine ; Race after race their honours yield,
They flourish and decline.
But this small flower, to Nature dear,
While moons and stars their courses run, Wreathes the whole circle of the year,
Companion of the sun.
It smiles upon the lap of May,
To sultry August spreads its charms, Lights pale October on its way,
And twines December's arms.
The purple heath, and golden broom,
On moory mountains catch the gale; O'er lawns the lily sheds perfume,
The violet in the vale :
But this bold floweret climbs the hill,
Hides in the forest, haunts the glen, Plays on the margin of the rill,
Peeps round the fox's den.
Within the garden's cultured round
It shares the sweet carnation's bed ; And blooms in consecrated ground
In honour of the dead.
The lambkin crops its crimson gem;
The wild-bee murmurs on its breast; The blue-fly bends its pensile stem,
Light o'er the skylark's nest.
'Tis Flora's page ;-in every place,
In every season fresh and fair, It opens with perennial grace,
And blossoms everywhere.
On waste and woodland, rock and plain,
Its humble buds unheeded rise ; The rose has but a summer reign, The daisy never dies.