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The armaments which thunderstrike 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 thine azure brow -
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests ; in all time,
Calm or convulsed in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving ; - boundless, endless, and sublime
The image of Eternity -- the throne
Of the Invisible ; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made ; each zone Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward : from a boy
I wanton'd, with thy breakers — they to me
Were a delight ; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror - 'twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane as I do here,
My task is done — my song hath ceased — my theme
Has died into an echo ; it is fit
The spell should break of this protracted dream.
The torch shall be extinguish'd which hath lit
My midnight lamp -- and what is writ, is writ, -
Would it were worthier! but I am not now
That which I have been — and my visions flit
Less palpably before me - and the glow
Which in my spirit dwelt is fluttering, faint, and low.
Farewell ! a word that must be, and hath been
A sound which makes us linger; — yet — farewell !
Ye! who have traced the Pilgrim to the scene
Which is his last, if in your memories dwell
A thought which once was his, if swell
A single recollection, not in vain
He wore his sandal-shoon, and scallop-shell ;
Farewell! with him alone may rest the pain,
If such there were with you, the moral of his straw !