ALL NIGHT long the sea out yonder—all night long the wailful sea,|
Vext of winds and many thunders, seeketh rest unceasingly!
Seeketh rest in dens of tempest, where, like one distraught with pain,
Shouts the wild-eyed sprite, Confusion—seeketh rest, and moans in vain:
Ah! but you should hear it calling, calling when the haggard sky
Takes the darks and damps of Winter with the mournful marsh-fowl’s cry;
Even while the strong, swift torrents from the rainy ridges come
Leaping down and breaking backwards—million-coloured shapes of foam!
Then, and then, the sea out yonder chiefly looketh for the boon
Portioned to the pleasant valleys and the grave sweet summer moon:
Boon of Peace, the still, the saintly spirit of the dew-dells deep—
Yellow dells and hollows haunted by the soft, dim dreams of sleep.
All night long the flying water breaks upon the stubborn rocks—
Ooze-filled forelands burnt and blackened, smit and scarred with lightning shocks;
But above the tender sea-thrift, but beyond the flowering fern,
Runs a little pathway westward—pathway quaint with turn on turn—
Westward trending, thus it leads to shelving shores and slopes of mist:
Sleeping shores, and glassy bays of green and gold and amethyst!
There tread gently—gently, pilgrim; there with thoughtful eyes look round;
Cross thy breast and bless the silence: lo, the place is holy ground!
Holy ground for ever, stranger! All the quiet silver lights
Dropping from the starry heavens through the soft Australian nights—
Dropping on those lone grave-grasses—come serene, unbroken, clear,
Like the love of God the Father, falling, falling, year by year!
Yea, and like a Voice supernal, there the daily wind doth blow
In the leaves above the sailor buried ninety years ago.