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Thou hast looked on the gleaming wealth of old,
And wrecks where the brave have striven; The deep is a strong and fearful hold,
But thou its bar hast riven!
A wild and weary life is thine,
A wasting task and lone;
To all besides unknown.
A weary life! but a swift decay
Soon, soon shall set thee free!
Thou wrestler with the sea !
In thy dim eye, on thy hollow cheek,
Well are the death-signs read; Go, for the pearl in its cavern seek,
Ere hope and power be fled.
And bright in beauty's coronal
That glistening gem shall be; A star to all the festive hall;
But who shall think on thee?
None; as it gleams from the queen-like head,
Not one, 'mid throngs, will say, " A life hath been, like a rain-drop, shed,
For that pale and quivering ray,"
Woe for the wealth thus dearly bought!
And are not those like thee,
O wrestler with the sea !
Down to the gulfs of the soul they go,
Where the passion-fountains burn, Gathering the jewels far below,
From many a buried urn:
Wringing from lava-veins the fire
That o'er bright words is poured ; Learning deep sounds, to make the lyre
A spirit in each chord.
But oh! the price of bitter tears,
Paid for the lonely power,
A darkly glorious dower!
So radiant thoughts are strewed;
May faint in solitude.
Till a thousand hearts are stirred,
Have gushed with every word ?
He strives and dies like thee;
His brow was sad : his eye beneath
In happy homes he saw the light
“ Try not the pass !" the old man said; “Dark lowers the tempest overhead, The roaring torrent is deep and wide !"
There, in the twilight cold and gray,
H. W. LONGFELLOW
LESSON C XV.
A NAME IN THE SAND.
My name, the year, the day.
And washed my lines away.
And so, methought, 't will shortly be
Will sweep across the place,
To leave nor track nor trace.
And yet, with Him who counts the sands,
Inscribed against my name,
For glory, or for shame. Miss. H. F. GOULD.
VOICE OF THE WAVES.
[Written near the scene of a recent ship-wreck.] ANSWER, ye chiming waves,
That now in sunshine sweep! Speak to me from thy hidden caves,
Voice of the solemn deep!
Hath man's lone spirit here
With storms in battle striven? Where all is now so calmly clear,
Hath anguish cried to heaven?
Then the sea's voice arose,
Like an earthquake's under-tone: “ Mortal, the strife of human woes
Where hath not nature known?
“ Here, to the quivering mast,
Despair hath wildly clung,
The midnight sky hath rung.
“And the youthful and the brave
With their beauty and renown,
In darkness have gone down.
“ 'They are vanished from their place;
Let their homes and hearths make moan! But the rolling waters keep no trace
Of pang or conflict gone."
Alas! thou haughty deep!
The strong, the sounding far!
To think on what we are.
To think that so we pass,
High hope, and thought, and mind, Even as the breath-stain from the glass,
Leaving no sign behind.
Saw'st thou naught else, thou main ?
Thou and the midnight sky?
The parting agony?
And the sea's voice replied,
“ Here nobler things have been; Power with the valiant, when they died,
To sanctify the scene :
Courage, in fragile form,
Faith, trusting to the last, Prayer, breathing heavenward through the storm,
But all alike have passed."
Sound on, thou haughty sea!
These have not passed in vain:
On victor wings again.
Thou, from thine empire driven,
Mayst vanish with thy powers ;