Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Oceanica
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Oceanica: Vol. XXXI.  1876–79.
 
Miscellaneous: Polar Regions
The Arctic Ocean
Seymour Green Wheeler Benjamin (1837–1914)
 
A WEIRD and awful sea, its surges roll
  In solitude, and unexplored expand
From age to age around the Arctic pole,
  And beat with hollow roar a frozen land,
Whose adamantine crags behold no sail        5
Reel on that howling ocean to the northern gale.
 
No ancient capitals its shores adorn,
  With domes and pinnacles glancing royal gold;
But on its wonderful, untrodden bourn
  Rise battlements of ice, whose turrets, old        10
As the creation’s dawn, forever gleam
Like orient pearl beneath the North’s auroral beam.
 
No treasures delved by slaves in cavern gloom
  Lie buried underneath its hoary wave;
Its wildest tempests never knolled the doom        15
  Of wretches sinking to a watery grave.
Resounds not there the combat’s baleful trump,
Nor battle smoke enshrouds its midnight’s starry pomp.
 
The same as when the choral stars sang forth
  Their jubilee throughout the eternal arc,        20
Still heaves the desolate ocean of the North;
  Still o’er its waters broods primeval dark,
Mysterious twilight throbbing with the chime
Of constellations ringing out the march of Time.
 
Perchance the hero of the British isle,        25
  Much wept, much sought for, slumbers on that coast,
His faithful comrades by his side; the while
  For noble hearts that perished at their post
The dreary winds sweep o’er the angry surge,
And with a melancholy music chant their dirge.        30
 
Ay, what a sepulchre for hero’s head!
  The stars, undying links, light up his tomb,
Majestic bergs, like angels, watch the dead,
  And ever upwards through the polar gloom
Most solemn and sublime the wild wind rolls        35
The grand cathedral hymn for the departed souls.
 
 
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